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PEER MENTORS

EARS is excited to offer free, drop-in Peer Mentoring hours for Cornell undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Please look forward to our services in the Fall 2022 semester as the schedule has not yet been finalized. Click here for specific Peer Mentoring times and click here for Peer Mentor bios.  

EARS Peer Mentors will provide active listening, support, and empathy through informal conversations on topics common to the student experience (e.g., adjusting to college/grad school, stress, social connections, identity) and get students connected to relevant resources. Drop-in mentoring hours will be informal, supportive, and flexible student-to-student conversations with an EARS Peer Mentor who is trained to be a good, empathic listener and communicator. EARS is not a counseling or mental health service. A student who describes issues for which an EARS Peer Mentor would be unable to provide support (e.g., desire for counseling versus mentoring, clinical focus, suicidal ideation) will be referred to other professional resources. 

Peer Mentors FAQs

How do I become a Peer Mentor?

Peer Mentors are EARS staff members who have gone through Beginning and Advanced Training, as well as the evaluation process. 

How can I connect with a Peer Mentor? 

Any Cornell student (Undergraduate, Graduate, or Professional) is welcome to attend drop-in Peer Mentoring hours - just stop by! Click here for specific times and locations offered this semester for Peer Mentoring drop-in hours. 

Is the Peer Mentor-Mentee relationship short or long-term?

In line with the drop-in nature of EARS Peer Mentoring hours, the Peer Mentor-Mentee relationship is brief rather than long-term; however, since Peer Mentors will serve at certain times, Mentees may choose to drop by and speak to the same Mentor if they wish. 

How is Peer Mentoring different from the previous Peer Counseling?

While Peer Counseling involved more formalized sessions with a specific structure, Peer Mentoring will be informal, flexible, drop-in peer-to-peer conversations with a Peer Mentor who is trained to be a good listener. Previously, EARS had an "any person, any issue" motto; however, under the new model, EARS will provide general listening, mentorship, and support on specific topics common to the student experience (e.g., adjusting to college, managing stress, academic demands, developing social connections at Cornell) and get Cornell students connected to relevant resources (e.g., academic, career, social, identity-based, health, and wellness-related). If a student is seeking counseling or in crisis, EARS will refer them to professional resources. 

  • Relationship:

    • Before: The former Peer Counseling model assumed a more formal, established Peer Counselor-client relationship which carried an implicit power dynamic. Sessions generally followed a specific structure and the Peer Counselors remained anonymous.

    • Going forward: With the new Peer Mentoring model, the relationship is informal — just what one would expect between peers! Conversations with EARS Peer Mentors will be casual, informal, and flexible, and Peer Mentors and students may relate on many levels other than age — such as major/program, interests, life experiences, and or/personal, social, and cultural identities. In line with this shift, EARS will publish member bios on their website so that students can get to know the peers they will be talking to.

  • Audience:

    • Before: EARS Peer Counseling services were formally epitomized by the motto “any person, any issue,” which led to some support being offered to non-Cornell community members.

    • Going forward: The new Peer Mentoring drop-in hours will be exclusively offered to current Cornell undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. This will allow EARS to better support its intended audience: the Cornell student body.

  • Scope:

    • Before: EARS Peer Counseling was positioned as being able to assist with any issue.

    • Going forward:

      • EARS Peer Mentors will listen, support, and provide resources to students on topics/themes pertaining to the student experience and well-being (e.g. managing stress, social support, general emotional well-being).

      • If students need counseling or help with issues outside the scope of Peer Mentoring (e.g., clinical concerns, thoughts of suicide), EARS Peer Mentors will refer them to professional resources.

A word about privacy: EARS is and has always been committed to keeping the information you share private. If a Peer Mentor has good reason to believe that a student is in crisis or at risk of harming themselves or others, then the Peer Mentor would need to consult with a professional resource. Otherwise, what’s discussed during a Peer Mentoring conversation stays in that conversation. EARS Peer Mentors will be trained to openly and clearly discuss these boundaries — if students have any questions or concerns, just ask!

Would it be awkward if my Peer Mentor is younger than I am?

EARS is about having a space to feel heard and to connect — where experience with peer support matters more than age. Peer Mentors and Mentees may relate on many different levels other than age-- such as major, interests, life experiences, and/or personal, social, and cultural identity.

For additional FAQs, click here.

"Ultimately, I think this period served as a wake-up call for our organization. It was never just about 'peer counseling'; we needed to expand our outreach and make our peer-to-peer model more applicable to everyday conversations. By making those changes to our training curriculum and making ourselves more visible than ever before, I believe we'll see a broader and more diverse coalition of community members involved in our mission and in mental health overall"

    - Ben Lederman '23