By: Dolores Bustamante
The Student Success Center has [implemented] a Peer Mentoring program for freshman students of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Freshman students are assigned a peer mentor of their major and are expected to meet with their mentor a half-hour per week. Peer mentors include juniors and seniors of all majors, preferably with a 3.0 GPA.
The Peer Mentoring Program is designed to help freshman students develop and perform planning and study skills.
Rebeka Silvas, Director of Peer Mentoring, feels that this program will help freshman students of TAMUK feel comfortable in a new environment.
“We’re trying to gain momentum on campus so that freshmen aren’t really afraid of approaching others for help,” said Silvas. “It’s more about gaining retention, gaining academic success, early on.”
The program is not mandatory for non-traditional students.
“They aren’t absolutely inexperienced,” said peer mentor Sandivar, a junior majoring in Accounting. “They know what they are here for already.”
Though non-traditional students are not required to participate in Peer Mentoring, the program will not turn away any non-traditional students who seek assistance.
“If they want to, the door is always open, and if they feel they don’t, just because it doesn’t fit in their general lives, they’re older, they don’t need the coaching,” said Silvas.
Freshman students will not be penalized if they choose not to attend.
“We’re not going to try and catch them if they don’t come, it’s more we’re putting ourselves out there so they know that we are here for them,” said Silvas.
“It is required, because it is part of being a successful student,” said peer mentor Sarah Chapa, a junior majoring in fashion merchandizing.
When freshman students arrive, they are given a contract promising to maintain the skills necessary to “remain in good standing with TAMUK.”
Liliana Rodriguez, a first year student in TAMUK enjoys her experience with the Peer Mentoring Program.
“My mentor has actually helped me with telling me what classes she’s already taken,” said Rodriguez.
Although Rodriguez arrived at TAMUK with 30 credit hours, this is her first year in “actual college.”
“I like going to (my mentor) just because she does help out with the classes,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the program will offer help for as long as a freshman student feels needed.
“My mentor said we can go with school problems, anything that’s going on with friends, professors, anything,” said Rodriguez. “They’re just there to hear us out and help us with as much as they can.”
The Peer Mentor Center is located in Eckhardt Hall first floor middle wing, room 144. The hours of operation are from Monday-Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.