By the Peer Mentoring Coordinators
Mentorship is a rewarding experience for both parties involved. As a mentor, your knowledge and guidance helps another person to make their place at an institution or in society; it’s a way of giving back to your community. As a mentee, you receive advice that can help you adjust to a new environment, avoid making certain mistakes, develop confidence, and get ahead of your peers or be successful in your own right.
Mentorship is especially important when adapting to new and unfamiliar situations, and starting a new program at the iSchool is as good a time as any to be part of a supportive mentorship community. That’s where the Peer Mentoring @ iSchool (PM@i) program comes in! PM@i is a year-long mentorship program connecting current Faculty of Information students with incoming students, allowing for one-on-one and small group connections. Mentors connect with their assigned mentees to offer support in their transition to iSchool and post-secondary student life. No question is a silly question! Mentors have been in your shoes and are eager to share their wisdom about academics, life at UofT and in Toronto, job searching, and extracurricular activities. Whether you are looking for a new network of friends and peers, specific guidance on your program and field, or opportunities for professional development, the mentoring community can help!
Faria is one of four students coordinating the Peer Mentoring program for the 2020-2021 school year. She was also a mentee in her first year at the iSchool. Read on to learn about her experience with mentorship.
Mentorship has played a big role in my life. I worked as a peer mentor while completing my undergraduate degree and it was always nice to run into my mentees after the program was over and just see the awesome things that they were up to. It feels really good to know that you were there for someone when they needed help and now they are flourishing. I’ve also been really lucky to receive support from mentors both at the undergraduate level and here at the iSchool. It’s like having an experienced friend who has the answer to all your questions or can tell you where to find the answers. When the stress of graduate school starts to pick up, it is great to talk to your friends but it is more comforting to talk to someone who has already been through a similar situation and hear how they overcame it.
It is even more important nowadays to reach out and keep in touch with people. Although face-to-face meetings will have to be on pause, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get the best out of your mentorship relationship. Virtual mentorship can be just as enriching, and you can connect at a time and via a means that is most convenient to you. It is always good to be on the lookout for fun events hosted by the Virtual Inforum that both you and your mentor can attend, and to participate in the social and professional development that will be hosted as part of the PM@i program. Whether it’s a games night or a skill-sharing session, mentors and mentees are just a text message, email or video call away!
With that said, we are excited to be able to continue offering the Peer Mentoring @ iSchool program from the comfort and safety of our own homes. We can’t wait to connect with the incoming cohort of iSchool students to help make your first year as successful as it can be!
Photos supplied by Peer Mentoring @ iSchool