Welcome to Peer Support News.

It’s already been a month and semester one is well underway with over 1,000 volunteers busy supporting students through the Peer Mentoring and Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) schemes. Thank you to all our amazing volunteers!

Looking Back

We have had our first month of Academic PAL which has kicked off with flying numbers. 62 leaders have been working hard to deliver PAL sessions for 14 schemes across the 4 faculties. We’ve had over 423 students attend at least one session. 

FL PAL training was a success and weekly sessions started in Week 4 for 10 different languages. This year we have launched 2 new languages: Russian and Japanese. Sessions are open to all students so check out the timetable for more information.

Placement Peer Mentor Training has been a huge success with over 100 final year students trained. They have already started to support 1st and 2nd years from the different faculties, who are preparing for placement to answer their questions about the placement process and share different experiences on placement. This has been arranged through our Placement Networking Events, which has seen numerous students attend looking for a peer mentor to help them throughout the year. Brilliant!

The Student Trainer peer-led workshops launched in Week 3 in line with ‘Be Well’ Week with a good start. As part of the Employability and Skills Week and the Careers & Placements fair, Student Trainer sessions have been a huge success with their sessions on Make Your Online Profile Work for You, Ace Your Interview and Finding Your Voice – a Guide to Public Speaking.  For more Skills Training workshops, sign up today on our website.

Email peersupport@bath.ac.uk if you have a success story you would like us to share with the peer support community. Remember if you are running a peer mentoring event or PAL session, take some photos or video and send them on to us. We would love to share these too.

Spotlight

Laura is an undergraduate Psychology student in her second year. Not only is she a PAL Leader, she is also a Placement Peer Mentor.  She shares her experiences and thoughts on the placement peer mentoring process.

How would you describe a Peer Support Placement Networking Event to someone who has never been before?

The placement networking event provides an opportunity for first and second year students seeking placements to talk to final year students who have just returned from theirs. They get the chance to ask questions that their placement officer wouldn’t necessarily have the answer to. They might even find a final year student who’s done the placement they want to apply for and get their advice on the application process.

Applying to placements can be stressful and I think it helps to talk to someone who’s been through it all before. It’s also nice for the mentor because you get to know the students and hear what they’re interested in. At the end of the event, every student is invited to request a placement peer mentor of their preference or be assigned one where appropriate.

What made you decide to get involved with the Placement Peer Mentoring scheme?

When you’re applying to placements you have to learn so many new skills, like how to write a cover letter and how to perform in an interview. I wanted to join the scheme so I could support people through that learning process. When I was in my second year, I found it hard to balance my university work and applying for placements, so I hope that as a peer mentor I can make that balance feel a bit easier for my mentees.

What has been the most positive aspect of being a Placement Peer Mentor?

My favourite thing about being a placement peer mentor is when you talk to someone about the worries they’re having with applying for placements and they come away from that conversation feeling more positive about it.  

Why would you encourage others to get involved with the Placement Peer Mentoring scheme?

It’s great to get to know more of the students on your course and it’s nice to feel like your experiences on placement are useful to them. If you enjoy spending time with people and want to help others, I would definitely recommend becoming a placement peer mentor.

Looking Forward

Some of our PAL leaders will be attending the annual PASS/PAL Leader Conference which is being hosted by Loughborough University. The theme of the conference this year is Finding the Pathways to Success. We will let you know how they got on next month.

If you are a peer mentor, we hope you are checking in regularly with your mentees. Keep an eye out for any events being hosted by your department and lead peer mentors to catch up face-to-face.

As peer support volunteers, a reminder that you are able to use the Student Leader Hub to do your work and meet up to plan events, activities and PAL sessions. Please note - there are no longer any computers in the hub to use. The Student Leader Hub is on the 2nd Floor of the Virgil Building, Manvers Street in the centre of Bath. It is open until 10pm. You just need your library card to swipe in.

There is also a bookable, 16-seat meeting room and SU Flo’s café downstairs if you wanted somewhere different to meet you mentees.

Volunteer of the Month

Ivan and Emilie, who are Lead Peer Mentors in Politics, have been nominated as the first Volunteers of the Month for this year. Ivan and Emilie have not only helped to organise a very successful Welcome Event for their department, but have also been attentive in ensuring students joining the course after Fresher’s also received a mentor to help them as they started their studies.

Each month we are going to name a Peer Support volunteer or group of volunteers who have gone above and beyond, deserving some extra recognition for their efforts!

If you would like to nominate a volunteer or group of volunteers for our first award, you can do so by emailing peersupport@bath.ac.uk before 25 November stating your nominee(s) and why you think they deserve recognition.

Have a great November!