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My experience as a mentee in the Plug-In Mentoring for Young Women

By Angélica Rodrigues
Angélica Rodrigues
I am very attracted to knowing other cultures and broadening my mind. I worked during two summer seasons in Spain in a beach bar. There I met lots of different people and cultures, and I also improved my mojito skills. I really like mojitos —especially the ones I do.
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My experience as a mentee in the Plug-In Mentoring for Young Women

I grew interested in STEM fields when I was finishing high school. So, I ended up applying for Biomedical Engineering and got in. When I made this decision, my family was stunned. I have three brothers and was the only one pursuing a tech career. I was told that pursuing this field was absolutely unexpected for me. This made me reflect on a woman's role in our society and the gender bias that still exists and sometimes is visible in certain harmless attitudes and situations. Despite this unexpected reaction from my family, I kept my focus on what I wanted and started to seek some opportunities within the tech areas. 

That’s when the Plug-In Mentoring for Young Women appeared. I thought this was an excellent programme to apply to because I was finishing my degree and wanted to evolve my development and prepare myself to enter a company. The Plug-In Mentoring for Young Women programme allows women in Secondary Education and University to receive advisory and mentorship from other tech professionals and prepare to start their professional journey. Nowadays, there is more sensitivity toward women wanting to pursue a technology career. As this sensitivity increases, initiatives like this begin to emerge, and some support for women in tech starts to appear. This kind of initiative is essential since the number of women pursuing tech careers is getting higher, it's still not enough. For that reason, mentorship programmes make women feel supported and interested in investing in technological knowledge. Also, being aware of other women who are successful in this area shows that you, a girl just starting a tech career, can go far and further.

Mentoring for Young Women was a life-changing experience for me. I could hear from other women in tech, learn from their experiences and achievements, share ideas, and seek advice on how to get started. Having a mentor following your career steps helps you have a more objective and experienced point of view of the situations you might face. During the programme, I learned from my mentor and discussed career possibilities. Through her, I could understand the steps I could take to develop my career. Being aware of this is critical when we start our journey, and it helps us feel slightly less lost. She also mentioned that I could always change and try another path if I thought it appealed to me. Ways ahead are always open. 

Since starting my career, I felt intimidated while searching for the first job positions - "Do I fill these requirements?” is the question that constantly popped up in my head. The programme encouraged me to value myself more and be confident in my learning capacity. My mentor told me more about another FARFETCH programme, the Plug-in Graduates, which she attended and enjoyed. After learning more about this one, I thought it was a great place to start and learn. So, I ended up applying and am now a FARFETCH trainee.

During the mentorship program, I had access to a channel where other mentees and mentors were. We were given access to materials to improve skills, such as communication and presentations. These skills are fundamental in every field, during studies or while working, because we always need to interact and communicate with others. That’s one example of the many advantages of enrolling in a programme like this one. 

I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Plug-in Mentoring for Young Women and to other women who are doubting their path right now and/or wish to break into the STEM fields, let me give some pieces of advice:

  1. Seek out role models: this can be with a colleague, a mentor, or your mum or dad. Look for people who have already succeeded in STEM fields and learn from their experiences. This could be through networking, reading biographies, or following their work on social media.

  2. Be inspired, and don’t be afraid to reach out: If you appreciate how someone works, communicates, or deals with problems, try to learn from them. Use your insecurities as assets. If you need to improve, work harder and let your hard work show. 

  3. Don't give up: Pursuing a career in STEM can be challenging, but don't let obstacles discourage you. Keep working hard and seeking opportunities, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.

  4. Be mindful of your worth and learning capacity when you are just starting. And that you can go far.

  5. Invest in yourself to improve as a coworker: teamwork, sharing and taking advice, and communicating with your mates.

  6. Relax. Also, take time for yourself and your friends. Don’t think you should do everything just because you’re starting.

  7. Be kind. Creating a chain of kindness is essential to the work environment.

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