The following suggestions for discussion topics at the first group meeting between Peer Mentors and mentees are based on student feedback.
Potential discussion topics may include:
Peer Mentors introduction
A typical introduction by a Peer Mentor contains the following:
- Name, course, residence, interesting fact
- Extracurricular interests and hobbies (clubs, societies and jobs)
Icebreaker activity 1
The following icebreakers (choose one) have been designed to help new students get to know one another and to make the first meetings/sessions less awkward. They also allow the Peer Mentor to join in so they can learn more about their students.
The aim of both of these icebreakers is to learn names and brief facts about other students.
The role of the Peer Mentor
- What is a Peer Mentor?
- How do they help students?
- They help mentees settle into university.
- A point of contact for questions about university life, including social opportunities.
- Can refer mentees to other sources of help or information (when needed).
- Discuss any issues or problems.
Icebreaker activity 2
Choose one of these two icebreakers:
- Line up Race – this activity aims to get students talking to each other
- Fact or Fiction – this activity aims to find out interesting things about each other and to discover things in common with other students
- Instructions on how to run these activities (.pdf)
Hand out two paper/sticky notes and pens to students. Using the ‘question in a hat’ method, the Peer Mentor will invite the mentees to write two questions on two separate sticky notes/ pieces of paper. Example questions will include:
- Where can I find my coursework deadlines? or
- Where is the library?
The Peer Mentor will collect the questions using the box, and read them out. Students will be invited to contribute to answer the question, if possible. Otherwise, the Peer Mentor will answer the question.
Close and what's next
- Let mentees know that they can be reached by email (Essex email).
- Inform mentees about the next Peer Mentor event.
- Remind mentees that they are available for casual 1-to-1 meetings if their mentees wish to ask any questions that they would prefer to ask when alone.
- Assure mentees of support available.
- Explain that Peer Mentors will be staying behind after the meeting if there are any extra questions or matters mentees would like to discuss.
- Discuss the Welcome Week programme. Ask the new students what other events they are planning to attend in Welcome Week. Highlight some of the events they would recommend and offer to attend them in small groups.
- Arrange another time to:
- meet as a group later in the week or in Week 2
- show the new students where their classes and lectures for Week 2 are so that they don’t get lost
- show the new students how they can find their readings for Week 2, and how to use the relevant online resources (eg. Moodle and FASER)