As the semester begins, it can be challenging for students to readjust to the pace of the semester ahead. Mentoring can be important for clarifying goals and intentions for the upcoming year, and setting a clean slate. Here, we’ve curated some tips for students starting a new semester of university and outlined some ways that a mentoring programme with SUMAC can contribute to each.
1. Know Your Resources
While physical resources- such as a sports centre or library- are often well-advertised, it can be more tricky for students to navigate social resources. Mentoring programmes can serve to formalize social resources, and provide a wealth of information to draw upon. Likewise, a conversation with a mentor can be a more effective and less intimidating way to understand the resources that are available to students. Often university resources can be scattered and can bombard students with a wealth of information during a time that they already might be overwhelmed by the process of starting the new semester. Establishing strong social connections early on can provide a friendly face to simplify this wealth of information and develop a relationship to continually draw on throughout the semester.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Often, students can feel intimidated at the beginning of the year and can even suffer from imposter syndrome, especially when beginning a new course. However, this initial aversion to asking questions can lead to difficulties and confusion down the road. Establishing a strong mentoring relationship at the beginning of the semester creates a safe space to ask questions, which is an essential aspect of adjusting to university life. For students who have specific barrier to feeling comfortable asking questions in the classroom- for example, international students who may be adjusting to a new language and culture- developing this relationship early on can be pivotal in feeling safe and welcomed in their new community.
3. Set a Schedule
Developing a regular mentorship meeting can provide a way to track the passage of time and check in on your progress and goals throughout the semester. As commitments become greater throughout the semester, establishing a schedule with your mentor early on can serve to set a pace for the semester. As things become more hectic, a set mentoring relationship develops a safe space for students to check in with themselves, their goals, and their mentors in order to better understand their progress. As students become more invested in their day to day lives, mentoring provides a time to put aside time to reconnect with themselves and look toward their future with intention and purpose.
Although the purposes that we’ve outlined here- knowing your resources, asking questions, and developing a schedule- are central to building confidence at the beginning of the semester, mentoring schemes have a wealth of benefits to provide to students starting the semester. At the beginning of the semester, students are often still scattered across the globe- building a mentoring scheme using SUMAC enables schemes to be carried out virtually, thus building confidence for the semester even before it begins.
From everyone here at SUMAC, best of luck with the beginning of the semester to both educators, administrators, and students! For more tips, check out this resource from Harvard on how to begin of the semester on the right track: