Indiana University as a whole offers so much to its students: diversity, a prestigious education, and various opportunities such as pursuing research or utilizing one of the 250 overseas study programs.
Students can get overwhelmed trying to figure out what to study and how to go about it, forgetting about all the resources that are easily accessible on IU’s campus — I know I have. It took me some time to fully maneuver through Oncourse and OneStart, and the knowledge I have gained on both sites is mostly due to the peer mentoring training I received through the University Division as a Cox Exploratory Scholar. As Oncourse and OneStart transition to Canvas and One.IU in the coming months, I know the peer mentor program will continue to be an excellent resource for students seeking assistance.
Working as a peer mentor is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to help assist some of the tens of thousands of undergraduate students at IU, and something I wish someone told me about two years ago, when I began my journey here. It’s a privilege to help students find ways to get involved and discuss their personal experiences, as well as giving them my own, unbiased perspective.
In addition to providing information on various academic and career exploration resources, I’ve also had the opportunity to introduce students to new academic planning tools.
Students who stop by the peer mentor desk in Wells Library and Teter Residence Center usually ask questions regarding scheduling classes. This gives me the chance to introduce them to academic planning tools such as the schedule builder and iGPS degree map, which help students prepare for academic advising appointments and explore various options on how to complete degree requirements within four years.
During my training as an IU Peer Mentor, I built my own degree map and quickly realized the advantages of this program, which is by far my favorite OneStart tool. Because it is so new, it’s almost like a hidden treasure. When I get to share this knowledge with fellow students, I thoroughly explain all the benefits in hopes students will use it as much as I do. It personally helps me with organization, which is something I used to struggle with.
Beyond interactions with students, I have also noticed my own personal growth.
Earning the Cox Exploratory Scholarship on its own confirmed my strong work ethic and passion for reaching out into the community, but becoming a peer mentor allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and gain a new set of skills.
Working with different kinds of students with different majors and expertise has taught me patience. I have learned to accommodate and adapt to certain students’ needs and questions, which I believe to be one of the most important skills in any career field. I have also learned to harness my extroversion and openness into my work to make students feel more comfortable when they reach out and ask questions.
The peer mentor program is a relatively new program through the University Division, but mentors like me are continuously learning and training in order to accommodate all students. I, along with the other IU Peer Mentors, am dedicated to helping undergrads navigate their experience here at Indiana University in the best way possible.