Celebrating Peer Mentors
In January, National Mentoring Month, we take time to appreciate the peer mentors who work with our students at Transitions. The mentors are all young adults who are college students and graduates traveling paths similar to our students’. They work side by side with the students and support them with many different aspects of their lives, from applying for jobs to staying focused in class, learning social skills and becoming an independent young adult.
Why does peer mentorship work?
- It is essential to learn from someone you can relate to.
- Parents, teachers, older relatives and others can offer a lot of wisdom. However, someone in your age group who may be going through the same experience as you can be more relatable. There is peer-reviewed research to support this idea as well. This can make it feel like you are not alone in what you are experiencing in your life.
- Peer mentors can be inspiring and motivating.
- When you can see someone you can relate to accomplishing goals you hope to achieve in life, it helps you know that it is possible. Mentors can serve as inspirational role models to those they mentor.
- Peer mentors can help you build your network.
- You are likely going to work with people your age throughout your career. Peer mentors can provide opportunities for you to meet people your age in the workforce who support you in your career. Get their contact information.
- A good mentor will value the experience because they are learning and growing right alongside you.
- A good mentor will get as much from you as you will from them. This will encourage them to be personally invested in your success. Someone your age and at the same place in life is learning the same skills and lessons as you.
How can you be a great mentor?
- Approach your mentee with a humble attitude.
- The person you are mentoring (your mentee) is learning, just like you were at some point. While you may know it now, there was once a time you didn’t. So be careful of a prideful and “know it all” attitude when advising others.
- Make sure you listen to your mentee.
- This means listening when they don’t understand your advice or listening when they share their strengths and weaknesses. As much as mentoring is about teaching and instructing, it is always important to listen.
- Have patience.
- There isn’t only one way to learn something. Remember to have patience when working with someone, as the speed at which they pick up a skill you are teaching could be slower than you expect. If so, remember everyone learns differently and at different rates.
Peer mentors have been a significant factor in changing students’ lives at Transitions. Almost every student has a story of working with a mentor who impacted them positively. If you have a peer mentor in your life, please take the time to show them appreciation and thank them.