Learning how to navigate the university with a disability is sometimes hard enough, once you factor in new classes, assignments, and a social life, it can feel like nothing makes sense. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an older peer to share their experiences and guide you down the tumultuous path of academics? The Access Us Peer Mentorship Program offers just that: a mentor specifically assigned to you to answer your questions, and help you adjust to life at U of T.
The Access Us Peer Mentorship Program is an extremely innovative and creative initiative designed to help students connect with their experienced peers. To register, fill out the form on the Accessibility Services website at https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/as/peer-programs. The registration is fairly simple and will pair you with a mentor that is familiar with Accessibility Services. Although they can’t guarantee it, Accessibility Services tries their best to match you with someone in your college or faculty, or with a similar disability. Once you’ve been paired up, you can meet with your peer mentor at your convenience to discuss any questions you might have, advice you might want, or experiences you want to share. Along with communicating with your mentor, there are monthly check-ins with the Access Us Peer Mentorship Program where we play games, do creative activities, and discuss how we’re doing during the week. This program can be a great way to gain a support system that works alongside and understands your disability and the unique struggles that go along with it.
Of course, I would never recommend it unless I’ve tried it and love it myself, which I have. My experience with the Access Us Peer Mentorship Program has been wonderful. The program helped to introduce me to many resources available at the University of Toronto. In addition to being a great friend, my peer mentor Michael was an English major like me, and he was a huge help when it came to many a tough essay, helping me to plan out my time, and showing me the ropes of doing research. This program helped me extensively in my first year, when I wasn’t as aware of the different opportunities the University of Toronto has to offer us.
If you give the program a try, let me know in the comments below how it goes for you. Until then, happy studying U of T!