UW Graduate School

December 10, 2015

Thriving in Graduate School with Peer Mentoring

Throughout the past few months, Core Programs has sent out newsletters offering wellness, intellectual, and professional development strategies to help you thrive during—and beyond—graduate school. As part of our continued efforts to connect you with ideas and resources that support you in being your whole self, we dedicate this newsletter to the topic of peer mentorship.

Who is a graduate peer mentor? What do they do? Why is connecting with a peer mentor critical to your success? We looked toward the insights and wisdom of several experienced graduate student mentors by organizing an event called Thriving in Graduate School with Peer Mentoring in November.

Here is what they had to say:

  • A peer mentor draws from their authentic voice as an experienced graduate student to listen and connect with you on a human level.
  • A peer mentor opens a space for the mentee to drive the mentoring relationship in terms of frequency of meetings, what to talk and not talk about, and any goal setting.
  • A peer mentor does not try to be your best friend or counselor and encourages you to grow a mentoring and support team of faculty, colleagues, and when needed and appropriate, licensed mental health care professionals.
  • A peer mentor is not a problem solver, yet will reflect back to you potential options and refer you to campus and community resources.
  • A peer mentor has “gone through it too” and you do not need to put on your best face when seeking peer support.
  • A peer mentor acknowledges that while all grads and professional students go through imposter syndrome, it is experienced differently based on race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability.
  • A peer mentor shares wisdom on cultivating healthy norms (validating small and big milestones) versus unhealthy norms (“the comparison game”) in graduate school.
  • A peer mentor appreciates and learns from the knowledge and experiences of their mentees.

Core Programs extends a warm thank you to the following grad students who participated in the Thriving in Graduate School with Peer Mentoring event, held on November 12, 2015.

Julie Cass, Physics Peer Mentoring Program
Federico Fabbri, Grads Guiding Grads (G3)
Sarah Vorpahl, Women in Chemical Sciences
Ben Wiselogle, Husky United Military Veterans (HUMV)