To begin with, PAL is an acronym for Peer Assisted Learning. The earliest scheme was set up at the University of Missouri, Kansas by Dr Deanna Martin in 1973. Since then similar learning schemes have been adopted by over 800 universities and colleges throughout the world. PAL aims to support new students to adjust to the new environment of university. The major challenges new students face are academic (learning and teaching styles, grading structure, study skills etc.), social (making new friends, finding support networks etc.) and practical (managing finances, managing time, accommodation, traveling and navigation).
PAL consists of PAL mentors (senior students – 2nd, 3rd, 4th year and even PhD students) and PAL mentees (new students/freshers/juniors). Last year I was a new student and my PAL mentors were really helpful. They greatly reduced the levels of anxiety and demystified exams and assignments. They also gave us tips and advice on how to study, how to self-organise our time and meet new people. This year I underwent a training to become a PAL mentor.
As a PAL mentor my role is to provide a clear view of course direction and expectations, as well as help new students overcome challenges of different nature. My first session will be next Tuesday and I can’t wait to meet them. This is really exciting for me and hopefully they make the most of the session.
Wish me luck! Find out more about PAL here!