Ask each other questions and reach great heights

TU/e’s mentorship community for students, which was set up by ID alumna Daphne Muller in 2019, is called 50.000 Feet. Currently, the group consists of eleven people who, by offering ideas and asking critical questions, help boost each other’s personal development. The group seeks more publicity now and welcomes new members. “We notice that this type of support is greatly appreciated, especially now,” initiator Muller says.

photo Sunny Studio / Shutterstock

Perhaps you would like to start a busines, improve society, or save the climate. Or maybe you don’t really know yet, but what you do know is that you want to pursue a specific goal alongside your studies. The requests for help can be diverse, but what the members of 50.000 Feet have in common is that they are ambitious and that they could use some help with making those ambitions concrete.

“We are with eleven people now, and I myself coach five of them,” says Daphne Muller, who used to teach at TU/e. “We have room now for a new group, and we hope to grow a bit more. The composition of the current group is highly diverse, both in terms of study area and nationality. Our working language is English, which means that everyone can participate. Everything takes place online now, but we’ll meet face to face as soon as possible once the situation allows it.”

Difficult questions

“Personally, I benefitted significantly during my student days from going out for a cup of coffee with a fellow student who would then ask me difficult questions,” Muller says. “I’ve also worked as a lecturer at TU/e. I taught the much-hated course Professional Identity and Vision (PI&V). Students learn how to set goals, how to reflect, etcetera. Sometimes, people stayed around after the lecture, and I would ask more questions. I then asked them what it would be like if I supervised them as they continued their studies. And that’s what happened.”

The name 50.000 Feet raises questions: much higher than the average airplane and far beyond your hand can reach: why this name? Muller: “There is an exercise where you look at your goals from a great height. What is important? What is your main goal? Why do you do the things you do? That is where the name comes from.”

“Our community is about personal development, in particular alongside your studies. Scoring high grades and obtaining an impressive degree is great, but what will you do with that? What are your ambitions? What do want to contribute to society? Most members of 50.000 Feet have grand ambitions, but they don’t always know how to shape them. Perhaps you’re studying electrical engineering, but you’re also looking for ways to make a valuable contribution towards a better climate. We can offer our thoughts on that and help you make those goals concrete.”

Pro bono

Taking part is free of charge. How that’s possible has everything to do with the organization’s pro bono attitude: at first, you receive supervision for a longer period of time, after which you can – voluntarily – help out by supervising someone, or a group, yourself. “That leads to a snowball effect,” Muller hopes. It’s a win-win situation for the members as well: “We see that receiving supervision and providing supervision are equally beneficial to our members. We strongly believe that more students at TU/e will find this a cool concept.”

If you want to learn more about this concept, visit the 50.000 Feet website. You will also find video’s there explaining the concept in greater detail.

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