When she first started meeting freshman Weyman Slaten for mentoring sessions, OCCC Student Mentor Derek Scarcella said she was having a hard time finding motivation to get her own school work done.
However, she said, as they continued their sessions, she found herself inspired by the very person she was meant to encourage.
“I just thought ‘If Weyman’s got the guts to be here, then I do too,’” Scarcella said.
Scarcella is one of 10 trained mentors who meet with other students as part of OCCC’s Student2Student mentor program.
Slaten said, thus far, the program has been very helpful and he foresees asking for even more assistance in the weeks to come.
“If it hadn’t been for Derek I would not know how to do a lot of electronic things,” he said.
“It’s been very beneficial. … I have lots more questions.
“As I get to a different roadblock I know where to go, I know who to ask.”
Mentor Kylee Lewis said mentors help students with lots of things, including time management.
“Study habits, getting connected with resources on campus, if they have trouble with social skills and getting integrated on campus, we can help with that,” she said.
Lewis said mentoring is very rewarding because she gets to help a student complete the semester.
She said asking another student for help is easier than asking a faculty member for help.
“Meeting with a peer is less intimidating because we’re on the same level,” she said.
Student Life Coordinator Travis Ruddle said there are currently about 50 student mentees and he anticipates there being even more in the future.
With about five mentees to each mentor, Ruddle said, he does not worry about the mentors being too overloaded.
“It will balance out throughout the semester,” he said.
“Some will only come once, others will need counseling throughout the whole semester.”
Stephen Morrow, Service and Engagement Faculty Liaison, said after mentoring other students for 30 hours or more, mentors are eligible to receive a six-credit-hour tuition fee waiver for the following semester.
“We have a mentor lab space where students may drop in to maybe meet with a mentor or request a mentor,” Morrow said.
“From my perspective as a faculty member, I just think it’s magic when our mentors sit down with another student,” Morrow said.
“It really can be life-changing for both of them.”
To request a mentor, visit occc.edu/sl . For more information, contact Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.