Honors' helpers

FSU mentor program helps students adjust to college life

Freshmen students pose for a group photo with their new peer mentor.
Freshmen students pose for a group photo with their new peer mentor. Brock Copus | Demo 64

Being a freshman in college can be difficult and confusing due to all the new adjustments of life on campus.

Luckily, the freshmen in the Honors Program have someone to lean on: peer mentors.

Shaelyn Domansky, president of the peer mentor program and a junior majoring in English, has been in the program since her freshman spring semester.

“It’s for the incoming Honors freshmen,” said Domansky. “They get paired up with a sophomore or junior mentor, and they just kind of guide them through their first year at Ferris and help them acclimate to college life.”

Mentors keep track of their volunteer hours through OrgSync, attend weekly meetings, mandatory events, and continuously meet and spend time with their mentees, especially during the beginning of the fall semester.

“Freshman year, I was a mentee,” said Domansky. “It actually helped me a lot because I was in the dorms and my mentor lived right across the hall from me, so I could just go over there and ask her questions. I felt more comfortable asking her questions because she was closer to my age than a faculty member and because she knew me and understood me better.”

Nicole Outman, a psychology senior, is the vice president of the program.

“I really like being a mentor,” she said. “This is my second year mentoring, and it’s kind of fun because you get to influence them, but you’re also teaching them tricks that you learned haphazardly along the way to save them the trouble.”

Jacob Stoops, a freshman in heavy equipment technologies, has been a mentee of Outman’s during his first weeks at Ferris.

“We’ve gone tubing down the Muskegon River, played cards, met for Founders’ Day, and then did Honors Fun Day,” said Stoops. “It’s been pretty good so far. Nicole showed us where all of our classes were before the first day, and around Big Rapids a little bit so we know where there’s stuff to do, and it’s opened up a friend circle with people in Honors and in our college.”

Keegan Murphy, a senior in information security and intelligence, is currently a mentor with a group of seven mentees.

“The mentees and I mainly try to catch lunch together if we can,” said Murphy. “I try to meet as a group as much as possible. Also, I try to connect my mentees with some of the resources on campus such as FLITE and CLACS. The Honors Days of Service and Learning is another event I plan on attending with my mentees. The event consists of going to various organizations and helping out with one of their projects.”
Murphy said the fact that he was once a first-year student has given him perspective on how to be an effective mentor.

“I think this new atmosphere can really shock someone who has never had the array of choices you have to make on a daily basis,” Murphy said. “With me being a senior, I have had the opportunity to make many of the common mistakes new students do, but I can now impart that wisdom onto those who ask. My hope is that I can truly make college a defining moment in a younger person’s life.”