IMG_5823By Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

As the spring semester brings new friends, captivating classes, and unexpected experiences, first-year students can always count on their Peer Mentors for guidance, advice, and support.

Applications for the Peer Mentor Program for the 2019-2020 academic year are currently being accepted through the Office of Student Affairs.

“The role of the Peer Mentor is critical to our campus and invaluable to Washington College’s first-year students’ experiences, academically and socially.  Interested candidates should have an overall enthusiasm to guide new students on campus and a willingness to provide positive interactions that assist first-year students in their development and growth,” said Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Candace Wannamaker in a campus-wide email.

“You really take on a leadership role as a peer mentor. You must learn how to successfully connect and manage your group of students and it was a humbling experience,” said junior and Peer Mentor Alex Lewis.

For some students, Peer Mentors are the first upperclassmen that they meet upon their arrival to campus. During Orientation and Orientation Explore, Peer Mentors offer guidance and insight into life as a Washington College student.

“Peer Mentors help students in all aspects of their transition to college, anything from academic transitions to learning how to do laundry,” said senior Peer Mentor Alex Kinkaid.

“The job is very busy around orientation and the first semester of school, because that is when mentees are transitioning into college,” he said.

According to Kincaid, interacting with first-year students as a group and on an individual basis offers the opportunity to cultivate friendships and numerous skills.

“I have learned a lot of people skills, as well as learned a lot about myself. It is an incredible experience because of how rewarding it is, but also because of friendships you develop, people you meet, and the skills you are forced to develop through the job.”

Peer Mentors begin their training just after the end of the spring semester, where future mentors learn about the value of peer training. They reunite the week before the fall semester to prepare for Orientation and Orientation Explore.

“Orientation week itself a Peer Mentor is basically working non-stop, and then throughout the first semester it is expected that peer mentors will be checking in on their mentees frequently just to ensure they are off to a good start and have all the tools to be successful at college,” Kincaid said.

Though their jobs and assignments may at times be challenging, Lewis and Kincaid both describe being a Peer Mentor as a rewarding and beneficial experience.

“Being a Peer Mentor at Washington College has been one of my favorite experiences over the past three years. I can’t begin to explain how much fun the program has been, and how impactful it has been on my life,” Kincaid said.

“People should apply because it is an incredibly fun and rewarding job.  The group of Peer Mentors is a great team and working orientation although it can be hectic and crazy, is super fun,” Lewis said.

Students applying should have completed or be in the process of completing at least one full semester at WC, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and be in good social standing.

“Dedicated and friendly people should apply to be a Peer Mentor. It takes a lot of patience, but you have to be organized,” Lewis said.

Applications, including two references and a resume, are due by midnight on Feb. 24 through JobX. Full application instructions can be found on the Student Affairs website under “Become A Peer Mentor.”

“Applying to be a Peer Mentor was one of my best decisions. It opened up my perspective of other people and improved my social skills. I loved the experience and can’t wait to do it again,” Lewis said.

The Elm

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