As another academic year comes to an end and we start to tie up our loose ends here at the history department in Manchester, some things are just beginning. A fresh new team of Peer Mentors have been trained up and new student coordinators have taken over (hey!). From September the Peer Mentor Scheme within the History department will enter its eleventh year. In the past ten years it has provided new students in Manchester with a warm welcome, a support system, and a network of likeminded people from the start of their degree.
Arriving in a brand new city to start a History degree can be a daunting prospect and coupling that with learning to cook, clean, and live with new people can make first year a difficult but incredibly rewarding year. The Peer Mentor Scheme is about helping make those small moments of panic a little easier. From giving advice on where to get a decent haircut (true story) or just helping with getting the hang of referencing mentors are there for to help with the things you can only learn from experience. The scheme aims to be a less formal, student-to-student, approach to problems or questions first years may have, because academic staff aren’t always in the know about the best spots in the library.
At undergraduate level history has the issue, faced by many of the humanities subjects, of having few hours of contact and therefore a limited amount of time to foster a sense of community. The Peer Mentor scheme has worked for years to tackle that. With socials and events specifically for mentees and mentors, to events in conjunction with the History Society, there is a sense of history pride to be fostered through the scheme. The community which Peer Mentors build both for themselves and their mentees is one which encourages academic and pastoral support. As much as we love all things history there is a little more to a degree than hours spent in the library sharpening our historiographical knowledge. Years at university are a real opportunity to make friends and build a network of people who can support your studies and your well being.
As with every year the scheme’s success is down to the commitment and enthusiasm of the student peer mentors, and the team behind us this year are all incredible and rearing to go. We hope it can be as supportive, fun, and rewarding as ever. For anyone interested in the scheme we have a shiny new Facebook page: UoM History Peer Support with all our latest events and information. Feel free to contact Tom Denman, Hanna Matt or me if you have any questions.
Have a great summer everyone!
Muneera (Peer Mentor Coordinator)