Honors College sets up mentoring program

Looking at other honors colleges around the nation, sophomore political science major Alex Turner noticed one thing missing at TCU and set out to correct it.

“I was surprised we didn’t have (a mentoring program,)” Turner said. “I thought since the (Honors Program) was going to make a jump to a college (this spring) … it would be essential to have a mentorship program.”

If all goes according to plan, the Watson Mentoring Program will begin this spring for Honors students looking for guidance, Turner said.

While some details are still being hammered out, Turner said he thinks a junior or senior mentor in the Honors College will meet with a freshman twice a month. One meeting will be a casual check in just between in the mentor and the freshman, and the second will be a larger gathering with the entire program.

Turner was not the first to come up with the idea in the department, but he believes his research in creating a program will make it stick.

“(Setting up a mentoring program) was talked about last year before I got here,” Turner said. “I wanted to pretty much set it up how I’ve seen other programs at different universities.”

He had talked to friends from high school who were involved in mentoring programs at Notre Dame, Southern Methodist University and Texas State University and took advice from them.

Turner said so far reactions have been enthusiastic.

“I got a bigger response than I thought I would get,” Turner said.

Catelyn Gray, a junior social work major, was among those interested in the mentoring program.

“I was an (orientation student assistant) and an RA in a freshman dorm, and I love helping freshmen because they need a lot of help compared to other students,” Gray said. “That’s why I got involved.”

Freshman biochemistry major Vanessa Norris is looking forward to the guidance she hopes to gain from her mentor in the spring.

“I just thought it would be a good opportunity for me to actually learn the ropes of the Honors Program and to get to know some of the older students,” Norris said. “I know a lot of the older students (are busy), so you probably won’t see them unless you take advantage of something like this.”

Norris said she hoped the program would help her with getting the right teachers and classes, along with hearing from upperclassmen what the best opportunities are in the college.

Gray said she wished she had a mentor her freshman year to help her stay balanced.

“(I wish someone had told me) that it’s not as hard as it seems,” Gray said. “Friends in high school would tell me that in college you can sleep, get good grades and have friends, but you can only have two of the three … So I had to learn on my own that you can have fun in college.”

Turner said the mentoring program was named for dean of the Honors College, Peggy Watson. He said Watson helped him get acclimated to TCU after transferring, much like the mentors would help freshmen.

“Dr. Watson is the first dean of the college and I know she has helped me and many people like me succeed at TCU,” Turner said. “She inspires students, and this was the least we could do for her.”