Emma Black has just completed her final year studying Biology, and has been a Student Organiser for the PASS scheme in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Here, she tells us more about what’s involved and how it can add valuable skills to your CV.
PASS (Peer Assisted Study Support) is a voluntary, student-led peer-mentoring scheme that operates across the university. It’s aimed mainly at first-year students as they settle in but, in many subjects, students in all years can join the informal weekly sessions to get academic and non-academic advice. In my School, SBCS, topics have ranged from how best to remember the common amino acids and their structures to which academic society provides free guest speaker lectures.
These sessions provide useful advice from students who most likely have gone through similar problems. It can be daunting to ask lecturers for help. You may not want to seem as if you aren’t coping with the course or don’t understand lecture content. In addition, some lecturers may appear inaccessible until students understand the system, so PASS can be the next step for students to get support.
Sessions take place in various forms – group discussions or one-to-one help with a mentor. It’s a great way for students to meet peers from other years, network and form new friendship groups. It’s a fantastic scheme for students to be a part of as they gain many new skills. As a mentor you will learn how to set-up group discussions, work in a team and develop your interpersonal skills.
These are great skills to add to your CV and can improve your chances of employability after graduation. It can also lead to other skill-enhancing opportunities. As a student organiser (team leader), I was given the opportunity to give a short presentation at the Staff Student Services Day. I introduced the scheme to staff in the hope to increase awareness across the university. This was a daunting, yet exhilarating experience for myself, as I had never before presented to so many people in one room before. However, I am proud of myself for having done it and have increased confidence. Having good presentation skills is important for whichever career you find yourself in.
If you’re interested in getting involved, go to the contact list on the PASS webpage: www.qmul.ac.uk/pass. The more students we have, the more support can be given. It is a very flexible role that you can fit around your studies and in most Schools, mentors only have to attend a minimum of five weekly sessions in a semester. It is a very rewarding scheme to be a part of and good to contribute to your School.
SBCS PASS Student Organiser, 2015-16