Making a Difference by Peer Mentoring

Almost every Rollins student begins his or her Rollins career in a Rollins College Conference Course, otherwise known as an RCC. The RCCs are fundamentally designed to acclimate first-year students into their lives on campus. The RCCs have been around since Thaddeus Seymour was Rollins’ president. “They came out of some faculty thinking about how to change and improve the first-year experience,” explained Gabe Anderson, Explorations’ assistant director.

One essential aspect to the success of RCCs is the use of Peer Mentors, who help the advising professor to lead the new students through their first semester at Rollins. Peer Mentors greet new students during orientation, help their mentees find their classes, and act as advisors throughout the semester. “It is a really demanding job,” Anderson said. “It takes up a lot of time and emotional energy. We look for a person who really cares about doing a good job. We need students who are going to be good role models socially and academically.”

If you are interested in becoming a Peer Mentor, go onto FoxLink and fill out the application. Once the applications are reviewed by Explorations, group interviews will be scheduled with the applicants, the Explorations team and the RCC professors.

Jessica Aubrey ’12 peer mentored her sophomore and junior years. ”I remember going through it the first year, and what an emotional roller coaster it is, so the chance to help these students get through this time, acclimating to this time at college [was appealing].” Now Aubrey is using her experience as a Peer Mentor to aid her in her new job as student coordinator. “You’re in charge during the peer mentoring semester in the fall, you supervise the peer mentors… we’re also in charge of planning certain programs like summer and fall orientation and peer mentor training.”

Student Coordinators and Explorations run a mini-training session for the chosen peer mentors during the spring semester, but it is not until the beginning of August that the Peer Mentors truly learn the ropes. For two weeks, all of the Peer Mentors come back to campus and learn how to lead young people. The mentors must be prepared to think on their feet in order to come up with the best solutions for any problems their mentees may have.

Steven Vitale ’12 was also a Peer Mentor last semester. “We basically worked from seven to 10 for two weeks every day, but it didn’t feel like that. It felt more like a summer camp.” In addition to the social training the Peer Mentors undergo, they also do an Iron Chef competition to help build bonds between the mentors and to have fun in the process.

Anderson strongly encourages anyone who is interested in becoming a Peer Mentor in the fall to submit an application before March 1. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Gabe Anderson at gcanderson@rollins.edu.

About Julia Campbell

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