New kids on the block have help
First year students at James Cook University, known as ‘freshers’, will have a helping hand when classes start this semester, thanks to older students who have volunteered to act as mentors.
Orientation Week at JCU starts on Monday, February 18 and classes for Study Period 1, 2013 start on Monday, February 25.
JCU’s Mentor Program, now in its 22nd year, began on the Cairns campus in 1991 and expanded to the Townsville campus shortly after. It is one of the first student-led support programs in Australia.
The program matches new students with student mentors in a similar course or study area who are willing to share knowledge and experience.
Mentor Coordinator Peter Hanley said the Mentor Program aimed to help new students overcome any initial feelings of isolation and anxiety that they may experience as they enter university and to orientate those students to university culture.
“It strives to give them a sense of belonging within that culture,” he said.
“Mentors help new students to understand the challenges and opportunities of university and to develop strategies for academic success. The mentor/new student relationship extends for the first study period at university.”
Mr Hanley said mentors would meet new students as part of faculty and course introductions on Monday, February 18 and Tuesday, February 19, as part of Orientation Week.
Mentors undertake a day’s training in the week before O Week, on Friday, 15 February from 9am-3pm, in the Medical Lecture Theatre Building 45.
“At training, mentors are introduced to their role, their responsibilities throughout the semester and, through a panel discussion involving university professional staff, mentors get to know the range and extent of support services offered by the university,” he said.
“Mentors come from a range of backgrounds, for example rural and remote, and international students. They explain their own experiences as new students and outline how the support they offer can help new students to settle into university life.
First published 11 February 2013
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175