A vital part of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s #FreshFest16 is helping you settle into your new life at De Montfort University (DMU). And that’s exactly what MyUniPal is here to do.
We’ve been busy holding events to settle some of those first-year nerves – and those of parents, too – plus training students to help DMU’s newest intake.
MyUniPal is DSU’s peer-mentoring scheme which sees first-year students paired with mentors who have done it all before.
Lauren Hemsley, a second-year Criminology with Psychology student, was one of a number of current students trained as a MyUniPal mentor during #FreshFest16.
She said: “[This] is a great way to help people. I like helping people and I know how tough it is, so if you can share your experiences with someone it can be a real help.
“I struggled and I had anxiety when I first came to university so if I can share my wisdom and help someone else feel good that’s what it’s all about. MyUniPal definitely needs shouting out about more because it is an amazing scheme.”
MyUniPal's speed buddying event during #FreshFest16 saw students meet and chat with other like-minded individuals.
Ellie Scott, a second-year Nursing student, added: “I am dyslexic and autistic and I know what it can be like to be on the side, and I know what it is like to need support.
“Having someone who is a similar age, or from a similar place or with similar interests to you could help you get to the root of the problem.”
Would-be ‘mentees’ are matched with mentors by whichever characteristic they feel is most important when signing up to the scheme, whether it be age, faculty or something else.
The initiative was also opened up at an event for parents during #FreshFest16.
Mike Palmer, Student Projects Coordinator at DSU, said: “That event gave a lot of parents the opportunity to ensure any questions they may not have had answered before. It gave them a platform to rectify any last minute concerns.
“A lot of them came with specific questions in mind which, again, a second- or third-year student could help with. It just gave them the chance to settle any last minute nerves.”
The week also saw a speed-buddying event for first-year students to attend and speak to like-minded students.
“The speed buddying event was advertised at people who had moved in already and we found that the people who came were exactly that,” Mike continued. “It was a platform for them to talk to fellow students.
“There were quite a lot of first-year students in the room all speaking to one another and it was a great opportunity to meet fellow students. All of our Freshers Reps were ace in helping people talk to one another.
“We also had a couple of matches with people going forwards; it was really nice to see that MyUniPal is helping real students.”
Keira Rounsley, VP Welfare and Community at DSU, said: “MyUniPal is a fantastic scheme for students to get involved with and this has been our best year yet.
“I would encourage any students who are feeling anxious about life at university to get involved because it could be the difference between making your time here three years to remember.”
You can find out more about MyUniPal on their page here.
A total of 47 DMU student mentors have been trained so far this year by DSU.