Regardless of the coaching you receive from your teachers and guidance counselors, there will be a learning curve you’ll need to overcome in first year. I seem to begin every one of my articles with an over exaggerated comment about the first year experience but it isn’t done to instill fear in incoming students. I’m more interested in preparing you for what is to come by sharing useful tips that’ll aid you in closing gaps you don’t often foresee in the transition to university.
If you’re anything like me (hopefully not), you are uncertain of what the future has in-store for you. What will I do with my degree? What sorts of jobs can I land with my degree? Do I even want to stay in this program? Maybe long time hobbies and interests no longer captivate you like they once did? No one expects incoming students to figure out answers to tough questions in their first couple months of university. Luckily, seeking answers to difficult questions doesn’t have to be a solitary affair. There are organizations on campus that are setup to help you bridge gaps and answer tough questions through mentorship.
Tri- Mentoring is one of the programs that aides Ryerson students with both student and career mentoring. Tri- Mentoring does this through a program called Student Mentee/Mentor, where incoming students are paired up with someone in the same program or faculty as them. My experiences with the Student Mentee/Mentor program were integral in my development and growth as a student and person. The chance to speak to someone who has navigated the same path you hope to navigate makes a world of difference when you begin answering the tough questions about your future. So here are my Top 3 Reasons for joining Tri-Mentoring’s Mentee/Mentor Program:
“It’s not what you know, but who you know”
You’ve heard that cliché phrase more than a few times and you’re sick of it. I don’t think there is much truth to it but it’s a great segue into networking and building relationships with like-minded people. In a social media frenzied world, opportunities are everywhere and the challenge becomes ‘can you put yourself in a position to capitalize on the opportunity’.
Networking isn’t rocket science like it’s often made out to be by “networking gurus” or others who have a knack for overcomplicating simple things. Networking involves building relationships with likeminded people to further one’s education and career (I’m definitely oversimplifying it). This is where Tri- Mentoring’s Student Mentee/ Mentor program helps close the gap.
I’m assuming that once you’re on campus in the fall, you probably won’t know very many people outside your program and faculty. As the year progresses, you’ll cultivate new interests and want to get in touch with people who can help you grow those interests. Before coming to university I wasn’t very tech savvy and didn’t maintain my one social media account. Through first semester, I logged onto my Facebook once, but as the year progressed I developed an interest in social media and wanted to learn how to make better use of it. I spoke to my Mentor about my growing interest and he was able to connect me to various individuals within Ryerson who specialize in social media. Networking with people that are likeminded opened new doors and provided me with new opportunities to explore my interests. Building relationships with people who have similar interests as you takes a longtime and it’s never too early to start.
2. Helpful Advice:
The ability to turn to someone for support and advice is invaluable. During the early part of my first semester at Ryerson I often found myself lost in the commotion. Deadlines pass by without warning, social gatherings come and go, and before you know it you’re lining up at the MTCC to write your finals. I didn’t do a very good job at making sure I was organized and prepared for the fast paced university schedule and fell behind on some of my classes. You might find yourself in the same predicament as me and not know how to get back on track or who to turn to. In difficult times, it’s advantageous to turn to someone who understands your situations well.
It’s nostalgic looking back to when I was preparing to write my first exam at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). Those of you who have written an exam at the MTCC can understand the frightening few days leading up to the exam for a first year student. Speaking to my Mentor, who had written multiple exams at the MTCC the year before better prepared me for the task at hand. Throughout the year you might come by questions that need answering and don’t know where to turn to. You’re Mentor will be able to step in and provide you with answers and clarifications that’ll make the university experience a lot less frightening and a lot more enjoyable. Remember, university doesn’t have to be a solitary journey.
3. Growing Leadership Skills:
I regularly hear people talk about cultivating leadership skills in very broad and generic terms. I see the same cliche Winston Churchill quotes on power points and wonder how reading from slides and hearing a half hour presentation can grow someone’s confidence. Maybe I’m underestimating the impact of Powerpoints but I’m certain actively participating is the best way to learn.
Your interactions with your Mentor will be a great way to begin growing skills like confidence, honesty and teamwork. Being able to spend quality time with someone who has taken the initiative to give back to the Ryerson community is beyond insightful. Growing leadership qualities aren’t done overnight. I’m still on the journey to personal growth but I’ve noticed the impact the Mentee/Mentor Program has had on me when it comes to that growth.
Let’s say you’re itching to be a top tier basketball player, who would you want to spend your time with? You would probably want to spend it with someone who is a better basketball player than you so you can see what it takes to grow and better your game. It’s no different as someone wanting to further cultivate their leadership skills.
You can apply to be a part of the mentee/mentor program here.