“Hello! I am your mentor”, this is a greeting for freshmen from senior students. A mentoring project aimed at those who enter their dream university for the first time has been implemented for three years already at I. Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University. The purpose of this project, which is initiated by the Student Parliament and the Center for Educational Work and Cultural Development of TNMU, is to help freshmen adapt easily and quickly to student life, effectively manage their time, join in in university and international programs.
Once, a famous politician and human rights defender, the President of South Africa Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Mentoring is also an educational process, when a more experienced and knowledgeable person shares knowledge and experience, helps to learn and develop. At present, mentoring is guidance combined with counseling, coaching and even psychological support. At some moments of life, a family member, more experienced friends, teachers, colleagues, and sometimes even strangers is a mentor.
At TNMU, a mentor is a senior student, who volunteers to work with an academic group of freshmen, helping them to self-organize before they even begin their studies. They explain how the university is organized, the rules of living in a dormitory, the university projects and programs, participation in student government and research groups. At the beginning of each academic year, talented students are selected for the university Creative Team, the theater studio “Art Drama”, volunteer team, elections to the Student Parliament of TNMU, etc. Mentors inform the freshmen about these events in advance, help them be involved and present their talent the best way or choose a public activity they prefer.
The mentors spend a lot of time with the first-year students. They serve as a personal example for younger colleagues and are the true bearers of the values of raising physicians. The most important task for them is to motivate students to constant professional development as well as self-development. Our mentors are familiar with team-working, have experience in community, cultural and volunteer projects, have strong communication skills, strive for self-development, keep a healthy lifestyle and are flexible to changes.
TNMU mentors are rather advisers or supporters. They are like older sisters and brothers who help students of Ternopil Medical University to develop personally and socially. The result of the mentor’s work is evaluated, first of all, by the level of positive changes in the students’ development. That is why mentors spend a lot of time directly with students. They consolidate communication with all members of the academic group, help freshmen to set goals and priorities for the study. They are able to better understand emotional and psychological state of the student and prevent crises.
The mentoring program is also designed to establish a dialogue between the Dean’s Office, university management, tutors, as well as to adapt to life in Ternopil.
Mentors are not just successful students, but those who have succeeded in various research, creative, volunteer and other projects at the university, city, country. The main criteria for choosing mentors are their life values, motives, reputation of the individual as a mentor.
TNMU spokeswoman Yanina Chaikivska
Photos by Mykola Vasylechko