With the new school year beginning, many first-year students may find themselves lost and confused. Aware of this situation, some upperclassmen have decided to address the issue and make the New College environment a little more comfortable for new students who aren’t adjusting as well as they hoped.
The effort has paid off in a new mentoring program called “First Year Love.” The brainchild of second-year Drew Zay and third-years Tristan Zucker and Erin Lapeyrolerie, all of whom are resident advisors (RAs), the program is meant to connect upperclassmen with first-years in order to help acquaint newcomers with New College.
“It’s a mentor-mentee program,” Zay, who oversees advertising for the project, said. “The idea was to bridge the first-year gap and the upper-year gap so we can bring people together to mentor each other relationship/friendship-wise. Whatever they want to use that relationship for is their own decision.”
The program has an organized method of matching up potential mentors and mentees as well. While simple, it serves a very crucial role in the project.
“All we’ve done is create two forms through Google Questionnaire for mentors and mentees,” Zay explained. “They fill it out and we read over them, then match them based on AOC, interests and extracurricular activities. The idea is to find people of similar interests and put them together, and hopefully something comes out of that.”
Zay understands what it’s like to be a new student at a school, and especially a school with as unique a social atmosphere as New College.
“Sometimes, we feel that first years look up at these upperclassmen and say, ‘ooh, they’re so scary, they’re so far above us,’ when really we’re so excited to meet new people,” Zay said.
Besides the benefit of making new friends and becoming better acquainted with New College, “First Year Love” is a great way to add to a student’s resume and teach students how to give good support and advice, which are skills necessary in many aspects of the work force now.
“It helps upper-years by having them do something they’ve never done before that they can put on their resume,” Zay explained.
As of now, there are over 30 mentors involved with the program, but only eight mentees. Because of this, it’s difficult for facilitators to match up mentors and mentees. Students, especially first-years, are encouraged to go online, find the “First Year Love” e-mail in their inboxes and fill out the simple questionnaire. The first meeting is Sept. 25 and the questionnaires must be filled out by Sept. 22. If students have any further questions they are encouraged to contact Zay at Richard.Zay@ncf.edu.