Last year I was given a peer mentor because I was new to the University and I wanted some guidance on where to find resources to help with my work. She helped me get through my assignments and encouraged me to get more involved in the quizzes and competitions in my department.
I wanted to help other students in the same way she helped me, so I’ve just become a peer mentor too. I’m mentoring a first-year student at the moment and it’s nice to help people get on track. You’re a peer to them, not a tutor, so it’s not about being bossy or giving instructions. But the benefit is that you have more experience than them so you can really help them, especially if they’re a bit shy. It’s about being a friend and pointing them in the right direction. I always say they can email me and ask me questions, so they don’t have to wait until we next meet. There’s training for peer mentors too which covers a range of things about the University, because a mentee may ask you anything. I would encourage students to do it, it feels good to help people and it also contributes towards your own development.
My sister just started her first year at Essex too which means I can pass on my knowledge of the University to her. She’s never been out of India so it’s a brand new environment for her. She got her first assignment back this week and she got 90% which was great. She was quite nervous about it and I was trying to comfort her, so as soon as she got her mark we celebrated. It really made me smile!