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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Peer Mentors reflect on growth for National Mentoring Month

Psychology+junior+and+peer+mentor+Aysia+Banks+offers+assistance+to+fellow+students+Sunday%2C+Jan.+17%2C+2024%2C+outside+Commons+Dining+Hall.
Kobe Arriaga
Psychology junior and peer mentor Aysia Banks offers assistance to fellow students Sunday, Jan. 17, 2024, outside Commons Dining Hall.

Editor’s note: The University Star incorrectly spelled Lucas Garcia’s name in the print edition of this story published on Tuesday; Jan 23, 2024. The correct name is reflected in the online version of this story.

First-Year Peer Mentors are celebrating National Mentoring Month this January with “Thank Your Mentor Day” on Jan. 25. The day serves as an opportunity for students to thank any professional or personal mentor they have had.

Peer mentors establish strong connections with first-year students to maintain freshmen retention and develop a strong sense of community at Texas State. They help students navigate their first year and serve as a guide to understanding new chapters in a freshman’s life as they come from high school.

Five students reflected on how they became peer mentors, how they have spent time understanding what the job does for first-year students and discovering what it means to them. Each of them joined in the fall of 2022 and have since become lead peer mentors who act as mentors to other mentors.

Peer mentor and applied sociology junior Annalisa Gonzales outside the peer mentoring office, Sunday, January 17, 2024, in Commons Dining Hall. (Kobe Arriaga)

Annalisa Gonzales

Annalisa Gonzales, an applied sociology junior, felt lost when she first came to college. When she first met with her peer mentor, they told her she could be good at mentoring too. The opportunity to help people excited her for the rest of the semester; it was all she could think about. Gonzales said becoming a peer mentor changed her life.

“I met my best friends here,” Gonzales said. “I’ve rekindled friendships through this program, I’ve learned what I want my future career to be because of this program and I’ve had so many different opportunities to rediscover myself and be able to help people in a special capacity that I love.”

Peer mentor and computer science senior Lucas Garcia outside the peer mentoring office, Sunday, January 17, 2024, in Commons Dining Hall. (Kobe Arriaga)

Lucas Garcia

Coming out of high school, Lucas Garcia, a computer science senior, still had a lot of friends in high school. He helped them through the college registration process by figuring out important dates and getting their documents together. One day, he saw an Instagram post about peer mentoring and realized it was similar to what he had done over the summer.

“[My peer mentoring was] just doing it throughout the semester and continuing from where I left off once [my friends] got into college,” Garcia said. “When I saw that I could continue to do that and do it in a more organized fashion, I applied to be a peer mentor.”

Peer mentor and psychology junior Maya Rojo outside the peer mentoring office, Sunday, January 17, 2024, in Commons Dining Hall. (Kobe Arriaga)

Maya Rojo

Maya Rojo, a psychology junior, started mentoring because of her peer mentor, who helped her immensely during her first year in college. When she searched for on-campus jobs, her mentor recommended peer mentoring as an excellent opportunity to build her skill set. Starting as an introverted person, Rojo built up her public speaking, leadership skills and confidence.

“I was grateful for her when she introduced me to this job,” Rojo said. “Throughout my time here, I have been able to find great friends in this job and build a skill set. I really appreciate it.”

Peer mentor and psychology junior Aysia Banks outside the peer mentoring office, Sunday, January 17, 2024, in Commons Dining Hall. (Kobe Arriaga)

Aysia Banks

Peer mentoring interested Aysia Banks, a psychology junior, because she liked to help people, and she also got to see different people grow and realize their capabilities. Being with incoming freshman in their first year, she saw them find themselves within the campus community. Mentoring also allowed Banks to share her experience with others while improving her communication and time management.

“When it comes to my experience in the job, I would say it has helped me grow so much as a person,” Banks said. “Overall, it’s been a big milestone in my life.”

Peer mentor and psychology junior MJ Reyes outside the peer mentoring office, Sunday, January 17, 2024, in Commons Dining Hall. (Kobe Arriaga)

MJ Reyes

To MJ Reyes, a psychology junior, peer mentoring was a different job than she had before. She saw mentoring as a way to grow her communication and public speaking skills. Even though talking to strangers or holding a conversation intimidated her, she loved talking to people and gaining new perspectives from them.

“As far as my journey in the program, I think that I’ve grown a lot, and I’m a lot more confident and comfortable,” Reyes said. “[Learning from those different perspectives] helps you understand the different people that walk Texas State.”

To learn more about First-Year Peer Mentoring and what it offers to students, visit https://mentoring.studentsuccess.txst.edu/.

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