What are the benefits of peer mentoring and what is it?
Starting a new phase of education is always a little overwhelming and starting out as an international student in an unfamiliar country is no less than intimidating. I started my degree as a postgraduate IT student in Monash University in semester 1, 2018.
Monash came to my aid with its innovative programs to help and guide students just like myself, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of two such programs: The Monash IT Peer Mentoring program and Peer Assisted Study Program (PASS).
Benefits of peer mentoring: These mentoring programs are completely free and available for all students attending Monash.
The Peer Mentoring Program is designed to help new students transition into university life and for me, start my degree as part of the Monash IT community.
On orientation day, I was assigned my peer group consisting of new students beginning the same degree as me.
We were automatically allocated a peer mentor; a final year student trained to welcome us and help us on our journey.
The mentors are senior students volunteering every semester to become peer mentors.
After an introduction session ice breaker games, social media contact group was formed. Throughout the semester, our peer mentor helped us with university affairs, issues with study and kept us informed about IT faculty activities, parties and social events.
Benefits of peer mentoring: I received support and encouragement from mentor and my group and received valuable advice and insights about University life.
The peer mentor program helped me find my first friends in university, become more familiar and comfortable with Australian culture and overall get a good start to university life.
Benefits of peer mentoring: The program has inspired me to apply as a mentor and provide new students essential encouragement and guidance in future.
Other peer to peer programs that may suit you.
The other program that helped me with my studies in Monash is, PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions).
It is an academic mentoring program, of guided study groups to provide support with difficult units. It’s not a remedial program for struggling students, rather targets difficult units with hurdles, assignments and tough concepts.
The weekly, guided study groups provide guaranteed study time for these units, in addition to regular class times.
The study sessions are led by senior students, acting as PASS leaders who have already completed the unit with good result and have a strong academic record.
The PASS leaders guide new students to information and understanding in sessions running from week 3 to 12.
I participated in the PASS program for my Database unit and was automatically assigned a PASS leader with great understanding of the unit.
Benefits of peer mentoring: The sessions usually consisted of comparing and clarifying difficult lecture content, reviewing textbook readings, discussing key course concepts. This active and collaborative approach helped me feel engaged and develop the study skills.
I employed this knowledge in my exams and ended up achieving very high grades for the course. The PASS program helped me understand the style of education required for the degree and gather necessary insight that I can apply in my future education.
Many of my classmates participated in these programs and have been benefited greatly with the results to show for it.
I would recommend all commencing and returning students to look up these facilities and make use of them as they are free, dedicated solely towards helping the students and make the difference in a student’s experience with education and university life.