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Blog

Peer support from the start

We know that support throughout your studies – be it from friends, family or our Student Advisors – is invaluable. Our Mentor Program is an additional form of peer support designed to help you succeed. We caught up with mentee Tanya and her mentor Jacquie, both Bachelor of Media and Communication students, to hear about their experience of the program.

Tanya lives with her partner and two cats, Sapphire and Moonlight, in Victoria. She works in Customer Services for a pet insurance company and enrolled with Swinburne Online to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist.

Why did you decide to request a mentor?

I have tried several online courses and never followed through and I thought a mentor might help me, as I will have the assistance on hand when needed. I interacted with Jacquie via phone calls, messages, emails and social media.

What have you found most helpful about the program?

When I didn’t understand a question on an assignment or a topic within a module, Jacquie has helped me to break it down so that I better understood what was being asked of me. The bonus of the mentor program; I have now gained a friend!

Has the experience been what you expected?

It was so much more than what I expected; the support and encouragement I received from Jacquie was overwhelming and fantastic. If it wasn’t for her, I do not believe I would have completed my third assignment.

Why would you recommend the program? 

I would recommend the program as it gives students confidence that if they are stuck, they have someone to call who will understand what they are saying and explain the answer to their question in basic and simple terms. It is a fantastic service and if it helped me with this course, it will help anyone.

Jacquie lives in Victoria where she’s worked in the finance and hospitality sectors. When not delivering training or organising an event, she can be found at an AFL game with her son, cheering on the Mighty Hawks. Having been a mentee herself before becoming a mentor, she was keen to help someone else start their study journey.

Why did you get involved in the mentor program?

As a mature-age student who hadn’t studied for a long period of time or online, I was really nervous. Having a mentor gave me somebody who had been through similar experiences and understood how I was feeling-just having someone say you’re on the right track, or if I was off track, gently steering me back in the right direction. This allowed me to feel secure and helped me gain my confidence. I wanted to give back having gained so much from the program.

What are the most frequent challenges mentees encounter? 

Time management and establishing work, life and study balance. I always let them know about the Student Coaches and their time management program, and the weekly study planners available through the Student Portal.

What have you learnt from the experience?

I have learnt by listening and being empathetic, you can uncover the problem or difficulty and then really help a fellow student change their thought pattern from, “I can’t do this” to “If I break it down into manageable chunks, I’ve got this!”

What has been your biggest challenge as a mentor?

My biggest challenge is when you have a mentee whose situation has changed, be it employment, health or even a relationship breakdown, and studying is no longer the right thing for them. Often they feel like they are failures and it can be really hard to make them realise that it is OK, that when their life returns to normal or they adjust to a new normal, they can give online study another go. The opportunity to learn will still be there, as will the Mentor Program.

What has been your proudest moment as a mentor?

My proudest moment was receiving a call at the end of a mentoring relationship thanking me and telling me they wouldn’t have got through their first subjects without my support. That’s what it’s all about; supporting a fellow student as they embark on their learning journey.

Find out more about how our Mentor Program provides tailored support from the start of your studies.