Making Their Mark

Peer Mentors serve as a resource for first-year students

Making Their Mark

Peer Mentors serve as a resource for first-year students

You’re 18 years old and living on your own for the first time. You need to determine the proper amount of detergent to use for each load of laundry, where to cash checks from your job, and how to ensure enough fruits and vegetables make it onto your plate each day. 

There are lots of aspects of college that don’t involve philosophy books or chemistry beakers. You might find yourself asking questions and unsure of where to look for answers. What should I do if I feel sick? How much “spending money” should last me a whole semester? What if my car breaks down?

Marisa Connors ’20 holds up her hand to reference the Peer Mentors’ logo—a handprint with the slogan, “Make Your Mark” to challenge students to think about their legacy. Photo: Sue Johnson.

Peer Mentor Emma-Rose Mellon ’21, from Temple, New Hampshire, emphasizes that time management is an important skill that many students need to focus on. Photo: Sue Johnson.

Enter Saint Joseph’s College Peer Mentors—the older sisters and brothers you always wished could accompany you on this new life chapter. Peer Mentors are students who want to help first year students settle in at college. They assist new students in moving into their residence halls in August by initiating friendly conversations while lugging suitcases, televisions, and mini refrigerators up stairs.

“It can be difficult to adjust to college, especially if you’re not from Maine,” explains Marisa Connors ’20, who is from Alton, New Hampshire. Marisa is serving her second year as a Peer Mentor and also serves as a Resident Advisor for upperclassmen who live in the suites. “I love the community feel of Saint Joseph’s and becoming a Peer Mentor has allowed me to meet many other people across campus.”

“I love the community feel of Saint Joseph’s and becoming a Peer Mentor has allowed me to meet many other people across campus.”

The Peer Mentor Program is certified as a Level I and Level II/Advanced Mentoring Program by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), an international organization of learning-assistance professionals. Students receive leadership and professional development training before co-facilitating with a faculty member a one-credit course called First Year Experience (FYE) Seminar (see story p. 4). FYE assists students with critical thinking, reading, and writing skills in addition to areas like self care and budgeting.

Peer Mentor Emma-Rose Mellon ’21 emphasizes that time management is an important skill that many students need to focus on. It’s especially critical for her as she balances nursing requirements with lacrosse practices and games. “I like being able to help other students and I love how friendly everyone is here; that was a big reason why I chose Saint Joseph’s.”