Many of our subject areas offer Buddy Schemes to help new students settle in over their first weeks at university. Final year Politics student and Social Science Buddy Scheme Coordinator, James Edwards, explains how the scheme is helping new students and buddies.
Starting university is an incredibly exciting time in a young adult’s life, but it can also be a terrifying first few days with many challenges for new students. As you progress through student life it’s all too easy to forget what it felt like to be a nervous fresher.
Take a moment to remember when you were a young heady fresher, anxious about leaving home for the first time, making new friends, and starting a degree. Yet it usually isn’t these big worries that give us the most concern it’s all the smaller niggling concerns, how do I take a book out of the library? How do I change my modules? What does 54/10031 mean on my timetable? This is where the Buddy Scheme comes in.
Each year in Social Sciences the incoming horde of five hundred plus freshers are greeted by a dedicated team of buddies. Made up of second and third year students, the team are there to answer any questions, give support and be a resource to help with anything new students might feel foolish asking their tutor or a lecturer for support with.
Common questions can be a simple as how do I use a washing machine? Trust me this isn’t the sort of question you want to ask a lecturer unless you enjoy the look of despair in their eyes as they try and work out how you’re going to last three years! The buddies, on the other hand, will answer any questions and always maintain a judgment free environment.
The Social Sciences Buddy Scheme lasts from the first week of university through to week six, although the friendships forged during the scheme last a lot longer. During the first four weeks, the buddies meet regularly with their freshers engaging them in a variety of activities from campus and library tours to drop-in sessions. In the final weeks of the scheme the buddies remain available to answer any questions their group may have over email.
That all sums up the benefits to the freshers from the scheme, but what is the benefit to the buddies of their participation?
Over the last year, I have had the honour and pleasure of working with a fantastic team of students who give up their time selflessly to take part in the scheme. While I appreciate their selfless sacrifice, we do try and make it worth their while! The simple sell is that it looks great on their C.V., add on to this a copious amount of free pizza and a great feedback dinner. Most importantly a buddy gets the opportunity to help make a real difference to the life of dozens of new freshers. When you leave university, you will undoubtedly have some regrets, the one guarantee I can make is that you will never regret being part of the Buddy Scheme.
James Edwards Social Science Buddy Scheme Coordinator 2016/17
Recruitment for the 2017/18 Social Sciences Buddy Scheme opens shortly! If you would like to be a buddy or would just like more information on the scheme, then email the new coordinator Laura Izod at SocialSciencesBuddyScheme@soton.ac.uk.