Peer mentors on campus are guides for the freshmen each fall semester by empowering students through leadership opportunities for upperclassmen and comfort for freshmen during their first year away from home.
Organization administrators further the initial connection between mentor and mentee along with the relationship between fellow members of each learning community (LC).
The LC members are placed together in learning communities based on their majors and classes they share. This decision allows freshmen to automatically have one more thing in common with those around them: at least two classes at the beginning of the semester in which they are surrounded by people they know.
As a peer mentor, the goal is to be involved in the area of academics that you are assigned in your LC. While there are not community groups for every major, the science, education, communication, music and theatre majors along with a few others, have designated LCs.
The groups are organized by major because students within the same classes can push each other to reach similar goals.
Developing relationships is vital for peer mentors to be successful. Junior Cecil Robinson knows firsthand the importance of building friendships with those in his LC.
“I got to establish meaningful relationships and share personal testimonies with students who were facing similar struggles,” Robinson said.
Mentors use different techniques to connect with their LC, and more experience at the position allows for greater comfort.
Junior Madalene Brackett, a former peer mentor, believes the job begins when peer mentors first meet the incoming class of freshman students.
“As a peer mentor, you are one of the first people the freshman meet, and you help make their first year a year to remember,” Brackett said.
As a recent first year mentor, I struggled with being only one year older than the freshmen in my LC and being expected to have my life together enough to show them the right path. My intention was to never act like I was better than them or that I hadn’t had the same questions, fears and excitement they were experiencing.
I may never know if I succeeded in my goal as a peer mentor, but the freshmen in my LC still talk to me. Throughout the week of training, move-in day, weekly classes and a service day, I learned more about myself than I ever imagined.
Looking back, I can’t pinpoint a favorite moment or event, but I’ll always treasure the joy of seeing those individuals grow from inexperienced teenagers fresh out of high school to the mature college students they have become.