The Peer Mentor Scheme within the History department is entering its tenth year. Throughout the past 10 years, the scheme has aimed to ensure that every new student in Manchester feels welcome and supported during his or her first year at University. This year is no different.
The student-to-student support programme aims to help first years in the transition into Higher Education and mainly focusses on the social side of university life. However, second and third year mentors also provide academic support to their mentees, often helping out with course selection or any difficulties using the library. The scheme is a less formal approach to problems or questions students may have. During this difficult period of adjustment, mentors provide a sup-portive network and are the first point of contact if a problem arises.
Unlike a lot of disciplines, History has very few contact hours and is a subject which requires a significant amount of self motivation. First year students may find this adjustment intimidating or daunting. The Peer Mentor scheme hopes to re-assure new students and help them adapt to University life.
So what is it that peer mentors do? Students can set up and run their own social events to welcome students, strengthen the History community and create friendship ties in and around the scheme. For example, in the past mentors have or-ganised curry nights in Rusholme, drop in sessions, campus tours and even bowling events. Most of all, the role of a peer mentor is to remind the new students that they always have someone to turn to if they have a problem, question or concern.
Already this year, the peer mentors ran the History Welcome Week Quiz which saw all the first year academic groups compete to be crowned Quiz Champions 2015. The event was held at Christie’s Bistro during Welcome Week and an array of sandwiches and cake were provided by the cafe to keep energy levels high! In the morning student coordinators Jamie and Harriet hosted the quiz, with the ever so charismatic Dr Max Jones taking on the role of quiz master in the afternoon.
The scheme’s success is down to the commitment and enthusiasm of the student peer mentors, and with a great team behind us this year we hope it can be as supportive as ever.