Students helping students

First-year students nervous about settling into university life should never fear. Macquarie has an abundance of support groups solely for the benefit of new students. Photo by Phillipa Janos.First-year students nervous about settling into university life should never fear. Macquarie has an abundance of support groups solely for the benefit of new students.

The Faculty of Arts boasts a number of these groups including Beyond Babel within the Department of International Studies, the Platonic Society in the Department of Philosophy and Tele's Angels in Ancient History.

Beyond Babel

Beyond Babel is a relatively new student group established in 2010. This group provides online and one-on-one support for first-year students who study modern languages.

"The fundamental aim is to make the first-year language learning experience one of ease, enjoyment, encouragement and ultimately excellence," explains Beyond Babel co-founder Stephanie Woerde. "We operate on a philosophy of making language learning as much about community as it is about communication.

Platonic Society

The Platonic Society meets every Thursday for debate and discussion. While it's not a study group, students are welcome to seek advice from the students and academics present.

"Between us we have done every philosophy unit Macquarie has on offer," says President Alison Beale. "So while it's not technically a study group, we can help."

The main aim of the society is to talk about philosophy. "Back in the golden days of philosophy - the point was never to write about it, read about it, or make notes in the margin, but it was something to be spoken about and debated verbally," explains Beale. "We are trying to bring that back.

"Learning how to think, debate, argue, and recognise a good argument from a bad one is all important and it's all philosophy," says Beale.

You can find out more about the Platonic Society on their Facebook page.

Tele's Angels

Tele's Angels is a subject-specific academic mentoring program that looks after first-year ancient history students. This year the group celebrates its tenth year of service and in this time they have helped over 10,000 ancient history students.

Mentors offer support and guidance, encourage academic development, improved self-confidence and network building. "We cater for every first-year ancient history subject as well as entry-level ancient languages subjects," explains Tele's Angels Director and Founder Ronika Power. "It's all about helping students achieve their dreams and be given every possible opportunity for academic success and fulfilment."

Earlier this year Power collected an Australian Learning and Teaching Council award (ALTC) on behalf of the group. This is the first time such an award has been given to a student group at any university.

Tele's Angels suite of services includes academic writing skills specifically for ancient history, ancient history library tours, archaeological fieldwork seminars, one-on-one personal mentoring and an ancient languages first-aid course.  All these resources are also available via the Tele's Angels website -  "This year as part of our 10 year celebrations, have also launched Tele-Vision - our online learning channel through YouTube," says Power. "All of our services are videoed and put on YouTube for those students who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend our on-campus events.

Macquarie University Connect online for future students

Hear more about students supporting students on Macquarie's YouTube channel

Published: Wednesday, 06 June, 2012