On the 8th January 2019 we ran our second PALM session with one of our second year mentors leading proceedings. The first years had just completed their first term of study with us so it was a time for reflections and new starts.
When designing the session our second year mentor discussed with first year students what they would like to cover and come up with a session on Study Buddies. She wanted to share some of the ways in which she had found it useful to work with peers on academic work alongside gaining emotional support when times are stressful or challenging.
She designed the session to include:
- Discussions on how to work with peers offering tips and techniques she had picked up along the way;
- Engagement with a ‘Tree of Me’ task which had been set by tutors for a reflective session on one of the modules;
- and a burn box for student to write down anything from their first term of study which they would like to let go of.
We had just two students attend but considering the time of year and it being only the second day back after the Christmas break we thought this was a fair turnout. Those who attended were highly engaged, the low numbers gave the mentor an opportunity to work 1 to 1 with each attendee.
Interestingly all three students in attendance would be considered to be mature students who are returning to education following a break. This led to a powerful discussion around maturity as an undergraduate student being both a challenge and of benefit to individuals in their studies, students identified that confidence can be one of the biggest barriers they face when engaging in class and preparing for assignments. The student mentor led discussions which served to identify key strengths for both participants and offer practical methods to support study.
Despite the low numbers attending this session really offered our mentor the opportunity to showcase her skills; she led the session, facilitated meaningful discussion and responded to issues raised through offering supportive and practical ideas. The first year students had half an hour between the organised end of the PALM session and their next lesson, they chose to stay for this time and work with the mentor which speaks volumes.
Looking forward to our next session.
The poster for session 2 shared with first year students via the universities VLE.