As part of our scholar spotlight series, we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme – Xavier. In this interview, Xavier shares more about his experience on the programme and how it has helped him to develop new skills and discovered what he might be interested in doing in the future.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Xavier, I’m 15 years old from South London. My favourite subjects at school are history and classical civilisations. I really enjoy learning about past civilisations and the inner workings of the Roman and Greek society. I also find modern history such as the Cold War really interesting. I’m currently reading the memoirs of Winston Churchill as it’s intriguing to read from a primary source.
Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?
I chose to join GT scholars because I believed it would be very helpful for me to acquire not only key skills but more knowledge of what I may be interested in doing in the future. The Bright Ambitions GT scholars course offered me many different opportunities that I would never have had access to without the programme.
Did you have any specific goals that you wanted to achieve by joining us, and what were they? Did you reach these goals by the end of the programme?
My goal was to learn new skills and to be able to add more information on my CV as I am almost 16 and needed to build up a solid CV. GT scholars helped me monumentally with this by offered a CV building workshop which was incredibly useful. The Dragons Den workshop helped me learn the key skills I wanted to improve such as leadership and teamwork skills.
How has GT Scholars helped you to improve yourself?
The tutoring and mentoring programmes have helped me improve not only in school but also in choosing extracurricular activities which are good for my CV. The mentoring that has been offered to me is invaluable and has very much changed my outlook on not only universities that I may want to apply to, but also by matching my interests and strengths to find a job to pursue in the future.
What changes have you seen during your time on the programme? What impact has the programme had on you?
I’ve seen myself mature as a student being able to focus more easily now, even in studies I do not enjoy. The programme has helped open my eyes to paths in life, it’s helped me to match my skills to things I can pursue and also simultaneously work on my weaknesses.
How has your tutor helped you to reach your academic goals? How have your grades changed? Did you improve in your other subjects as well?
My tutor has helped me a great deal in Maths. I had a predicted 8 but the work I was producing only really reflected a 7. My maths tutor took the concepts I did not understand and worked with me not only to reinforce the basics but help evolve my understanding of the more abstract difficult parts of mathematics.
How has your mentor helped you to reach your personal goals or aspirations?
My mentor has helped me achieve my personal goals and aspirations by supporting my efforts in school and giving advice on how to revise more effectively and develop a positive growth mindset basing around ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t’. My mentor has also provided me with information on Oxford University which I believe is very useful and I have taken into account. I’m keen on going to Oxford University.
What was your favourite part of the programme? What was the best thing that your tutor and/or mentor taught you?
My favourite part of the programme was when we visited the main office of the mining corporation Rio Tinto in London. We were able to have a tour and be introduced to the professional life of a worker in the company. I believe the most important thing my mentor has taught me is the positive growth mindset as it has changed my view on many things allowing me to grow as a student.
Why did you choose to enrol in an online tutoring and mentoring programme instead of face-to-face tutoring?
I chose the online tutoring partially due to the global pandemic and it was a new experience which I believed would be very beneficial to my learning.
How has the enrichment and skill-building days helped you? Which enrichment or skill-building day did you enjoy the most and why?
The enrichment and skill-building days have helped me by improving my leadership, teamwork and communication skills allowing me to speak more confidently and openly about my ideas. My favourite skill-building day was the Dragons Den workshop! It was fun and it taught me teamwork, leadership and communication skills.
Did you learn anything new about yourself during the programme?
I learnt that I sometimes burn myself out early before exams and I have adapted to this making sure that I work more evenly throughout the year.
How will you apply what you have learnt during the programme to your future?
The programme helped me to develop my leadership, communication and team-working skills which I will be able to use in the workplace in the future. I’ve already improved by being more interactive in the class and have more confidence to put up my hand which used to be rare.
What advice do you have for a scholar that’s thinking of joining one of our programmes?
I would say to any young person thinking of joining the programmes that it’s definitely worth it! The skills you learn and the experience you gain is invaluable and will greatly assist you throughout your life. I would also say to experiment and find what works for you. GT scholars offer a variety of programmes so you should have a look and find one that’s perfect for you.
What were your mentors and tutors like? Were they helpful? What did they help you with?
My mentor and tutor were both friendly and greatly supportive. They’ve helped me to do the best that I can to adjust my mindset and the way I approach challenges. They’ve also helped me to be more confident in my abilities than before.