Over the course of this past semester, I have been a Peer Mentor for UBE 101. UBE 101 is a 1-credit course that first-year students take during their first semester to help make the transition between high school to college easier. Such topics would include How to get Involved, The UB Reads book for that year, How to Register for Classes, and Academic Success. Additionally, it gives first-year students and opportunity to get to know a faculty member on campus, in case they need a reference in the future. As a Peer Mentor, I am partnered with an instructor and serve as an additional resource for the students.
Instructors and Peer Mentors have the ability to request who they would want to partner up with for their class. Since I had made close connections with one of m y bosses in Student Life, Kerry Spicer, we requested each other. Each peer mentor can chose how involved they want to be in their class. Since Kerry and I already had such a close relationship, I am actually co-teaching the class with her. In these duties, we create the lesson plan together , I host mid-semester meetings with my students, and grade papers that the students have submitted. This has been a very different leadership experience then any of my other activities that I have done. I am taking on more responsibility and practice my public speaking skills every week.
Since I am an engineering major, I have a class full of engineering. Most of them are computer science, and I even have one lone soul who is a pre-pharmacy major. They are a very lively bunch, and I enjoy seeing them make UB more of their home every week. One of my goals as a peer mentor, is to not have them fear reaching out to me if they want to talk about anything or have any concerns.
Aside from teaching my own class, I also take a 3-credit class called UBE 495 Supervised Teaching. Every week, I meet with other peer mentors and an instructor from the Orientation, Transition, Parent & Programs office to talk about the up and downs from our respective classes. Not only do we give advice to each other, but we learn about how to be better peer mentors as well. One of our main projects is doing a 20 minute presentation on a lesson that we will be teaching to our students.
Overall, being a Peer Mentor has been a great Leadership Opportunity so far, With half a semester left, I can’t wait to see where this adventure will take me!
Note: If you are interested in this opportunity, please know that applications for the positions are up in the Springtime. You must be an incoming Sophomore level or higher to apply.