It has been about 1 month since school has started, and it looks like I’ve eased back somewhat smoothly into my new schedule. I can’t believe it’s already been one semester since I became a peer mentor. I keep thinking that I was a first-year research rookie just yesterday.
As for my experience as a peer mentor last semester, I think everything went pretty well. I was able to organize my group and facilitate meetings to ensure that everyone was getting their requirements completed. Being a peer mentor is definitely a far different experience than just being a mentee was. I realize the importance of having a good peer mentor around to help facilitate meetings and updates with the group. As a peer mentor, I have to focus on the status of every individual in addition to making sure my research progresses smoothly. It takes more effort to be a peer mentor in research rookies this year, but I am thankful for the amazing group I’ve been assigned to. Ryan, Nickie, Cindy, and Fahad are all wonderful mentees who have given me no trouble at all and are very cooperative in communicating with me.
I believe that it is because I am a peer mentor this year that I am able to exhibit my organizational and communication skills through my emails and coordination with my mentees. However, my number one weakness continues to be public speaking. I will acknowledge that my public speaking skills have significantly improved from when I first came to NIU. Programs like Research Rookies and the McKearn Fellowship have helped to ease me out of my closed shell. I am now less afraid to stand up and give a presentation, but I still need to work on the flow of my speaking to prevent stuttering or hesitation.
Seeing as I only held regular research update meetings, I am trying to plan more fun activities to do with my group. This way we don’t need to use research as an excuse to just hang out with each other as friends. I will always be thankful to the Research Rookies Program for connecting me to my four mentees.