Becoming a College Peer Mentor
As college campuses become more diverse and accessible, the need exists for the development of both formal and informal resources to support students with a variety of needs. A peer mentor is someone who can assist students who may still be developing the skills for independence, such as a student with a disability. This assistance can be in the form of an academic tutor, a study partner, or even just a friend.
The term mentor, in the traditional sense, means to be an advisor or supporter. For peer mentoring on a college campus, we think mentoring means more than that. It is about developing meaningful relationships that benefit all who are involved and should be considered a two-way street. Although we might refer to one person as the mentor (the one who provides support and guidance) and the other as the mentee (the one who receives the support and guidance), in actuality, both parties learn from one another, creating more of a mentoring partnership than an unequal mentor/mentee relationship. That is what we hope to develop by pairing college students with peers on campus who need additional support due to characteristics of a disability. Both will learn from the other, improving the quality of life for all involved.
Creating Mentoring Partnerships
Melissa M. Jones, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University