Yusuf Kareem is in the first year of his Master's degree in Materials Science and Engineering at U of T but has never stepped foot on campus because he is studying from his home in Nigeria due to the pandemic. We asked him to share his thoughts on being a student mentee in the Hart House Mentorship Program and what his mentorship goals were.
The Hart House Mentorship Program matches mentors and mentees on the basis of both their professional ambitions as well as their personal priorities, interests and passions. Graduate students and mature part-time undergraduate students are matched with University of Toronto alumni, Hart House community members and friends.
What drew you to the University of Toronto? Do you have any ties to the city?
I would say I have no ties to Toronto, and U of T was my first choice to continue my material science studies. I was captivated by the rich research and teaching resources, as well as the beautiful campus and remarkable history of the school. U of T’s top engineering programs and a great reputation will no doubt offer me a high starting point for my future career.
What are your current career ambitions?
Being an individual who firmly believes that learning never stops, I want to continue learning and enhancing my skills to be a better and successful engineer in my field and career at large. I also plan to achieve my goals by taking up leadership roles in projects, attending annual job fairs and getting a mentor to help me in my career journey.
What’s it been like studying remotely from Nigeria? What are the greatest challenges you face?
Studying remotely from Nigeria has really been challenging for me but determination and hunger for success have kept me going. Some of the challenges I faced while studying remotely were higher data consumption, distractions from the neighbourhood, friends and relatives, erratic power supply and poor internet connectivity.
What drew you to the Hart House mentorship program?
I was drawn to the Hart House mentorship program to expand my knowledge and skills, gain valuable advice from a more experienced person, and build both academic and professional networks.
What do you hope to gain from the mentorship program?
I hope to gain practical advice, encouragement and support. Also to increase my social and academic confidence and guidance on how to develop a career path and active networking.
What does "community" mean to you? Why is it important for your education?
Community to me is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. It also means gaining strength through shared activity and interests. Community is important for my education because it will provide me with a sense of belonging and help me foster partnerships among fellow students, community groups, and individuals.
Has the Hart House Mentorship Program given you a sense of community and connection? If so, how?
The program has given me a sense of community and some connections. Starting with my mentor, who has been a wonderful person right from day one of our meetings. He’s always ready to help and provide any vital information for me. Also, during the networking event, I met a lot of people during the breakout room, and there were all willing to connect with me, which gave me a sense of belonging.
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