19 Jan 2023 10 min Read

How Mentorship Helped Me Unlock Hidden Answers Within Me

– Jonathan’s Story

Who Am I?

I’m a student of Information Technology at the undergraduate level, but my interests are extensive, to say the least.

On my journey of trying out different things as a student and experimenting, I was also able to build my skills in Software Development.

After graduating, I wished to pursue an interdisciplinary course where I could utilise my expertise in Software Development.

I decided to use my downtime during the COVID lockdown as an opportunity to explore the variety of interests I had, hoping to narrow it down to one I could pursue further. I was interested in a lot of things but I was also very confused at the same time!

I began exploring various domains ranging from Analytics, Bioinformatics, Epidemiology and Environmental Engineering to Applied Social Sciences and Political Science. Even after all this, I was still not sure how I was to choose just one particular field.

Every one tells us to pursue our passion but nobody tells us how to choose one from our various passions. If you try to pursue everything, you’ll excel in nothing! And I didn’t want to do that.

Towards the end of 2020, I began working with an electronics manufacturing company as an Associate Software Engineer, where I got to work alongside consultants in developing digital transformation solutions within the company.

My Application Process

The pandemic was a pivotal point for me, I finally had the time to introspect and decide what I really wanted to do with my life.

I was one of the numerous people across different walks of life who were faced with similar uncertainties. At the time, my biggest conundrum was deciding the future of my career.

I started my search for programmes to pursue my Master's. Despite my meticulous efforts to explore various verticals again, it was not an easy task for me to zero in on a particular field.

At this point, the only thing I was certain of was that I wanted to study in Europe. I was excited by the plethora of interdisciplinary courses and wonderful niche opportunities available there, along with the chance to experience a new, multicultural environment.

But for me to choose, I needed someone who had experience in the field and was willing to guide me through the process.

After a few months of struggle and research, I came across a post by Pavan on LinkedIn where he mentioned that he was willing to mentor students who are applying for Master's programs in Europe.

I immediately connected with him and told him about my dilemma. He then introduced me to his idea of a mentoring program which he was planning to start soon, and he allowed me to join his group on the Kohort Learning Platform.

In those group and individual sessions, he conducted one-on-one interviews to get to know my interests. This was the first time that I got personalised guidance and experienced mentorship from someone who genuinely took an interest in what I was interested in!

Through these interviews, I was made to reflect. It slowly dawned on me that right from a young age, I had always been inclined to create a sustainable culture within my household through planting a vegetable garden and upholding proper waste food and water recycling practices.

This inclination, along with my interest in developing digital transformation solutions, helped me select a few programmes that combined both sustainability and software.

During my application process, along with Pavan's help through Kohort, I drafted a letter which described my interest in the field and how the program would be a perfect fit for me. I expressed the various reasons why I was positioned to take full advantage of the program and make meaningful contributions to society.

I mentioned what specific opportunities the program would give me from a career perspective and how that would accelerate my goal of creating a sustainable future through software.

Following that was an additional round of video interviews, after which I secured a spot on the first list of candidates for the SE4GD Erasmus Program (Software Engineering for the European Green Deal).

I was ecstatic. This particular program was very high on my priority list, and being able to study it with full funding was my dream come true.

The Road Ahead

The answers were within me all along, mentorship helped me in digging deep and discovering them.

In the hustle-bustle of the modern-day world, such introspection and discovering what you really want to do can be difficult.

I'm glad I was able to do that with the help of mentors who gave me fresh perspectives and new directions to think in.

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