By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer
Peer Mentors are a crucial part of the freshman experience at Washington College, responsible for guiding freshmen throughout their first year.
The role of a Peer Mentor is not only to guide the freshmen through their first year, but to also supply advice that will stick with them throughout their four years at WC.
According to Washington College website, “The Peer Mentors consist of highly motivated students who have completed at least one semester at Washington College, are actively engaged in the WC community, recognize their status as an on-campus leader, and incorporate the principles of diversity and inclusion through their work to ensure that all students feel welcome and are able to access the full range of educational opportunities at the College.”
During the first week of the Orientation Explore program, students meet their Peer Mentor and from there learn all the tips and tricks to successfully get through college.
The Peer Mentor program provides new students a way to connect with a student with prior knowledge of the campus as well as knowledge about Chestertown life, where classes are, and different clubs and events on campus.
“I decided to become a Peer Mentor because I wanted to be a part of the first-year orientation experience that students have every year. I wanted to support new students during a truly memorable part of their lives,” junior Katherine Desrosiers said.
Peer Mentors provide a sense of comfort for new students as it is natural for them to be nervous adapting to a new environment. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic peer mentors play an even more important role in helping students adapt to COVID-19 protocols and changes on campus.
“The best part of being a Peer Mentor has been the friendships that I have made through the program. I love bonding with my mentees during orientation week when we are so immersed in all of the activities. I also love getting to know and work with other Peer Mentors,” Desrosiers said.
The Peer Mentors program is not only just for the incoming students — it also opens up experiences to the Peer Mentors themselves.
“One incredibly fun experience I had as a Peer Mentor was visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. during Orientation Explore with my mentees. I never would have had that opportunity otherwise,” said Desrosiers.
Desrosiers Orientation Explore was called “Sleuths on the Shore.”
Had she not joined this program, she likely would not have gotten to have these specialized experiences while helping other students. She also expressed how nice it was to work with the other Peer Mentors and gain new friends through this program.
The program also goes past just the Freshmen Orientation Explore Program. Peer Mentors are a constant support system throughout students’ first year.
Desrosiers states that if students are interested in becoming a Peer Mentor to apply and enjoy the experiences that come with it. The bonds made with other Peer Mentors and incoming freshmen are a big part of what makes the Peer Mentor program so wonderful.
According to an email sent out by Student Affairs, “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.”
Any students who are interested in becoming a Peer Mentor, can now apply on JobX.
Featured Photo caption: Peer Mentor Katherine Desrosiers visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. during Orientation Explore 2019 with her mentee group. Photo Courtesy of Katherine Desrosiers.