Most GU students could probably name a few things they wish someone had told them during their freshman year.
Being an underclassman in college can be challenging, but with the new ZagLink program, help from a fellow Zag is just around the corner.
ZagLink is a program dedicated to connecting first-year students with student mentors who can provide guidance for them as well as direct them toward campus resources.
The pilot program works with First Year Experience to provide a network of students committed to mentoring first-year students who apply to the program.
Mentors meet with mentees a few times every month to check in and discuss anything from friendships to housing registration.
After seeing an ad for ZagLink in Morning Mail, freshman Nina Berry thought the program would be a good way to make a new friend.
“I can always learn more from someone who’s older and who’s had more experience than I have,” Berry said. “Having an older friend who you can consistently see or have a conversation with is nice.”
Having been a mentor to freshmen in high school, Berry said she thought it would be interesting to be the mentee for a change.
Berry would go on to be paired with sophomore Tori Irons who applied to be a ZagLink mentor coincidentally after seeing an ad in Morning Mail.
Irons, who is involved in other student leadership positions, said she thought being a ZagLink mentor would be a good opportunity to connect with a freshman she likely wouldn’t have met otherwise.
After completing a training session where she learned how to approach different types of people in a mentor/mentee relationship, Irons was ready to mentor Berry.
From there, their relationship flourished. Thanks to ZagLink, the pair formed a friendship they believe never would have happened otherwise.
Despite the official titles of “mentor” and “mentee,” Berry and Irons agree the relationship never felt too structured or formal.
“There are shared experiences and different things we can bond over to talk about,” Berry said. “I found out a lot of people experience the same things, so you can connect to people in that way.”
Now, Berry and Irons meet occasionally for COG dates to discuss what’s been going on in their lives.
“I think [we discuss] different skills and opportunities I might have experienced in the last year that Nina hasn’t yet,” Irons said.
Irons recommends the program to any incoming freshman looking to meet new people and learn about campus through a student’s perspective.
Since the program is so versatile, they encourage everyone to apply to be a mentor to garner a wide range of personalities to be able to match with the diverse pool of mentees.
ZagLink welcomes students who are struggling and looking for advice, who want to learn to navigate college and those who are just looking to make a friend.