Although its almost February I am about to reflect on the October-December time as being an Art History mentor (I have no idea where the time has gone!)
The first term as an Art-History Buddy has gone and I think it went well! I have two first-year students paired up with me – and I’ve seen them both twice (once together, and once separately). The first session we did was a ‘how to use the library’ type session. As a first year I didn’t step into the library until November time (I don’t really know how I coped, but its true) – the big looming concrete of Hallward Library, along with the electronic barriers just didn’t look very inviting so I avoided it like the plague! In November though I started to think about deadlines, the dreaded deadlines, so thought it was about time to brace it! – I had the help of a keen-bean fellow first year and she told be the basics – of how to find a book and take it out – what a revelation! So with my first years I thought it would be key to get the hang of it early on! We met up outside and went and found a computer first off. With so many students, including myself, having smart phones – we got the university email accounts set up for them both – it makes it effortless to check them if they’re in your pocket, and emails are key in terms of hearing from lecturers, or about admin department things, or for me about work I do through the university. After that I showed them the basics of moodle, intranet and how to find a book on the online category. We got book references for our own books and headed up to the Art History floor to put it into action! They both got the hang of it really quickly – so thats all good! Then I did a quick rundown of other, more complicated, bits of the library – but I won’t bore you with them because after all it is just a library!
The first meet up I had with them both was really great – I found having something to do was really useful as opposed to just talking about things. Having to think about and explain things which are now quite natural for me was really interesting, and I think they both found it useful! I left the session with a ‘let me know if anything I’ve said/done today was skimmed over too quickly and I’ll explain it again; and message me if there’s any quick questions you have been now and the next meet up’ – I felt I had been helpful to them, so thats a big tick!
I then didn’t really hear anything from either of my buddies. I’ve met up with them both separately (as we weren’t able to find a time we could all three do) – but they’ve not really had any specifics to discuss – its more been an informal catch-up and chat to make sure all is ok!
For me I found them being very competent the hardest thing! I’ve been a mentor before (an e-mentor for students applying to university) and we have to contact our mentees at least every two weeks – even if they’re not replying. So my mindset towards the Art History buddying was feeling like I wasn’t doing enough in my role! But as I said they’re both very able, and good at working things out for themselves, or having the confidence to ask a suitable adult about it. The thing that I do know is that they know I’m here, and hopefully easy to talk to, about anything they may be dealing with. I’ve just set into motion a meet-up to discuss exam and essay feedback from Semester 1, and anything they may be worried about for the semester coming up – but knowing them I reckon they’ll be just fine!