Today: Jun 17, 2024

Students mentors lead new students

Jay’Mi Vazquez – News Editor

Students can get involved in student leadership positions to enrich first-year students’ experiences by becoming a peer mentor. 

Director of student involvement & leadership development, Denise Bentley-Drobish said becoming a peer mentor teaches students numerous things. 

“Learning techniques to support students, learning campus resources and mentoring skills” are some of the thing’s students learn Bentley-Drobish said. 

Peer Mentoring started in 2007. Although it was called a different name, students were the ones who came up with the idea of offering mentorship skills to first-year students, helping in the crucial first year experience, Bentley-Drobish said.   

The first-year student retention rate at the university is 77% in 2023. There is a four percent increase at the university when compared to the entire state of Conn. Bentley-Drobish said that the retention rate is crucial to analyze how supported students feel during their first-year experience.  

Benley-Drobish explained the two ways students can get involved in becoming a peer mentor.  

“The way we’re currently trying to get more students involved is with the INQ Peer Mentors 391 course which is open to anyone in any grade. Also, through the fast track, which is offered during the summer, [is] for students to attend sessions and learn the skills necessary for becoming a peer mentor,” Bentley-Drobish said. 

Sabrine Yaser, a sophomore, is currently a peer mentor. She acknowledges the things she has learned from becoming one.  

“It’s really fun but it also puts a lot of responsibility on your plate. I consider it a good opportunity to help you become independent and responsible and understand what it is like to be guidance for someone else,” Yaser said.  

Yaser explained that there are some hardships that come with becoming a peer mentor. 

“Sometimes it is a little hard for students to engage with me through GroupMe. But eventually students give in and message me back trying to get some help because without guidance they won’t have the skills to do things in the future,” Yaser said. 

Peer mentors help students learn how to navigate Owl Connect, create schedules, understand degree evaluations and find resources on campus. 

 Cody Benegoss, a freshman, is one of the students in Yaser’s class and said he is happy to have someone there to help him. 

“I would be a little more lost without the assistance of my peer mentor. It’s made my experience easier to adjust to college,” Benegoss said. 

Benegoss is hopeful that students in the future will get involved in becoming peer mentors. 

“I have thought about it myself. I’m not entirely sure if I will go through with it, but I know some people who are interested in becoming one. After all, all freshmen need this service so I’m sure people will continue to sign up to help,” Benegoss said. 

Yaser said she views peer mentoring as a great experience to get involved with leadership roles.  

“I look forward to recommending some of my students from my class to just even attend the meeting where they learn about becoming one. It helps you come out of your comfort zone and meet new people you would’ve never interacted with, so why not become one,” Yaser said.

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