Department of Psychology Launches New Mentorship Program – Grand Valley Lanthorn

On October 14, 2021, the Department of Psychology at Grand Valley State University launched a new program called Psych Friends. The goal of this peer-to-peer mentoring program is to assist students studying psychology and behavioral neuroscience at the undergraduate level.

After noticing a higher demand for help than before in the psychology department, the psychology retention committee sent out a survey to many affected students. They were then able to assess what help current students really needed in addition to the specific areas in which they were having the most difficulty. The Department of Psychology hopes this program will help students improve their academic success through amplified time management skills and holistic study skills.

Currently, 11 mentors volunteer their time to help students who are looking for them. All mentors are GVSU students at a junior or senior level and will contribute 20 hours per week on average of their time to the program and to their fellow students. This means that approximately 20 students will be able to benefit from a mentorship per week through this program.

While fairly new, program members are hopeful that this opportunity will not only provide students with academic skills, but also create a tight-knit community within the psychology department for years to come.

“The overall goal is to create a community within the psychology department,” said Allison Cox, a graduate student from the School of Psychology involved in the training of the program.

She goes on to explain that the students explained the difficulties they faced during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic and how this negatively affected the social aspect of their schooling. This program aims to counteract this and provide students with a greater sense of well-being.

To help shape this new community, the Retention Committee along with a board of dedicated faculty have planned engaging activities for the students. As of now, these include a Family Feud-style game night and pizza night where students can interact with faculty and their peers on a more in-depth level. This will benefit students by building interpersonal relationships with their teachers that are based on more than academic responsibilities.

Cox, who helped create this program through the post of graduate assistant, noticed students asking for help in the psychology department and recalled how she herself had been able to overcome difficulties with a mentoring program. This was the start of what is now Psych Friends.

“The retention committee and I started to brainstorm ideas for a new program and kind of built it from scratch,” Cox said.

His experience in the field and his passion for the subject are two traits that triggered the start of this program.

Students interested in this program will be able to hone their skills during their undergraduate experience and get assistance in applying to graduate programs. Additionally, mentors hope to help students find their way in life beyond graduate school and in a more career-oriented way.

In order to join the mentoring program as a mentee, students must log into their navigation portal and select the mentoring program. This process is similar to registering for tutoring courses at GVSU.

The available time slots were officially published on October 14 and will be available until they are full. This mentoring program is offered in person in the Au Sable Hall psychological tutoring room as well as online if required.

For more information, visit @ gvsu.psychfriends on Instagram and @gvsupsychfriends on Facebook.

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