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Frequently Asked Questions

What is First Years Forward?

First Years Forward provides an opportunity for first-year Bennies and Johnnies to connect with older student mentors. Through fostering personal relationships, we aim to create a cycle of shared learning and personal growth that will enable first year students to achieve at the fullest extent of their talents and abilities. We strive to promote positive community development at CSB/SJU by nurturing a sense of belonging for all students. First Years Forward is co-sponsored by the CSB Institute for Women's Leadership and the SJU Men's Development Institute.

Why should I join this program?

There are many informal opportunities on campus to get connected with older Johnnies and Bennies: residential life staff, athletic teams, club officers, orientation leaders, academic classes and student employment to name just a few. Our program, however, offers a formal opportunity to connect with older student mentors for both those students who are already connected and for students who are not well connected. If you are looking for a friend or a place to belong at CSB/SJU, you are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity!

Who are the FYF mentors?

With almost 70 committed individuals as mentors on our team, we are highly diverse and escapes simple characterization; our mentors come from all backgrounds, interests and personality types. All of our mentors are, however, highly trained to help first year students manage a wide variety of situation that they may encounter at CSB/SJU. Mentors will model the way for new students by acting as guides, community resources, and confidential listeners for the diverse needs of incoming students. But most of all, these mentors are all wonderful individuals, great friends and excited to connect with new Bennies and Johnnies.

What will we do during our meetings?

There is no secret hidden agenda with this program. Your mentor will not lecture you, discipline you, get you into trouble, or make you do anything at all that you don't want to. The meeting is simply a formally arranged opportunity for you to get to know an older student on campus, and for that older student to get to know you. The meetings can be used to talk about anything or do anything. You can approach your mentors with any questions you have about academics, relationships, or other aspects of campus life. All of our mentors have promised to promote a non-judgmental environment. Additionally, everything that is said during the all meetings is confidential.

If this program is "confidential", will I get in trouble for the things I share with my mentor?

No. Confidentiality means that your mentors will not share anything you say with anyone. We want students to feel free to share and be honest with their mentors. Confidentiality is a key piece in creating healthy mentoring relationships. However, in extraordinary circumstances when the life or health of a student is endangered, mentors must act in the well being of the student and will report necessary information to program supervisors.

How often will I meet with my mentor?

Consistent and regular meetings with your mentor are truly at the core of this program. Mentors are required to meet with their students at least once every two weeks for an hour. If a first year student wants to meet more or less frequently, they can arrange that with their mentor.

Will I get to choose my mentor?

We ask both mentors and first year students to provide certain personal information about themselves to ensure that we can create meaningful and compatible mentoring relationships. You will have an opportunity to share this information with us through the online form you will use to sign-up. Our leadership team makes the final decision on forming all mentoring pairs.

When and where will I meet with my mentor?

The choice is yours! Some students might choose to meet for coffee at the Local Blend or Clemens Perk. Others might choose to take a walk around the Abbey Arboretum or take a hike to Lake Sarah at CSB. All of the mentors have promised to be flexible to your schedules. They will do their best to meet with you at the most convenient time.

If I sign up for FYF but later decide that I don't want a mentor, can I drop out?

Of course. We would hope that you would choose stay in the program, but you are free to leave at any time. Meeting with a FYF mentor is always optional and never mandatory.

Will my FYF Mentor be the same person that was my OL?

First Years Forward begins when Orientation ends. It is our goal to support and maintain a relationship with you for the entirety of your first year at CSB/SJU, not just during the first week. Additionally, some Orientation Leaders have chosen to be FYF Mentors, but many have not. Therefore, it is very unlikely that you will be paired with the same person who was your OL. Regardless, we encourage you to maintain a close relationship with your Orientation Leader; they are wonderful individuals who deeply care about your well-being!

Is an FYF Mentor and a Resident Assistant the same thing?

Although Resident Assistants are an incredible resource for first year students, they are not the same thing as an FYF mentor. Our program provides first year students an additional opportunity to connect with an older students outside of the residential program. Additionally, RAs are required to be on-duty and available to their resident students continuously unlike FYF mentors; in the event that you need assistance, and your mentor is unavailable, your RA will always be able to help you out.