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UMobile Peer Leader Program Helps New Students Adjust to College Life

Morgan Menkedick, a freshman from Greensburgh, Ind., has come a long way from home and had problems adjusting to living away from her parents. One thing that helped her get through this situation was her Peer Leader at the University of Mobile.

“I can talk to my new friends here, but my Peer Leader is more mature and knows more than they do. After talking to her, I felt one hundred percent better,” Menkedick said.

This is what the new Peer Leader Program at UMobile is all about.

University of Mobile started the Peer Leader Program for the 2012-2013 school year to help new students and get them involved in campus activities their first semester.

The Peer Leader Program, part of the Student Success Center, is designed to have 12 upperclassmen help incoming students and give them advice their first semester.

Peer Leaders assist faculty and staff instructors teaching Freshman Seminar classes, help plan lectures and outside activities, and aim to get new students involved and building relationships with others.

The upperclassmen know how scary and different coming into a new school environment can be.

Kelsie Ruff, a senior, says that she is a Peer Leader because she “wants to help students start the school year knowing there are people all around who support them and are here to make their college experience one they will enjoy. I would like for incoming freshmen to feel instantly connected and be able to get involved.”

Being involved with the campus activities is one of many things that tie the campus community together at the University of Mobile, along with a shared faith in Christ.

“Remember that every opportunity you are blessed with at UMobile is a chance to seek the Truth -- to seek Jesus Christ -- and to know Him more intimately than you did before, whether that is in your dorm, at True Spin (campus Bible study), at a campus activity, or in the classroom,” Sara Dye, a senior, says of the Christian environment.

Peer Leaders try to impress upon the new students that education is important, and it requires effort. But, they say, don’t ignore the fun aspects of college life and the lessons to be learned from involvement in organizations and events.

Jeremy Crews, a senior, says, “Do as much as you can, but remember that you’re here for an education. Don’t let your education suffer, but remember that you only have a few years at the school. Don’t waste a second of it.”

Daniel Moore, a freshman from Winston-Salem, N.C., says the Peer Leader Program has helped him to get involved more.

“My Peer Leader has kept in contact with me through Facebook and texting. She helps me with my studies and took the whole Freshman Seminar class out for frozen yogurt the other day. My best friends are in Ram Rush and now my Freshman Seminar class. It’s great because I automatically have friends.”

(Story and photos by Kayla Dutruch, junior majoring in communication, and a Media Relations intern in the University of Mobile Office of Marketing & Public Relations.)

Freshman Morgan Menkedick, left, and her Peer Leader, senior Sara Dye
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