Peer Mentoring: Helping Our New Students to Settle In

APL-Induction Pasta
Students Parents meet their Mentees in Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Peer parenting, or mentoring, inductions have taken place across campus.

The university’s mentoring scheme is gearing up for another busy year of supporting first year students through the first term of University here at Newcastle.

The scheme involves recruiting second year students to act as mentors, or parents, to first years offering advice on academic work as well as on other aspects of University experience.

In the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (APL), Caroline Armstrong, ┬áStudent Recruitment and Wellbeing Manager, organises the scheme, and the new “families” are all set for the new year.

Caroline said: ‘We call them parents in this school, rather than mentors.

‘We’ve been doing this for years now.

‘I just think that it’s such a good way of helping students to settle in.

‘I pick out the groups as soon as the firm offers are confirmed and students are contacted before they start by their new university “parents”.’

Caroline thinks the scheme is invaluable for new students in the School.

‘Just having someone there, who was in your position last year, to say “it gets better” makes all the difference.

‘Our students, like many others from across the University, are used to being real shining stars at School and when they get to University can struggle as they adjust to new subjects and new ways of thinking.

‘The have a social room, like a Common Room in the School and knowing and socialising with the second and third years can help them to feel comfortable and relaxed in these public spaces.’

The School have recently run their induction event, at which mentors meet their mentees for the first time.

‘We just get them together and they get a tour of the School and then have lunch with their new “families”.

‘To break the ice we gave them spaghetti, marshmallows and fruit pastels and told each “family” [a group formed of two mentors and a number of mentees] to build a structure.’

The scheme is so popular that the “parents” now have “grandparents”, third year students to help initiate them into their parental duties.

‘We might try brightly coloured jackets, to make the mentors really easy to spot in freshers week and to help promote the scheme to our other students.’

Caroline is currently planning feedback meetings, where students will be able to raise any pitfalls or benefits of the scheme.

‘Then it’s already looking forward to January, where we will start contacting this year’s first years to see if they want to parent next year’s students.’

Do you need help or advice about Peer Mentoring? Contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk.

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