Meet Science Peer Mentor Zoe Borghouts

Zoe Borghouts is one of our amazing 2nd year Bachelor of Science students who is offering her time to mentor commencing students in 2019. Recently, Zoe took some time to speak to us about her experience of transitioning to uni back in 2018!

What year are you in the Bachelor of Science and what are you studying?

I am about to begin my second year in the BSc and I am planning on majoring in Immunology or Genetics.

Why did you decide to study at Melbourne University?

I decided to study at Melbourne University because I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished High School. I liked the idea of the Melbourne Model because it meant that I would be able to take classes for everything that I was interested in and thus could easily narrow down what I wanted to specialise in.

How was your transition to university? Did you find anything particularly difficult?

My transition to university was mixed. I naturally love meeting people and putting myself out there and I loved learning things that I’m passionate about in a new and exciting environment.

However, being thrown into such a huge place that was so different to anything I was used to and knowing no one was extremely overwhelming. I really struggled with that aspect of transitioning into university and didn’t know where to go or how to prioritise my time. Balancing this with making friends was extremely difficult.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice what would that be?

I would tell ‘First year me’ to just own it. I think I spent so much time worrying about how people saw me or how I was presenting myself to others that I didn’t actually enjoy myself in the first half of the year. I got caught up in things that didn’t represent who I was.

In the end this was a good thing because it meant that at the end of the year I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted, but if I had just started the year with the mentality of owning myself and going with my gut, I would have avoided a lot of stress and confusion.

Do you wish you’d signed up to a mentoring program when you started at Uni? Why?

Yes, I think just having someone that I could trust that had experience at University and knew what they were doing would have made the transition so much easier, because then I would have had some guidance and comfort when I needed it.

This program would have been amazing for me, especially in this kind of environment in First year where everyone is kind of lost and trying to find out what to do and who to be.

Why would you recommend that new students sign up to peer mentoring?

Having some guidance in first year is always recommended; in your studies (Stop 1), in making friends (Clubs/UMSU), in knowing your way around campus (Lost on campus). This program will provide a platform for new students to properly integrate into University life, hopefully with as little stress as possible, as it will provide a space where students can come for guidance in anything that they need.

Providing a safe, student to student relationship will ease the stress and limit the overwhelming nature of transitioning from school to University.

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