“Connecting with your Student Success Center Peer Mentor and/or RA is essential! They are there for any problems or questions you may have, and are an excellent resource for getting involved with campus.” – Brett Hanson, Sophomore.
Connect with your Peer Mentor or Resident Assistant UWM wants you to be connected.
That’s why the University hires and trains some top notch student leaders as Peer Mentors (in the Student Success Center) and Resident Assistants (in University Housing). For students living in the Neighborhood adjacent to campus, the Neighborhood Housing Office also has COAST Leaders to assist with transition to college life.
Here are top five suggestions for utilizing these folks!
1. Your own personal GPS! Navigating UWM’s really compact and dense campus buildings can be challenging. Your Peer Mentor or Resident Assistant are going to have at least a year of experience doing this and can provide some much needed advice on how to find everything from a good snack to that hidden lab space in the EMS building.
2. Relationships matter. Transition to college can be hard. Mostly, it’s about navigating your old relationships (like your hometown honey, friends, and parents) as well as your new friends from college. Sometimes, it’s cool just to have someone to listen to what’s going on or just process aloud. Your Resident Assistant (and Peer Mentor) is a trained ear to listen to what’s going on. They know sometimes you are looking for a solution to a problem and other times just want a neutral third party to listen.
3. Setting the bar high! Most people need external motivation to help them reach a goal. Use your Peer Mentor or Resident Assistant as coach toward your GPA or involvement goal. Maybe you want to study 2 hours per day or attend one club or organization meeting per month. Whatever your goal, contact your RA to have them record it, and follow up with you to keep you motivated!
4. Connections. Your Resident Assistant and Peer Mentor figured out a network when they arrived at college. Seek out one of these staff members to help you get connected to a network you are looking for. Looking for a religious or spiritual connection, there are tons of organizations on our campus. Looking for a group for your hobby or an intramural team that plays your sport, ask your Resident Assistant or Peer Mentor. These folks can figure out if a group exists on campus, or maybe someone else on your floor or in your building has a similar interest.
5. Events. Speaking of connections, these staff members will host or organize several events throughout the semester to give you and fellow students an opportunity to interact, get to know one another, and maybe even learn something about themselves or the university. Residential students who attend at least one event per semester report feeling a great sense of connection of the community, so we recommend you come out and get to know some new folks. Your Resident Assistant will regularly create flyers before these events, and your Peer Mentor regularly emails out a newsletter with events they are hosting as well as other cool university-sponsored events.