Stephanie Wiebe (left) shares advice with some first year students at the mentorship program launch. PHOTO: ASTORIA LUZZI

Students get a shoulder to cry on

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By Bruce Laregina

Life is hard for first-year interior design students. The workload is heavy and teachers assign projects on tight deadlines, sometimes resulting in sleepless nights.

The semi-professional calibre work of third and fourth year students is proudly displayed around the interior design building, a constant reminder to first-year students of how much is left to be learned in order to make a name for themselves in a relatively small industry.

With these issues in mind, Ryerson’s interior design student council launched its first ever student mentorship program on Sept. 14.

The program pairs third and fourth year students with four first year students in an effort to ease the transition into the challenging years of Ryerson’s interior design program.

The mentors are there to give advice on how to deal with late night assignments, what to look out for in certain classes, how to network in the industry and above all else, offer a shoulder to cry on.

“This is a program that I wish we had when I was coming into the school, because it just breaks the scary boundaries of the different levels between first and fourth year” said Stephanie Wiebe, a fourth year mentor.

As Wiebe explains, the school is competitive, and “everyone is a perfectionist.” Herself included, she said.

Throughout her degree she has spent up to 48 hours straight at the interior design building working on projects. She explains that although the students typically start out distant from one another, the all-night designing sessions at the studio help them develop a sense of camaraderie.

“There were some nights in second year where the projects were so hard that I just needed someone to vent to because only people in your program know what you’re dealing with,” said Wiebe. “When I complain to my mother and my father they say ‘that sounds terrible, but what do you want us to do?’ To a first year, we can at least say we’ve been through it, it gets better, you’re doing really well.”

Adrian Wyrebek, one of Wiebe’s first-year mentees, is grateful to have a mentor. “At first I was a little intimidated to ask her questions… but she added me on Facebook and told me to ask away,” said Wyrebek. “She’s been very good so far.”

According to Evan Pavka, the organizer of the mentorship program, the program’s future is dependant on its success this year.

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