Peer Mentors program gives assist to first-year college students


By Gabrielle Drillis

There are at the moment 16 Peer Mentors offering assist and steering to first-year college students.

Navigating the primary semester of school is an thrilling and unpredictable journey. The mixture of residing by yourself, taking over rigorous lecturers, making new pals, and adjusting to a brand new atmosphere within the coronary heart of Boston presents many new alternatives, however may also be a big endeavor for any first-year scholar. 

Because the Assistant Director of Pupil Companies on the School of Basic Research, Jihyeon Choe performs a pivotal position in fostering a supportive campus atmosphere to assist college students efficiently navigate this transition. Choe facilitates and oversees numerous scholar management packages, together with the Dean’s Host and Peer Mentors packages, each designed to assist present and potential CGS college students modify to life on campus.

Mentors are second-year or upperclassmen college students who volunteer to assist first-years navigate their first semester at Boston College. Social occasions, weekly workplace hours, and one-on-one alternatives with their mentors assist mentees turn into comfy with the college neighborhood, campus, and make new pals.

Rising the Program

Assistant Director of Pupil Companies Jihyeon Choe has overseen the expansion of the Peer Mentors program. Photograph courtesy Jihyeon Choe

The Peer Mentor Program was initially created by Heidi Chase, a former Assistant Director of Pupil Companies and educational advisor at CGS, and had eight Peer Mentors in its first yr. When Choe stepped into the position, she used her private struggles by way of her school expertise as motivation to broaden the Peer Mentor program. 

Like many school college students, she confronted challenges each academically and socially, till she met her personal scholar mentor who helped information her by way of her college journey. Recognizing the ability of mentorship, Choe constructed upon Chase’s concept of making a program that would supply first-year college students with a invaluable assist system. 

“Take into consideration profitable folks, all of them have mentors. I needed to use this to an instructional setting,” Choe mentioned. 

This system focuses on sustaining robust connections between mentors and mentees, fostering a way of neighborhood by way of social occasions, and guiding college students by way of their first yr academically, socially, and emotionally. 

Mentorship in Motion

Jairo Zelaya (‘23, COM ‘25) is a junior learning Movie & TV within the School of Communications who’s closely concerned on campus as a scholar employee on the Newbury Heart for first-generation college students, member of the Beat Boxing Membership, Various Service Break, and Delta Kappa Alpha. Zelaya was in the end capable of navigate his first and second years efficiently to succeed in the purpose he’s at immediately, however acknowledges that not having a mentor made the duty a frightening one. 

“I want I had somebody I might have gone to throughout my freshman yr of CGS,” Zelaya mentioned. “I had an instructional advisor, however I didn’t have somebody I might go to for recommendation or simply to speak.”

Zelaya’s personal expertise throughout his first yr at BU prompted him to just accept the invitation to use for the Peer Mentors program. In doing so, he has seen the tangible impression mentorship has made on first-years who’re scuffling with a few of the identical points he did. 

“I hearken to them, hearken to their issues, and supply ideas to assist make their freshman yr go smoother,” he mentioned.

Choe needed mentors and mentees to have a protected house to fulfill and chat, and the Gilbane Lounge has turn into the middle for that. All peer mentors host weekly workplace hours within the lounge for mentees to drop in and ask questions, chat, or simply hang around. 

Caroline Dodge (‘23, COM ‘25) hosts workplace hours within the Gilbane Lounge Tuesdays from 3-5 p.m. and Fridays 2-4 p.m. the place mentees, primarily from Staff C, can cease by to speak and ask for recommendation.

“I see the Peer Mentor program as offering an older information and assist system,” Dodge mentioned.“I inform [students] the guidelines and tips of BU.”

Participating within the Peer Mentor Program has supplied Dodge extra than simply the flexibility to assist first-year college students. Giving again to the communities she is part of is a big side of Dodge’s life, making the position of a mentor each acquainted and fulfilling for her. 

Moreover, this system has helped Dodge visualize simply how far she has are available in her time at Boston College to this point.

“It’s loopy to suppose I’m giving recommendation on CGS courses, professors, and the London journey once I was simply there two years in the past,” Dodge mentioned.

Educational advisors are an integral a part of the school expertise and have guided tons of of scholars by way of their two years in CGS. Nevertheless, generally it may be nerve wracking for a scholar to speak to an older grownup about private points. 

Methods to Join

Getting access to mentors who’re actively going by way of the school expertise on the identical time provides a brand new degree of consolation and relatability to mentorship.

“Not each scholar may not need or want this, however it’s good to know some do want us and that we’re there for them,” mentioned Zelaya.

Educational advisors additionally play a direct position within the success of the Peer Mentor Program. Every semester, advisors are requested to appoint one or two of their college students who’ve demonstrated wonderful management and qualities. As soon as Choe receives these nominees, she interviews every candidate and makes use of a holistic strategy to make her last selections on who to ask into this system. 

“GPA will not be actually related. I’m every candidate holistically,” mentioned Choe. 

Peer Mentors converse with college students at an occasion earlier this semester. Photograph courtesy Jihyeon Choe

At the moment, Choe has constructed a staff of 16 Peer Mentors and has assigned two mentors to every of the eight educational first-year groups. Each scholar in CGS has entry to those Peer Mentors, and college students are usually not restricted to only the mentors on their respective staff.

Sooner or later, Choe hopes to broaden this system to a minimum of three mentors for every CGS staff, provide extra social occasions and actions, and enhance outreach so extra college students are conscious of this useful resource. 

Mentors and mentees from all CGS groups are inspired to mingle at month-to-month social occasions. Choe sometimes designs these occasions with a theme in thoughts and affords completely different actions and crafts that promote group bonding. Earlier this semester, the Peer Mentors Program hosted a Valentine’s Day social throughout which college students made valentines, listened to music, ate snacks, and frolicked in a cushty and informal setting away from their lecturers. 

Choe appears to be like ahead to the longer term successes of the Peer Mentors Program and is repeatedly impressed by the teamwork and neighborhood created by her college students.

“The Peer Mentors are actually nice,” she mentioned. “They every have their very own distinctive traits. [It] is such an inspiring job.”

To study extra in regards to the peer mentor program, attain out to Jihyeon Choe at jchoe1@bu.edu or go to the CGS Peer Mentors Program web page.

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