For first-year University of Guelph-Humber student Brandon Ferguson, the first few weeks at school have been intense, to say the least.
But they’ve also been great.
“The first month has been absolutely incredible,” he told Humber News on Thursday. “There’s been a lot of changes but there’s also been a lot of opportunity along with those changes.”
Ferguson has been part of First Year Experience, a program created by Humber College to assist first year students. Its goal is to transition students into post secondary studies as well as to improve grade and graduation rates, organizers told Humber News.
The program, better known as FYE, pairs up each registered student with a peer mentor to help give them a smooth transition into college life.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic to have a mentor that’s pretty much the same age and that appears very close to our mindset, our abilities and our academic level to be able to guide us through what were doing as we make this transition to a new walk of life,” Ferguson said.
Mentors are almost like a personal guide for students. They answer any questions students may have, help show them around campus, check in with them and most importantly, are there for them if they happen to need it, according to the program’s website.
While change may be difficult for some to overcome, Ferguson credits FYE for the help and has learned to roll with the punches.
“Students who do enroll in our program and see it through are more successful and graduate on time,” said First Year Transition programs facilitator Todd LeBlanc.
“They can rely on them – kind of building that network for the first year student and having someone on campus they can rely on and see them in person,” said LeBlanc
At Humber and Guelph-Humber, students beyond First Year with good academic standings can register to be peer mentors, but a key quality in that is for them to be sociable.
“They walk into the room and engage people and want to meet people and they’re willing to help,” said LeBlanc.
FYE also hosts a series of workshops by the name of Your First 6 Weeks @Humber.
“We’re focused on those first six weeks when school begins because it’s a really trying period … everything is new, bullets are flying and as a new student it’s kind of overwhelming,” said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said there’s an academic upside to enrolling in the program. He said students who are enrolled in the program are more likely to reach out for assistance with academic or personal issues from their mentor, a friend, a teacher or a service at the school.