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Gaurang on MATES
Meet Gaurang, one of our MATES participants. Here's his experience as part of the program as a new student finding his way.
Starting Uni can be a daunting experience with the fear of not making friends, not adapting to the environment and not being able to cope with the different assessments. I was going through a similar chain of thoughts when I was about to start my first Semester in Spring 2013. I had no clue what was going on. In the first week of Uni, I came across the MATES program. MATES stood for Mentoring and Transition Equals Success.
We had a mentor (who) would guide us through the first few weeks of Uni to help us with our queries and difficulties. My mentor Elie and I decided to meet up on Wednesdays at the Boilerhouse - my first hangout spot at University. The meetings surely increased my knowledge of the menu! We discussed everything from the things taught in the lectures to the things we did in the tutorials. My mentor was a student studying in a similar course as mine, doing certain similar units, who had gone through similar difficulties and emerged victorious. So instead of chatting with someone who would give you professional tips and tasks, you are actually conversing with a friend.
The meetings helped me plan my activities and maintain a diary with all the assessment deadlines so that I didn't fall behind on assessments. Though it's not an academic program, the mentor can help you with obtaining resources for your assignments from various sources such as the Library website.
The meetings increased my confidence and within three weeks at Uni, I found the place completely familiar. By week 4, I had made a number of friends, joined a few clubs and even started hanging out more at Uni. At times, my mentor and I even used to check out the various Student Support Services Fairs or the Student Clubs Fairs.
Mentors can help you in the most difficult of times. I received loads of help regarding the Turnitin online assignment submission process and even the referencing system. The mentors can even you give you loads of information about the services available such as the Chaplaincy, Student Welfare Offices and even meetings with Counsellors. Even though the meeting process stops after week 8, you can continue your conversations online and can even sometimes catch up for coffee. Also, the program ends on a high note with the MATES celebration! This program can make you more than comfortable at Uni and set you on the right path. My mentor and I have become great buddies after the program and I gained so much from this program that I decided to give back to it by becoming a mentor in Autumn 2014 which was a different experience altogether. So, I highly recommend you to experience MATES to not only find a cool mentor but also to find awesome 'mates' !