The Connect Mentor program has been a very enriching experience. By helping others settle into university, I gained a deeper insight into the uncertainties and often the loneliness faced by new students in an alien environment.
Their initial struggles with a new system of education, the process of gradually making friends, the confusion about assignments, and warm and often grateful responses when these concerns were addressed, made me understand the importance of this role.
I saw at very close quarters the frustration of a new student who felt he had chosen the wrong course. He was extremely unhappy with this decision, and the homesickness and loneliness of the first few weeks brought him very close to questioning his decision about coming to La Trobe. Together we approached the Faculty, which made an alternate study plan for him; I connected him to people that I knew, from his country, and we ensured he had company in his college of residence. Today when I meet him, he comes across a much more confident and happier person, who is adjusting well to life at La Trobe University.
Answering queries on everything from studies, to part time work options, food, shopping, sight-seeing and clubbing, was as much a learning process for me as it was for my mentees. Helping make a difference in someone’s life is certainly a reward in itself.
The Connect Program is a great initiative and I look forward to contributing to it again.