My name is Pooja Patel, and I am a Western University first-year business student. I started volunteering at the Brampton Library when I was in grade 10, so this will be my third year. I began volunteering here because of my love of reading, but it has since become a second home for me and a place where I see ideas come to life. In the past year, Rada has encouraged us to have meaningful conversions, and we have been able to discuss so many important topics such as personal empowerment and growth.
Thus, on March 27, I had the pleasure of being invited by Rada to conduct a presentation on starting university and easing the transition to post-secondary education. There was no hesitation in accepting the invite as it was a great opportunity to share my experience whilst assisting other volunteers - who are preparing to apply for post-secondary studies - in navigating this difficult period.
Looking back, I was a high school senior a year ago, nervous about embarking on a new chapter in my life, particularly given the circumstances, but now I am a month away from completing my freshman year of university. This year has been full of ups and downs, with many accomplishments. All worked out in the end, but going through it was a scary experience for me, and I wanted to support other students who were experiencing the same thing, especially as many of our other volunteers are in grade 11.
Over 25 volunteers attended the presentation and discussion, which was a fantastic turnout. It's something I'd gladly do again because I believe in the value of mentorship and the positive effect it can have on both the mentor and the mentee.
Overall, I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as a mentor to these volunteers, and I hope they gain something from our interactions.
With that said, I'd like to leave you with a quote from one of my favourite books: "If my life is going to mean something, I have to live it myself." - Percy Jackson, The Lightning Thief