Peer Mentoring: “Achieving the best together”

Transitioning to college for any student can be a bit challenging and hard to handle at first, especially when you are new and intimidated by the system, but Skyline College has created a new program that helps students with transitions and the college life overall.

Retention specialist, Raymond Gutierrez from Skyline College, has helped create a program called Peer Mentoring to help students understand the system and know the many resources that this campus has to offer, while also helping them learn new skills and meet people on campus.

“Many students don’t know the foundations of checking with emails and professors,” said Gutierrez about one of the things that new students have a hard time with.

College is a choice for many students, and many professors know and want to help out. Communication between students and professors is key in college to understand and have a successful experience.

“[The program] is meant to enhance and get the most of their education,” said Skyline student Christian Shelley who has seen the benefits of this program as a peer mentor himself.

During an interview, he shared the many things they do to help new students with the challenges that college comes with. They do workshops about time management and how to de-stress for students as well as meeting with students to check in with them about school and help them set goals.

Shelley said, “We [peer mentors] know everyone’s struggles, we know what they are going through.”

Teachers are not peer mentors in this program. It’s only students that have been in college for at least one full academic year. This allows the students to be more comfortable with the mentors and feel understood.

Peer mentors also help students find the resources that Skyline has to offer, and not just by pointing their finger on a map. They personally take the student to the resources and explain what it is that the resource has. Gutierrez talked about how this also allows the students to learn about their school and meet new people.

This program is brand new to Skyline College. Gutierrez said that this program officially started in the spring semester of 2018 with only seven mentors. They have grown over the course of these few months and all with a good purpose.

A Skyline student and mentee of the program, Brandon Wong, said that the program has been a “good learning experience, to get to know the school”. He also added that it’s “extremely helpful for someone who is new to Skyline and wants to achieve goals”.

Wong is just starting his first year in college and the program has helped him with résumés and setting goals during his one-on-one sessions with his mentor.

“Peer mentoring is so beneficial, they help you out with any learning strategies and help you out with coping with college life and how to manage it with their own personal experience,” said Skyline student Matthew-Vincent Seludo who has been at Skyline for three years and benefits from the program’s services.

Seludo also said that the mentors are approachable and give great advice for him since he has a hard time with math and time management. They helped him organize himself with an agenda and a to-do list.

Gutierrez also emphasized that this program is simply “here to provide positive space” for everyone. There are mentors with different specialties: time management, organization, etc. There are students that are already in a four-year university and can help any student at Skyline college if they have questions.

A student can become a mentor for next semester, with applications opening up this month. All that is needed is a minimum of one year at a community college and to be enrolled in 6 units. Gutierrez’s office is Building 5 Room 5-110 for more information.

This program is for everyone; college is hard no matter the age of the student or the years one has been in college.