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An Invitation to You From a Past Peer Mentor

Rev your Volunteer Engine:

Peer Mentoring for Course Credit

Caleigh

by Caleigh Rabbitte

"The MacGyver of Peer Mentoring," 2007

It’s easy to overlook volunteering when a student’s course load, work, and having a life constantly get in the way.

An innovative course, GNST 507, offered through the Faculty of Arts, addresses a typical student's lack of time with a practicum placement embedded within the course. The course is about peer mentoring--but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Students gain course credit by serving a course's students and instructor --but they gain so much more in terms of experience, networking, and great references.

Peer mentors use their knowledge and experience as undergraduates to encourage their peers to face the course's challenges with confidence and a sense of community -- challenges like public speaking, online discussions, studying for exams, and writing.

In the busy life of a student, it's handy to have a peer mentor close at hand -- in their class. You, the peer mentor, are interacting with them in class so they know the kind of engagement you can offer, and you are sometimes available outside of class to "talk shop" about the lectures, readings, or ideas for a paper.

A peer mentor acts like the nice person who helps jumpstart your car battery in the winter--they won't drive you anywhere, but they help get you on your way. Even high-performance students need a pit-stop now and then, and it doesn't hurt to have a loyal fan to cheer them on.

Glasberg and Students

Dr Glasberg and I (centre) and two of my peers (left, right) in his 300-level liberal arts course.
We posed for a TV spot and OnCampus Magazine story on peer mentoring in 2007.

In fact, the first students who see the benefit of a peer mentor are usually the keeners in the class, people like you! When other students see that you are having fun and learning a lot together, they often join in.

Students have been responding positively to the peer mentors in the various courses they serve in, ensuring a rewarding experience for students enrolled in the GNST 507 course. As another peer mentor said, “[it] has given me the opportunity to assist others, with all of the feelings of self worth and achievement that come with giving.”

It’s the joy of giving--without the hassle of driving anywhere.

Peer mentoring is a unique opportunity, as students are able to develop good working relationships with host professors, TAs, and U of C administration that most undergraduate students don’t get to experience. As one peer mentor describes, they gained “a greater sense of connection with the university” as a result of the connections made with students and staff.

Becoming a peer mentor provides a chance to give back to the U of C community--and it also looks great on your resume. It’s like getting great rims on your car's tires: it will make you look awesome!!

Should you be interested in being placed with a specific instructor or course before you apply for the course, or if you have a creative idea to perform a peer leadership role in a club or co-curricular program, simply email the coordinator to work out the details.

Your opportunity to make a difference in the U of C community awaits: jumpstart your role as a peer mentor today!

Peer Mentors

 

Caleigh subsequently co-authored a peer mentor's handbook and was accepted into Law school at the University of Alberta, where she also became involved in student leadership.

If you are a student or instructor interested in participating in the program in the future, please let the program coordinator know: T. Smith : smit@ucalgary.ca