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UAGC Staff Member

As an experienced college student or alumnus, you understand that college is not easy and many struggle with stress and anxiety. Whether it is class-related, balancing life’s many responsibilities, or coping with unexpected obstacles, it seems like there is always something pushing your limits. If you have a passion for helping your fellow students, UAGC offers the CHAMPS Peer Mentoring Program, where you can help classmates who need advice and a positive voice to help guide them through this challenging time.

Tiffany Galvin, a student at UAGC who experienced first the side of being a mentee, and later became a mentor, shares her experience with the program.

Why I tried the mentor program.

I have always been excited to get involved with various clubs and opportunities with the school, so when I saw that there was this mentorship program, I jumped at the chance.

I wasn’t necessarily struggling with classes or resources, I just wanted to find some other students to connect with other than just inside the confines of classroom discussions.

My experience inspired me to become a mentor.

I learned a lot about the actual CHAMPS program itself, and it led me to want to become a mentor. It was nice to discuss how things were going with a fellow student who had been there before.

If I am honest, I didn’t have the most responsive mentor. I tend to be very inquisitive and like lots of opportunities to discuss things, but didn’t have a lot of that with my particular mentor.

(Don’t let that be a reflection of the program, though! Sometimes people just don’t connect very well!)

I think my mentor just made me want to be involved at the mentor level so that I could connect with other students who were curious and wanted to be involved.

I learned that we are all different, for sure. Like I said, my mentor and I didn’t really connect as well as I was hoping we would, but I am also a really dedicated student, so I didn’t need much help when it came to academics or classwork, I wanted the more social aspect, which was lacking for us.

I understand now that we all have different needs, though, and her style probably proved very helpful to some of her other mentees.

I was able to see the progress of the program and how it worked when I was a mentee and I wanted to connect with students of my own. I felt like I could bring some experience but also a very enthusiastic and kind ear for students like me!

You can plan your mentor duties around your schedule.

I certainly have found some challenges when it comes to balancing time. The more mentees you have, the more a planner comes in handy! I have to really pay attention to the connections I am making but also set boundaries. I try to be really flexible (evening and weekend chats with students if that is all they have available) but also take time to say certain times I may be unavailable due to family, etc.

Expect to come across some students who refuse to participate.

Sometimes, the mentorship grows stagnant or doesn’t even get off the ground. I think it’s probably when students end up not engaging with me that I find a little disappointing. It happens! People decide they don’t really want to be in the program anymore or they worry they cannot find time to chat, so they start to become more and more distant or not respond at all. It can be frustrating, to toe the line between trying to get them excited and involved vs. bugging them when they don’t want to be contacted. Just be honest and let me know!

Overall, being a mentor has been a positive experience.

Hearing students smiling through the phone when you talk to them and just feeling their appreciation is a huge part of it. I have several who are so appreciative to just have someone to vent to a little and share experiences with. Students who are really engaged with me will tell me how happy they are that I shared a particular club or resource with them that they didn’t know about.

For every one of the students who you feel kind of bummed because they didn’t respond to you, there’s one who is so happy to have a fellow student to talk to who has kids, work, school, a busy life, etc., and can go through it together.

I highly encourage other students to become mentors.

Do it! I think that whether you form a lifelong connection with someone or just form a bond that helps you feel comfortable getting off the ground at UAGC, it is still benefiting students in some way. You truly set your own schedule when it comes to connecting with students, so even if you can squeeze out half an hour a week, you can do it! And it will matter to the student on the other end.

In terms of qualifications, I believe all you need is to have completed 8 courses (24 credits-and, yes, they can be transferred in), and maintain a 3.0 GPA. You don’t have to be on any certain career path or have a huge amount of extra time on your hands. Definitely check out the CHAMPS page on the UAGC site even email me!

There is no pressure when it comes to working with a mentor- no deadlines or grades or anything, so it’s only for support and positivity, to a

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