Here is another piece that I have written for Keele’s Concourse Magazine, they all seem to have been published at once but I’m certainly not complaining! I’m so grateful for them even reading my work – never mind featuring it on their website. Here is an article about using mentoring services and student support networks in order to settle those first-year nerves and really get stuck in to University life.
The introduction of student-to-student mentoring schemes within higher education to help new and existing students with all aspects of University life;
What has come to light more recently through the media is that a common theme for some university students is the idea of ‘dropping out’ of Higher Education or common complaints of not enjoying it.
However, new help is being made available by some Universities within the UK in the form of student mentoring.
Student mentoring is a scheme close to my heart after I fell into the category of ‘potential Uni drop-out’ during my first year.
At my lowest I was given a leaflet about mentoring and through the scheme I began to talk about what I liked and disliked about my course, how positive my future could be, and began to put things into perspective.
I am now currently entering my third year at University and I am proud to say that I have not only volunteered as a mentor myself but have now been appointed senior mentor of my discipline in order for me to help others.
Duties as a mentor include talking to existing students about their grades, worries and fears as well as introducing new students into the fold of university life.
Students studying the same or similar disciplines can be paired up with a mentor who then emails them to meet up and chat, talk over email or just to check stress levels during exams and times of homesickness.
Potential students can enrol in the mentoring scheme whilst still in college if the scheme is in place at their first choice University.
Once receiving their results and securing their place they can be matched up to a mentor in order for them to ask any questions prior to their arrival at uni.
What is great is that apart from official papers and documents, our mentors are the first friendly face/voice from the university that a student speaks to – and who better than someone who has very recently been through it themselves!
Through email any questions can be asked, from course content, interesting sites in the area or just whether to bring a kettle or saucepans?!
This relationship lasts all through that student’s time at University in order to remove the stresses of deadlines, workloads, essays and exams, as well as the new and sometimes daunting social aspects of university life.
Higher education is a huge time of transition in a young adult’s life and having that person to talk to can really help with fitting into social events and settling in halls of residence. Students will always listen to other students’ advice more than lecturers just because we all think we are clearly more clued in about drinks at the SU than a 30-something-year-old lecturer!
Through my own experience of being on both ends of the mentoring scheme, I can see only benefits of the confidential student-to-student support and would urge more students to get involved in mentoring for the HEAR accredited hours, the experience for your CV and just for self-satisfaction to know that you helped!
And for any of those who aren’t involved in this scheme; 1) why not?!, 2) try and talk to people, such as counselling offices and student support about how to get involved, and 3) just try helping people, if you see a fresher looking lost then point them in the right direction or tell them about an up and coming social event.
The university students of today are the graduates and future employees of tomorrow so with the rise in tuition fees, we should all be supporting each other to stay in education rather than leaving students to think about ‘dropping out’ before they’ve really got settled in!
The full article can be found at; http://www.concourseonline.com/lauren-haines/finding-it-tough-living-at-uni-find-a-peer-mentor-to-help/