BBK Magazine 41

200th Anniversary Edition

Creating Pathways for Success

Bastôn De’Medici-Jaguar (LLB Law, 2022)

Bastôn De’Medici-Jaguar and Sadhna Patel (LLM Law, 2013) met on the College’s Mentoring Pathways programme. Their story and relationship demonstrate the power of mentoring, sharing expertise and bringing lifelong learners together.

The synchronicity I felt with my mentor was more than anything I could have expected”

Before starting his law degree, Bastôn had been ‘a man of the cloth’ for 12 years alongside working in early-childhood education. He chose Birkbeck to pursue his long-held dream of becoming a barrister because unlike traditional students, he had not completed his formal education and it had been over a decade since he left school. “I wasn’t made to feel less capable because of this,” he insists. “In fact, my untraditional status was encouraged at Birkbeck. The focus is not just on our intellectual ability; we are also urged to bring who we are as individuals to inform our discussions and pursuits, giving authenticity to our journeys. For me, Birkbeck represents the realisation of equality of opportunities for all.”

In Bastôn’s final year, he joined the College’s Mentoring Pathways programme and was paired with Sadhna. His attention was initially drawn to the programme because the mentors are industry experts: “This was important to me as I knew I wanted to be a barrister, but I had no idea how I would achieve that, and I had spent a great deal of time wondering if I could make it.”  

“Being part of this mentorship experience taught me so much, most of all about myself. The synchronicity I felt with my mentor” — someone who had been through the Birkbeck experience of studying in the evenings and returning to education later in life — “was more than anything I could have expected.”

Through their mentoring partnership, Sadhna helped Bastôn craft a new approach to reaching his goals. He has since graduated with a first-class honours degree and is on his way to becoming a barrister at BPP as an ‘Excellence Scholar’.

Sadhna, who completed her LLB and LLM at Birkbeck, has mentored students on the programme for five consecutive years. “Volunteering to help students realise their potential is such a rewarding way to reconnect with the Birkbeck community and pay forward what the College gave to me,” she says. “Shared experiences have helped me develop positive mentoring relationships with students from all backgrounds, and Bastôn was no exception! It has been such a pleasure to work with him, support his development and now see him thrive in his next steps.” 

Every year, hundreds of alumni give their time, talents and expertise to support Birkbeck students to succeed. They play a vital role in building their confidence, skills and professional networks, to help students thrive during their studies and fulfil their career ambitions.