Honors launches mentoring program for freshmen

For freshman students entering the Honors Program, navigating the system can be overwhelming.

This year, honors students will have the opportunity to participate in the new Watson Mentoring Program, which will pair freshmen with an advanced honors student to facilitate a more smooth transition into college, said Maddison Grigsby, Honors Cabinet vice president.

Grigsby, a junior international finance major, said she took this on as her project for the semester.

“A lot of times students aren’t aware of their honors class opportunities or the academic rigor involved and just have a lot of questions,” Grigsby said. “I remember having so many questions and not knowing who to go to for an answer.”

Grigsby said she plans to help answer questions by providing mentors from within the Honors Program who know the ropes and where to find the answer if they don’t have one already.

Jacob Clark, a freshman biology major, said having someone who is experienced will be beneficial, because a mentor will know how and what to do.

“It’s a big transition, and this is a rough major,” Clark said. “It will be good to have someone who has been there before.”

Grigsby began by sending an e-mail to both incoming freshmen and upperclassmen, and she received responses from both sides. About 80 freshmen have signed up for the program, Grigsby said.

Students will be paired with mentors in similar areas of study at a meet-and-greet session sometime in mid- to late-October where contact information will also be exchanged, Grigsby said.

“We want it to be as much as the students make it,” Grigsby said. “This is sort of a pilot program; it’s something we can do immediately, and hopefully it will take off.”

The namesake for the program is Peggy Watson, director of the Honors Program.

“I think this is a great idea, and I am honored that they used my name,” Watson said.

Watson said the program is entirely student-run and said she is proud of their initiative in starting the program on their own.

Ron Pitcock, assistant director of Honors Program, said he is also impressed with students putting together the program without help from faculty.

“It’s not something that we asked them to do; it’s not something we decided for them,” Pitcock said. “It’s something they came up with on their own.”

The idea is to get freshmen involved in the program and be more aware of activities going on, as well as to spark initiative in upperclassmen to help those below them, Grigsby said.

“Hopefully they will take initiative and positively impact the freshman experience because that’s something TCU does very well,” Grigsby said. “We want to make their freshman experience as positive as possible and this is just on a more narrow level with Honors students.”