Student mentors to help first years

June 30, 2011

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A group of Murdoch University students in their second year at the Peel campus in Mandurah have volunteered to become mentors for newcomers to student life.

The 10 women, who are all studying for nursing degrees at the campus, say they want to be there for first year students, some of whom can find their first experience of university life quite bewildering.

Mentor Jo Lambert, a 47-year-old mother of two from Warnbro, said she had a number of hurdles to jump over in order to get to her second year so she could empathise with students in the same situation.

“Talking to someone else who is going through or has recently been through the challenges of study at university is wonderful. Nobody else is able to fully understand,” explained Jo.

Fellow mentor Narelle Austin-Ramsden added: “It can be overwhelming when you first start university. You’re unsure of what is expected of you. That’s where we can help.”

Sandy Duncan, a First Year Advisor from Murdoch’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, has been training the students to become mentors.

She said: “Coming to university is a big challenge and unfortunately not everyone makes it through to the end of the first year for a variety of reasons.

“However we hope the mentors will help to make the transition into student life a little easier for our first years so that they go on to fulfil their potential at university.”

Sandy added that the mentors were also benefitting from putting something back.

“A lot of them know that in the future there is every chance they will be mentoring in their workplace,” she said. “They will also receive recognition for 40 hours of service via the Community and Career Skills Development Transcript, at the time of graduation.”

Students enrolling in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in July as part of the mid year intake, will first meet the mentors at Orientation Day on July 28. The women are planning to meet and greet their fellow students, lead tours around campus and initiate activities which break the ice.

“This will ensure the students get to know a few friendly and familiar faces they can approach at some later date if they want to,” said Jo.

The Peel program is part of a university-wide initiative to establish a mentor program in each of Murdoch’s 14 schools. The program is now being developed and mentors will be selected at the end of 2011.

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