John Mwangi was one of the community mentors we recruited in May 2015 to facilitate sessions in the schools we selected for our Secondary School Programme. He was a student in Starehe Boys High School who did his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination in 2013. He was accepted by Dartmouth College and is going to begin his degree in the autumn of 2015.
He is very passionate about community service especially working with children and volunteers his time to do exactly that. He applied to work with us in the hopes that he would get to do some good by helping high school students as he waited to go to university.
Here is his account of his time with School Series:
Working with school series has been one of the best things that happened to me this year. During the mentor training sessions, I got to learn so much about life that I couldn’t probably figure out on my own. One particular topic that really changed my perspective on life was ‘The Growth Mindset’ which wholly revolves around the idea that intelligence, competence and ability grow with effort and putting work into them. From the moment I learnt that, working hard became a part of me. I also got to work with a pool of highly ambitious individuals that made me work harder by the day and always gave constructive criticism when necessary.
As a mentor, the students sometimes view you as their role model. One of the comments that I once received on my session feedback forms from Parklands Boys’ High school read ‘Through you I have learnt a lot. It is quite inspiring that you have achieved so much at such an age. I hope to be like you after I finish school’. This comment made me realize that I was inspiring people and made them want to be better. Knowing that there was a number of students who looked up to me for inspiration made me work even harder and set even greater goals. I have always wanted to inspire people and if possible change their lives and I really thank School Series for giving me the platform to do so.
Mentoring students was an awesome experience. It always brought me joy to see my mentees grow and be able to make responsible choices on their own. Personally, I liked how students changed their perspectives on life after sometime and started approaching life with a more positive mindset.
Another thing that I really loved was the fact that I got to learn how to blend professionalism with being myself. After that, I really had interesting sessions with my mentees thanks to my resourceful trainers and supervisors. Also, working with school series made me embark on a journey of self discovery that has so far been very fruitful. Just like that, I discovered my sense of purpose. Lastly, I got to interact with amazing students from who I also learnt a lot. I wouldn’t substitute this experience with anything else.
The greatest challenge that I faced was summarizing what had been taught to us in 5 hours during training to a 1 hour session at the respective schools. It was quite a task that needed rigorous preparation but luckily I still pulled it off. Even as I leave for Dartmouth, I leave knowing that School Series has made me a better person.
Thank you School Series!
By John Mwangi