Here at Ryerson, I wear many hats. I’m a Creative Industries student, a student ambassador for WhyRyerson, and most recently I became a peer mentor in Ryerson’s Tri-Mentoring Program (TMP). This is an awesome program that needs more recognition, so I decided to ask my first-year Mentee, Nyashia, about peer mentoring, why she decided to join and more.
Jenna: First of all, tell me about yourself! Your program, where you’re from, any hobbies… fun stuff like that.
Nyashia: I’m in the Creative Industries program, and what got me interested in the program was the aspect of bridging business and art, and how the two can correlate together. A specific hobby I like is painting; I like to paint a lot of different works. I like to do photography as well. Sometimes I play the piano and stuff – I just like doing anything creative. I’m not good at everything obviously, but I like to dabble in a little bit of everything if I can. I feel like doing business and art shows me both aspects, and how I can be successful in a world where not a lot of artists make a lot of money, while understanding what kinds of jobs and things I can do with my passion for art.
J: That’s why I joined it too. I like the business and art thing together! Next, why did you choose to attend Ryerson?
N: I chose to attend Ryerson because it’s in the city. That was my major “want” for going to the school because I live in Ajax [Ontario], and it can get very monotonous (laughs) if that’s a good word to use. Going to the city for me is a whole adventure, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to go to the city everyday and get to know Toronto a bit better, and just meet different people, explore… so, that was my major reason. Also, because Ryerson’s programs are very good for what I want to do. They have interesting programs!
J: In your own words, what is the Tri-Mentoring Program?
N: I feel like the Tri-Mentoring Program is a way for new students to meet up with existing students and really just have a support system, especially during COVID time where we don’t really get to be with anybody. If we’re curious, and have any questions, we have somebody we can connect with. I also think it’s a great way to meet people and create relationships that you can maybe even take past just school and everything. I think it’s a great way to make friends so that you don’t feel that lonely, and somebody’s there to help you.
J: That’s a really good answer! How did you find out about the Tri-Mentoring Program and why did you want to join it?
N: Okay well, I didn’t even know it existed (laughs), but my mom really looked into it and told me to join it to see what it’s about. I just decided to do it because I thought it wouldn’t hurt to talk to somebody who’s been at Ryerson for a couple of years, and may have any advice for me or could help me if I didn’t understand something, so that’s part of the reason why I wanted to join in.
J: I think that’s a really great reason to join. If you remember, what was the application process like for joining the Tri-Mentoring Program?
N: I think I just went on the website. I had actually never seen it before, so I don’t even know how my mom found it, but she showed it to me on the Ryerson website. I just remember putting in my name and creating an account where you could put your social media information, your hobbies… basically like an “Instagram” profile. Then I got an email saying that they found a mentor for me and then we started messaging on the [Tri-Mentoring] platform, and that was basically it!
J: Super easy you know? Next, how has your experience with the Tri-Mentoring Program impacted your experience with online learning?
N: I think it’s comforting to know that there’s somebody you can talk to and share your ideas with, because sometimes if you want to talk to your parents or you want to talk to your friends that are in different programs, they may not fully understand what you’re asking them. It’s really nice to have somebody that’s been through the program to give you some advice on professors, work and what they expected from this program. It can also reinforce wanting to be in the program too, because you can see how these people have developed from the program.
J: Why do you think that incoming students should join the Tri-Mentoring Program?
N: We’d like to think that we know everything, actually no, I feel like a lot of people don’t know anything (laughs), so people are really looking to other students who are first-years for help. That can be helpful too, but it’s always good to talk to somebody who knows exactly what they’re talking about, and can actually give you factual advice about their own experiences. It’s valuable to find someone you can talk to if you have any questions about the program that you’re in, or you’re not sure about something. It’s good to have somebody who can reassure you and give you advice.
J: I know it’s only been about a month, but so far what is your favourite part about the Tri-Mentoring Program?
N: My favourite part is that you actually get to talk to a real person! A lot of the time when your school tells you to talk to the librarian or you can go to this, usually there are real people but there’s so many people, so it’s hard to get that one-on-one time. Just being able to talk to a person that’s already there is nice.
J: Do you see yourself taking part in the Tri-Mentoring Program later on as a mentor or a career mentee?
N: I feel like I have a lot to learn, but I wouldn’t rule out becoming a mentor in the future. I feel like if I have enough advice to give, and enough knowledge to share (that I think is actually valuable to somebody else) that I definitely wouldn’t say no to being a mentor. Right now I’m fine just being a mentee and learning from somebody else.
J: This is the last question, what is one piece of general advice you would give to incoming students?
N: You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. A lot of the time I can just get anxious over exactly what I’m trying to do… what this program is leading to. It’s important to remember this is just an undergraduate program. Just learn as much as you can and remember that you can always change your mind – nothing is set in stone. Just enjoy the material and enjoy learning. Sometimes it can be hard because you have assignments and midterms, but just remember why you’re doing it and hopefully you enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy it, I think that you should really look into that. Give yourself room to grow, and if you get a bad mark it’s okay, you will get where you’re going one day, just relax.