Metro Learning Curve

Ryerson program uses upper-year mentors as guides


rob giardino

Ryerson Students Ed Wong and Erin Schoon receive counsel from Academic Links’ Rachel Barsky, second from left, and Robyn Wiskew, right.

It’s a trap into which many first-year university students fall: away from home, usually for the first time, they give into the temptations of residence life and their grades suffer.

So this fall, Ryerson University has launched the Academic Link program to help frosh gain their footing more easily. The program allows first-year students living in residence to get educational support from upper-year undergraduates in the same faculty, without having to leave the dormitory.

“Direction is so important for students especially at their age since most of them are 17 or 18 years old. I’m hoping to connect them properly early in their lives so that their goals are more attainable,” explains Melissa Mohammed, a fourth-year business management/marketing student, one of the upper-year mentors involved in the program.

Through this program about 14 upper-year students, trained in academic learning strategies, provide help to first-year students by organizing study sessions, assisting in exam preparation, or any other academic-related matter.

They will also hold office hours at the Pitman Hall residence to make themselves more accessible to first-years during the school year. “The goal of the program is to provide academic assistance to new residence students so they have a greater chance of achieving success at Ryerson,” says Glen Weppler, housing manager of Student Housing Services.

“This can come in a variety of forms, including facilitating the creation of study groups, connecting students to a tutor or learning strategist, organizing guest speaker opportunities, link students to resources on campus and much more.”

Weppler believes the benefits to new students include more opportunities to meet and interact with others in their program, as well as being able to learn from those who have already experienced being a first-year student at Ryerson.

This, he hopes, will allow a smoother transition from high school to university.

“I’m doing a program right now with another Academic Link (mentor),” says Mohammed, “where we’re going around to each of the floors, knocking on the doors and seeing if they’re studying or what they’re up to. That’s a way we connect with them.”

roommate rules

Having roommates during your post-secondary years can lead to life-long friendships, but also to disruptions that can get in the way of school.

Communicate: get to know each other first. Talk about your habits, likes, dislikes and pet peeves.

Rules: decide whether or not it’s OK to borrow each other’s clothes or have overnight guests.

Be flexible: it goes a long way. For example, if your roommate wants to study, go out to socialize.

Get headphones: keep your music quiet, and tune him/her out if necessary.

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