My name is Marielle Apronti. When I wrote this, I was a senior at UAlbany majoring in Public Health and Human Biology with a minor in Psychology. My journey to becoming a peer mentor was quite interesting, and looking back I would not have wanted it any other way. I remember when I first came to the UAlbany campus what I wanted more than anything was to have a mentor. There was so much going on and as a freshman it is quite common to not know what direction to take. We all come to college to learn, and grow our network but even with that there are many other things to explore while being enrolled in higher education such as clubs, social action groups and sports. The truth is having friends and family that support your college journey sometimes did not feel like enough because, unlike high school you are not around them day-by-day for them to know what you are experiencing and going through.
The way I found out about mentorship was through my first college friend who was also my roommate. My roommate had a mentor that she met during EOP summer and I saw how it was benefiting her early on. Mentors didn’t have to be these highly specialized or trained individuals. Often they were just someone who may or may not have a similar major to you, and has experienced most of what you are about to embark on in your college journey. I did not know how to walk up to a senior or junior student and just request for them to be my mentor.
I was never exactly shy; I just was a fresh 17 years old when I started my college. I overcame this and I started speaking to the people that I would cross paths with. Over the years of being on campus, I was able to find people at different stages and different niches to mentor me. Through their guidance and mentorship I was able to access many different resources from the school that I didn’t even know were available to me. The most rewarding part of being mentored for me was feeling like I had a support system and a network of amazing people. Ironically it was through the guidance of a mentor that I found out about the Center for International Education and Global Strategy Peer-to-Peer Global Initiative. When I found out about this mentoring opportunity for me it was a no brainer.
BUDDY PROGRAM (Mentors Needed for Fall 22) | PEER-TO-PEER GLOBAL INITIATIVE
What is and continues to be important to me is my ability to give back to others. I reached out to the program director and started training with other students. Training was very fun and educational. We got to play around with different scenarios and challenge some biases we may not have even known we held. Training allowed me to think critically and understand more of what goes on with the other side of the mentor mentee relationship. Although the training and the mentorship was remote, because we were mentoring international students, the connections that were made felt very real! I received a lot of guidance in support while mentoring from the program coordinators, In a way, they served as mentors to me. A big takeaway is that through every stage in life, it is important to stay a mentor and a mentee to people that you come across. You never know what you can learn from someone and similarly you never know what valuable information you can teach someone. I am very happy that my journey was able to come full circle for me.
Stay tuned for more posts in Marielle’s series about becoming a mentor!
PLEASE NOTE: THE VIEWS OF OUR STUDENT BLOGGERS DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE UALBANY ACADEMIC SUPPORT CENTER OR THE CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND GLOBAL STRATEGY.
THESE ARE THEIR STORIES – THEIR VOICES.
- Become a buddy to a new international student.
- Find out more about mentoring students before they arrive.
- UAlbany International Student and Scholar Services
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