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The musings of a mentor

February 2012

The Musings of a MentorRosanne has participated in many Monash College student activities, she has received the confidence to do so from the Mentor Program

Written by Rosanne Naidoo, MC Diplomas student and student mentor.

Do you remember the day you got your acceptance letter? Excitement was going through your head and you were screaming with joy? But then you came back to reality and you had all these questions; questions regarding Monash College and life in Melbourne. Did you wish you had someone to help answer these questions? If you join the Monash College Mentor Program, your questions can be answered by those that went through the same kind of experience.

When I first came to Monash College in February 2011, I joined the program and became a  mentee (new student). I had all these questions about Monash College and Melbourne.  Throughout my trimester, I had a mentor (current student) who was willing to help me around campus, and answer questions about the staff and adjusting to life in Melbourne. Not only did I get a mentor that was friendly and able to help me, but a long lasting friend.

After my first trimester, I was eligible to be a mentor and I applied.

I enjoyed being a mentor so much the first time that I volunteered to participate in the program twice more.

Once you've been accepted to become a Monash College Student Mentor, you go through two days of training. You don't have to have any experience whatsoever, just a smile on your face, a willingness to learn about the program and your surroundings, and an eagerness to get to know and help other people!

During the two-day training, you discover more about yourself and your personal strengths and how to work on your weaknesses. You also learn about health and safety issues, and what happens if a mentee or even a friend is stressed about life, College or living situations, and how you can help or provide them with information that might help. Another key insight for me was that we learnt how to communicate with those that may not be accustomed to how people in Australia communicate. At the end of training, you are allocated a mentee and their email address to contact them.

The Musings of a MentorRosanne taking part in Mentor Program activitiesAfter the training, you go through Orientation Week. You help staff members, as new students enroll and help answer questions where possible. On an exciting note, you get to scout for your mentee, as you have not met them yet, this always brings excitement to my friends and I.

Throughout the week, we help with the activities planned for new students, such as campus tours and the official welcome lunch with team activities which help students make new friends. There's even the Monash College Amazing Race which takes place in the city, where you race to explore and see the important and historic locations across the CBD;  such as the State Library, Melbourne Central, Federation Square, the Parliament buildings and so many more. This helps students because you can come back later, explore on your own and not be completely lost. On one of the days in Orientation Week, there's a fun activity that enables mentors and mentees to get together and get to know one another better. There are even day trips to the Melbourne Aquarium or Zoo, as well as to the Queen Victoria Market.

Once O-Week has finished, you are encouraged to catch up with your mentees nothing too organised or hectic. A chat in the common room while on your lunch  or coffee break is all it takes. You may get together with other mentors and mentees and go out to the movies or out for lunch, play a friendly game of soccer or explore the city. The mentors usually become a close group and new mentees join in.

I can honestly say, the experience I've had that being a mentor is a lot of fun and I have really enjoyed taking part in the program. I have also gained insightful knowledge about myself and others, my campus and my surroundings. You  gain leadership skills and make new long lasting friendships with the people you're with. Beyond developing the skills needed for successful academic learning, life at Monash College encourages students to grow as individuals. I am now more outgoing through my involvement in the Mentor Program. I do things I would never have done before as I have more confidence to be around others and burst out of my shell.

For new students joining Monash College, I would just like to say, don't be afraid of taking on challenges, coming out of your comfort zone and exceeding in your studies. Yes, at first it may be difficult in terms of culture shock and adjustments in study and living environments, but that's what mentors are for. We are able to help ease your mind and try to help you the best we can, as all mentors have gone through what you're going through now. So if you still have the chance, I would strongly advise signing up for the mentor program, as it answers many questions, and helps you adjust to Monash College and Melbourne as well as making new friends.

Lastly, I wish you all the best in your studies at Monash College and in your future at Monash University.

To find out more go to our Monash College Mentor program section.