The Buddy System

(described by Michael Bush, PhD 2004)

For the last couple (4-5?) years new students have been paired up with an older student ("Buddy"). These older students usually participate in some (or all) of the orientation activities (eg the lunch and final BBQ) and are expected to answer questions and help the new students adjust to graduate student life.

I think this program is a good idea. Even though for most students the amount of contact with their buddy may not extend much beyond the orientation, in some cases it does. Particularly, for international students who are often making cultural adjustments it is good to have someone to talk to about various things.

The system could probably benefit from one or two department sponsored activities post orientation (perhaps a mid-semester cook out in one of the parks?) but other than this a hands off approach is probably best.

Michael Bush

July, 2004

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