Mentorship program links students with older peers

Rachel Mervin, left, and Amanda Milburn hang out on a bench in the Schmon Tower lobby. The two are paired this year through Mentorship Plus.

Rachel Mervin, left, and Amanda Milburn hang out on a bench in the Schmon Tower lobby. The two are paired this year through Mentorship Plus.

There were little things Rachel Mervin didn’t know when she started at Brock this year.

She didn’t know about the council that represented students in her program. She hadn’t accumulated exam or study tips. Then the first-year Kinesiology student signed up for the Mentorship Plus program, and third-year Kinesiology student Amanda Milburn was the answer to it all.

“The transition to university from high school was really different,” Mervin said. “I needed to know little things, like how to make my way around Mackenzie Chown.”

Milburn and Mervin are among the hundreds of students signed up for Mentorship Plus, a program that matches senior students with first-year ones, as well as current students with alumni. The goal is to ease the transition from high school to university and answer questions only a peer would know.

Mervin, an 18-year-old Toronto native, learned about the program through a Career Services table at a fair and an email that didn’t grab her attention. She saw it advertised again on the my.brocku.ca portal and applied.

She and Milburn talk about academic matters such as exams and assignments, as well as their lives in general. The learning process is mutual, said Milburn, a 21-year-old Stoney Creek native.

Milburn encouraged Mervin, for example, to get involved in the PEKN (Physical Education and Kinesiology) council. Now the two attend weekly meetings together. They meet about once a week to talk about other subjects – stress, nerves, academia – and their mutual goal, which is currently physiotherapy.

The program has been enough of a benefit that Mervin and Milburn both recommend it to their friends.

“Once I got matched up with Amanda, I thought ‘This is cool. This program does what it says it’s going to do,’” Mervin said. “I told my housemates at Quarry View and now they all have mentors too.”

There is a need for senior student mentors for next year, said program co-ordinator Adam Hogan. They hope to recruit enough mentors to be matched with 400 first-year students. This year, about 217 senior mentors were signed up for Mentorship Plus, and about 360 first-year students were on the list for a mentor. Visit mentormatch.brocku.ca to register.

The program will be celebrated at a “success social” on March 21 at Pond Inlet.

Posted on March 7, 2012

2 Comments

  1. Jessica Craig says:

    The Mentorship program is great IF you actually get a mentor! In my first year I was signed up for the Mentorship program and was quite excited to be paired up with a mentor, but that didn’t happen. There were only a handful of us at the meet and greet who didn’t have mentors but we were all promised one by October at the latest. I was not paired with someone until well into the second semester and by then what was the point? I still went out of my way to make plans to meet my “mentor” but she never got back to me in time. So all in all this program was a giant waste of time for me. If you are in one of Brock’s more popular programs then go for it. But as a VISA student (Visual Arts) This program was a waste.

  2. [...] Mervin, a kinesiology student who participated in Mentorship Plus last year, talked about academic matters such as exams and assignments with her mentor, as well as their lives [...]

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