Arts Student Services launch Mentorship Program

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A program intended to improve students’ transition into university life

Navigating the first year of university can be both challenging and exciting at the same time. The Faculty of Arts at the University of Regina recently attempted to make this process easier for all the newbies. Their new buddy-like program that can help all the first years is quite an experience to have in the university. In a recent interview with Taylor Gilkes-Reed, an academic advisor, she mentioned that “creating the community” for students and participating in the student culture is essential to experience during a student’s academic journey. 

This mentorship program matches senior arts students who have a major declared with juniors and is now set out to be a year long. The program is seeing new changes and revisions that will aim higher with more features for participating students. The goal behind the program is to minimize new student anxiety and give those students access to a mentor and guide in their first years. These mentors will be able to answer questions pertaining to university, academics, and many other parts of life. This would be a golden opportunity for students to get more campus exposure and experience and an inside look at what it is like to be a U of R student. 

The expectations for mentors in the program include a requirement to have completed at least 60 credit hours with good academic standing, a declared major, and to be enrolled in the Faculty of Arts. The mentee requirements include students being in their first year of study –  part-time or full-time – enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, and also have excitement about learning and growth. The matching of the mentor and mentee takes place through a personality type survey, as well as similarities in personal interests and other areas, to make the best match possible out of the group of students who apply. 

The first cohort of the mentorship program appeared successful, with positive feedback from many mentors and mentees who strengthened their bonds and helped each other grow. The students greatly enjoyed the program’s regular check-ins between matched mentors and mentees, the orientation, a lunch that happened in the middle of the winter semester, and ending the program with a reception which was attended by the Dean of Arts. 

In a recent conversation with mentors of the program, it was heavily emphasized that the soft skills built on the mentors’ end can be used throughout your life. A mentor gets a chance to develop leadership skills, communication skills, and to expand their perspectives. It also gives them a chance to practice what they are preaching, thus encouraging the habit of being accountable and responsible as an individual. They also get to practice active listening, empathy, and patience, which will not only help them in the workforce but will also help them grow as a person. Mentors get a chance to increase their self-awareness and to nurture it in others, impacting the community in many ways. 

Mentees, on the other hand, enjoy learning from the mistakes and lessons that the mentors can share. They get to share their problems and learn how to successfully reach out to others in times of need. It can be challenging to navigate life, especially university, when one is lost and doesn’t know where to anchor. Mentors can be their guiding star, helping them sail through their university program much more easily.  

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