Advice from a Peer

As Maya Lucas looks towards the end of her undergraduate student career at the University of Missouri, her time as a mentor will also come to a close.

peer-mentoring
Mentors carve and decorate pumpkins with their mentees during a Fall themed bonding workshop.

Lucas is studying business administration in MU’s Trulaske School of Business. Additionally, for the last two years, she has mentored underclassmen through the Peer Undergraduate Mentoring Program (PUMP), which is a collaborative effort from the Center of Academic Success and Excellence (CASE), the Fellowships Office and the Honors College.

“I wanted to be a mentor from the jump,” Lucas says. “This college experience has been really rough for me. I’ve had to deal with a lot of things I didn’t see coming and if I can help someone navigate through that or prevent someone from having to struggle, I wanted to do that.”

Since being accepted into the program, Lucas has mentored two underclassmen, guiding them through the college experience. She has helped her mentees create plans and back-up plans, balance fitness with school and connect with people at Mizzou.

Lucas makes an effort to get to know her mentees beyond an academic level. The program offers socials and training events throughout the year, along with monthly reflections for mentors to discuss their progress with their mentee. Mentors meet with their mentees at least twice a month for activities that range from studying at the library to bowling.

CASE Student Service Coordinator Kavita Grewal oversees PUMP as an adviser. She serves as a guide, while also building a sense of community amongst them.

“What I enjoy most is being able to work with students from all across campus,” Grewal says. “These students hail from different involvement areas and academic schools, and bring their own unique experiences and perspectives to the table.”

Junior Samuel Warfield has switched career paths and majors three times since his freshman year at MU. He came to Mizzou as a biology/pre-med major, switched to journalism and is now majoring communications and mass media.

Warfield cites his indecisiveness about a major for making him a better mentor because he is able to connect with students in different ways.

“It’s hard to balance being preachy and being a friend,” Warfield says. “Sometimes people don’t need to be told what to do, they just need someone to listen. I feel like I can mentor anyone because I have knowledge of different fields, and if I can’t tell them something, I know someone who can.”

Through his involvement with the program, Warfield has learned the importance of transparency and patience. He has also found it rewarding to watch his mentees grow throughout the year. A proud moment for him was when one of his mentees was accepted into the MU nursing program as a sophomore.

“I feel that it is important for students to be mentored because I believe that success cannot be achieved alone,” Grewal says. “My hope is that through this program, students will develop a relationship with someone who can help tap their potential. Through peer mentoring, students can learn from one another, gain support in overcoming challenges, receive guidance with their academic and professional goals, and much more.”

One mentee in the PUMP program says the experience helped immensely.

“Before PUMP, I was unsure of my goals and how to get involved, and Mizzou did not feel like home,” the mentee wrote in an anonymous survey. “Now, I have become much more confident in exploring different groups and learning about myself. “