M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors will share experience, excitement with Class of 2022
- WKU News
- Thursday, August 16th, 2018
WKU senior Shelby Cable has experienced M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan as a first-time student and as a resident assistant for Housing and Residence Life, but she’s looking forward to a new experience next week as a leader for the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentor program.
“I think going from being a Western Leader to a M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentor will give that extra set of eyes and ears on the students at all times and it will help them transition,” said Cable, an Interdisciplinary Studies major from Custer and a member of the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Advisory Board. “I know when I came from a super small town into Bowling Green I didn’t really know anybody or I didn’t really know what I was doing. I think it will make them more comfortable with campus and with the people they’re going to be with for the year.”
M.A.S.T.E.R. (Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding) Plan began in 1993 to help incoming students make a smooth transition to life on the Hill. Entering its 26th year, M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan has adjusted its schedule, educational programming and activities in an effort to improve student success and retention. (Read more about M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan changes)
One of several changes for 2018, the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors replace Western Leaders, who had served in behind the scenes roles. About 50 current students will serve as peer mentors for small groups of incoming students.
“As part of this overhauling and reimagining of the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan program we took a close look at their role as well,” said Blair Jensen, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life and M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Coordinator. “What we found out is peer influence is often more impactful than getting information from a faculty or staff member. Sometimes hearing it from a current student means more and carries more weight. We wanted to intentionally involve more current students in M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan week and serve in mentoring capacities to they could invest in the incoming class, share what they know about WKU, share their strategies for success with the incoming students and serve as ongoing touchpoint during first year.”
As an advisory board member, Cable will help train the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors and will serve as chair of Big Red’s Blitz. “I’m looking forward to seeing a new perspective because I’ve seen it as a student and an RA,” she said. “I think these M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors are going to get experience that is priceless. I think it will be interesting to get to lead the Mentors and to be that contact for them.”
For M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors, “we want to keep our students just as excited as we are,” Cable said. “I think a lot of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan is showing them what it means to be a student of Western Kentucky University. It’s just instilling that spirit in them that we have.”
Adjusting the program’s schedule to shorten the gap between the end of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan and the start of fall semester classes should keep new students on campus for their first weekend and help them make more personal connections, Cable said.
“Students need to stay on campus and use that time to get familiar with campus and familiar with what being a WKU student means,” she said. “I just think it is better to stay on campus and get familiar than to have that awkward few days where you’re like ‘OK, now what?’ ”
As a senior and as a program leader, Cable has some advice for members of the Class of 2022: “Don’t miss out on any chances. Take life by the horns. You just literally have to make college your own experience. You are going to get out of it what you put into it. And you need to get involved. You need to get involved soon but you also need to focus on your academics because at the end of the day that is what you’re here for.
“I know as a student it was easy to kind of go back to my residence hall and spend my time there because it was so nerve-wracking and you didn’t really know anybody yet, but you need to stay involved. And it may not be in your comfort zone to go to a social, but that’s exactly what you should do because the people in your halls are not going to get to know you if you don’t put yourself out there.”
For information about M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan, visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/ or call (270) 745-2037