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Mentoring new students

Queen’s has expanded a peer program that helps set up first-year students for success.

Graphic for the Q Success program

This year’s incoming students will face the unprecedented challenge of adjusting to university life during a pandemic. To help students through this transition, Queen’s has doubled the size of Q Success, a popular mentorship program for first-year students, and added new group activities. With more trained upper-year peer mentors than ever before, Queen’s is working to help new students succeed academically and form bonds within the tricolour community.

“The Class of 2024 will begin their Queen’s education under unusual circumstances, so we have expanded the Q Success program to connect them to one another and provide ongoing supports to promote their successful transition to university life. Our energetic team of upper-year mentors will help welcome the incoming class into the tremendous community at Queen’s, and help them adapt academically,” says Gabriela Ludusan, Coordinator, Peer Programs in the Student Experience Office.

All the mentors in Q Success receive holistic training that includes intercultural awareness, health and wellness, learning strategies, resources and referrals, and how to engage students online.

Throughout the academic year, mentors connect weekly with their first-year mentees, one-on-one. During these sessions, mentors share strategies for accessing campus resources, adopting effective study habits, and taking care of personal wellness.

In addition to these one-on-one sessions, students in Q Success can also take part in new community-building group activities. Each mentor will have three mentees, and, once a month, mentors will hold group meetings with all their mentees to have conversations, play games, or take part in other group activities. There will also be monthly activities for all participants in Q Success. These virtual gatherings will provide students with opportunities to get to know their peers from across Queen’s.

Interest in online events among first-year students to date has been exceeding online capacity, resulting in the scheduling of additional sessions of activities like Trivia Night.

Recruiting additional mentors

Before COVID-19 changed operations at Queen’s, the Student Experience Office had recruited 64 upper-year students to serve as Q Success mentors. After March, the office recruited 71 more, for a total of 135. There are also seven senior mentors, who are all upper-year students with significant leadership experience. These senior mentors will help support the work of the mentors and organize programs within Q Success, such as the monthly activities for all participants.

“When the pandemic began and we started recruiting additional mentors, we received an extraordinary amount of interest from current undergraduates. They told us they recognized that incoming students may need extra help adjusting under these unique circumstances, and they stepped up and showed that they’re eager to support their new peers,” says Ludusan. “We now have a large and enthusiastic group of mentors who are all committed to building a welcoming and inclusive space for connection, community, and success.”

Registration for Q Success is now open to all first-year Queen’s students. The program begins later this month and runs through to April 2021. Students can register any time during the year, but are encouraged to start this summer to get the most of out of the program.

To learn more and to register, visit the Q Success website.