Believe it or not, upperclassmen are a big part of the First Year Program. Once you begin filling everything out to start your Freshman year you fill out a questionnaire picking your top three FYS choices. Your First Year Seminar (FYS) is designed to be a class that will prepare you for all other college level classes. There are also a wide range of interesting classes that can be taken. For example you can choose classes like “From Grim to Disney”, “Identifying BS”, “Theatre Appreciation”, “The Bard: The Books and the Boards”, “From Chaos to Compromise”, and “World Music Survey”. Each professor or the classes chooses an upperclassman as their Peer Mentor for that class. This year, I got the honor of being Elizabeth van den Berg’s Peer Mentor for “The Bard: The Books and the Boards” which is the FYS all about reading and performing Shakespeare. She and Dr. Corey Wronski-Mayersak team teach this course in order to not only give the first year students a chance to explore the writings of Shakespeare, but also to allow them to perform it and see it in a way that it was originally intended to be studied by the masses.
Being a Peer Mentor means we come to campus early for training, help our FYS students through Orientation, help them with the transition into college as a whole, and act as a guide if needed in the FYS class. Training was four days of talking about all the resources on campus that are useful, and learning the skills we need to be great mentors for our students. Freshman Move-In Day was so exciting. Other than the fact I had to be up and ready to move boxes at 8am, I was excited to see all the new faces on the Hill. After a long morning of going up and down the stairs getting all the freshmen moved in, we finally were able to meet our mentees. It was such an exciting moment every time I’d see one of my mentees walking towards me in Red Square with a huge smile on his/her face. After we all gathered we were able to take some time to get to know each other. My group clicked right away. Most FYS’s have about 15 students to every Peer Mentor, but with the way my class is set up, I only had 5 mentees, which made it super easy for all of us to get to know each other. From there I was their leader through all the orientation events. I think they were totally sick of me by the end of the last event on Sunday night. The Monday classes started and everyone was back and getting settled into the new semester.
Throughout the entire year, I will be taking care of my mentees to make sure their Freshman year is going as wonderfully as possible. We get to stay as their Peer Mentor even after this semester when the FYS class is finished. And personally, I know that no matter what year they are in, even if they are seniors, I will still be willing to help them with anything. My Peer Mentor from freshman year is no longer at school but I still keep in pretty good contact with her and she still helps me out when I need some Peer Mentor and First Year Program as a whole is such a wonderful experience and keeps getting better every year with the feedback from the students we receive all the time. It is such a strong program and a wonderful way to keep the first year students’ spirits high during the sometimes difficult transition from high school to college. I am very proud to be part of such a wonderful experience.
~”I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” –Walt Disney~