First Year Seminars are essentially courses to help first year students find their WHY.
The FYS fills a needed gap to help students transition to campus life. During orientation students take tours, learn a little about campus life and academic offerings, but navigating campus is more than just physically finding buildings. It’s figuring out your major. It’s finding friends, study buddies, and enjoying all the special things campus has to offer students beyond the classroom. COH 299X helps student find athletics, late night activities, student organizations, and volunteer opportunities. The instructors are all throughout campus, not just in the College of Health, but we have Mrs. Lisa Beck, Associate Lecturer of Health Science, teaching three sections this semester. There is some form and format to follow for these courses to be consistent across campus, but Beck queried her students to find out what they want out of the course, and concerns they have. This helps her work with her peer mentors to tailor the course for benefit of the students.
Quotes from Our Majors about their hopes for COH 299X:
“ I want to learn helpful resources and just have a judgment free zone to go to; Make new friends and learn new things about the COH and/or campus”
“I hope it helps me to get to know some more people on campus and learn more about campus itself.”
“I hope to build good habits and a solid foundation for my education.”
“I hope to gain more knowledge than I already think I know and create a bond with my instructor.”
“I hope to obtain valuable resources, and a professional relationship with my instructor to where if I am ever struggling, I can communicate with my professor.”
The classes are packed with valuable lessons, to orient students to campus, and meet in places like the Multicultural Center, Bracken Library, and the Learning Center to foster connections with mentors in those areas who students can ask for help if they need it. They also have tons of guest speakers, from the Counseling Center, Housing and Residence Life, and Student Services. The class peer mentors assist in creating lessons to help new students find success and belonging on campus. The college of Health is very proud of our majors who have stepped up to be peer mentors for the FYS program and help new students succeed on campus.
Get to know Peer Mentors: Tosin Aluko, Grace Cavanaugh and Evan Hendrickson.
Tosin Aluko, is a Nursing major from Fishers, Indiana and choose Ball State because not many peers were attending and she wanted to be in a new environment. Her future goals are to be a pediatric nurse. She chose to be a peer mentor, “because the first year of college can be tough for some students, so I want to help and guide them in the right direction. I like to offer people a sense of direction & guidance through their journeys. So, I am glad that I can work with students on how to navigate their first year.”
Being a peer mentor can be challenging, but very fun and rewarding and Tosin said, by far, “The most fun part about working with first-year students is that I get to teach different topics every week for class. I talk to students about specific things that work around campus. Overall, it is great mentoring them, and directing them in a successful path.” Tosin’s photo was taken at Hot-box Pizza in the Village area of campus, being one of her favorite spots to hang-out.
Grace Cavanagh is a senior Pre-Audiology and Spanish major, with minors in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology, from Westfield, Indiana. She chose Ball State because campus felt the most comfortable to her after taking a tour in high school. She hopes to become an audiologist and work in a clinic or hospital setting with both Spanish and English-speaking patients. She choose to be a peer mentor because, “It was something I wished I had during my first year at Ball State University. My first year was a challenge to get acclimated and comfortable in the new environment. If I had someone like a peer mentor my first year, my transition would have been smoother and I would have enjoyed my first-year experience more.” Grace’s photo was taken in the Quad, which is an area she enjoys in the fall, and often takes walks there to de-stress between classes.
Evan Hendrickson is a junior Social Work Major from South Bend, Indiana. He chose Ball State because, “It’s the perfect distance away from home. I also wanted to go somewhere with diverse people and thought. I come from a Catholic school education, which was nice, but it’s lacking somewhat when it comes to different perspectives. Thankfully Ball State introduces me to those perspectives frequently.” Evan knows how diverse the Social Work field can be, and hopes to work in hospice care, or in an assisted living facility but is open to seeing where the wind takes him professionally. He chose to be a peer mentor because it would, strengthen transferrable skills he would need after college including working with mentees, organizing events and activities. He also has useful knowledge that could greatly help first year students. Evan is most challenged by his main objective to help create community with his students, who are very shy, but the most fun part of his position as a peer mentor is when students do open up to him, sharing their various perspectives. He has learned as much from his students, as they have learned from him. Evan’s photo was taken in the Rinard Orchard Greenhouse, which he fell in love with the first time he visited. It has beauty, quiet, and an enchanted vibe, making it the perfect place to de-stress after busy days.