Peer Wellbeing Mentors

Your Peer Wellbeing Mentors are current ARU students who are here to help you through your university experience, available on campus and online.

The mentors deliver a range of social activities and campaigns throughout the year to promote positive wellbeing and the opportunity to meet other students. They also provide you with advice and guidance on a range of topics/issues and signpost to services within the University.

The Peer Wellbeing Mentors provide a listening service, drop in sessions, fun activities and events, info on ARU Counselling and Wellbeing Services, kitchen meetings with students, and they run the ARUTogether Facebook page.

You can email the Peer Wellbeing Mentors on your campus if you have any questions or want to talk about anything.

Just email [email protected]

You can also contact them, take part in their online activities and follow them on Facebook: facebook.com/groups/arutogether


Meet our Peer Wellbeing Mentors

Cambridge

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Sarah Armstrong

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Forensic Science
Nationality: British

I wanted to be a Peer Wellbeing Mentor so I can help and support my peers and I am so excited to get the chance to do so! I hope I can be a friendly face to all, making everyone feel comforted and included.

Tips: It's important to take a step back and truly reflect on situations. Often I have found that what I'm worrying or concerned about, upon reflection, isn't as big of a mountain that I originally thought it was.

Lauren Atkin

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Animal Behaviour
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means that I can help students who are struggling to settle into uni, as it is a big change to go through for most of us, so can be very difficult, but I can put myself in their shoes having gone through the same. I can also help those who need to talk about any other problems they may be having, whether it's uni related or not, or offer them a distraction and just have fun together instead.

Tips: Talk to someone if you're struggling with anything, even if you think it's only a small problem, because bottling it up usually makes it a lot worse.

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Lucy Bresslaw

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Animal Behaviour
Nationality: British

In this role I’m able to help and support students around me and help people with various problems that they may be facing. I want to be a friendly face to other students so that they know they are not alone and that there is always someone that they can talk to. By having Peer Wellbeing Mentors and reaching out to as many people as possible means that students know that they have a place to go if they want to talk through an issue that they may be facing and find support through the university.

Tips: My top tip for positive wellbeing is to have hobbies and spend time away from studying with something that you enjoy.

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Charlotte

Campus: Cambridge
Course: MSc Physician Associate
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means being able to listen to those around me and help them get the best experience of university life. It allows for people to meet others outside of their course and have a safe environment to enjoy their time at university.

Tips: There’s always time for a break, take 5 minutes to reassess yourself, your work, and your surroundings.

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Ellie

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Psychology with Criminology (sandwich course)
Nationality: British

Becoming a Peer Wellbeing Mentor is a vital way to have students involved in activities and give others a chance to make new friendships along the way. It’s a great way to be involved in the community of ARU and make new friends through having a social experience outside the normal schedule of lectures and education. Making friends at university can be daunting and isolating, so our social activities give students the chance to put themselves out there without having to make the big leap of talking to strangers.

Tips: A book I’ve often read for guidance through-out my studying has been ‘Good vibes, Good life’ by Rex King, he quotes that you should ‘Ignore what everyone else is doing. Your life is not about everyone else; it's about you. Instead of focusing on their path, pay attention to your own. That's where your journey is taking place’. Being young we always compare ourselves to others, through so many different platforms, that we forget to be proud of our own perseverance to get through trials and tribulations. So, focus on you because you can lose yourself in others.

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Kruti Gupta

Campus:  Cambridge
Course: PhD
Nationality: Indian

As a Peer wellbeing Mentor I sincerely hope to help and support my colleagues and give back the immense support I have received from ARU community since I joined. I hope to connect students to all the resources available to them. Bring back the feelings of being a part of community like we were before the pandemic.

Tips: Don’t give up on your hobbies, give time to your hobbies.

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Robyn Hawkins

Campus: Cambridge
Course: MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means a lot to me, knowing I can support people just like me. The benefits of students being aware of peer wellbeing mentors and what we do is, is for them to know they are not alone and always have someone there to support them.

Tips: 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems every year, the biggest step is reaching out for help.

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Nanda Joga

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Msc Psychology
Nationality: Indian

I find it a deep sense of fulfilment and purpose in helping others. : Students' awareness of the Peer Wellbeing Mentors and their activities creates a supportive ecosystem that improves mental health, academic success, and overall well-being. It fosters a sense of community, provides essential resources, and encourages personal growth and development.

Tips: Travel to the places that help you find yourself. Walk beside tranquil beaches and witness the beauty of sunrise and sunset. Always prioritize your mental health. We always get better through life's lessons. There is so much to experience, both the good and bad sides of life. You can deal with it. Cultivate gratitude, try connecting with nature, practice mindfulness. Everyone's journey is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. It's essential to find the strategies and activities that resonate with you and support your well-being.

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Maeve Lewis

Campus: Cambridge
Course: MA Dramatherapy
Nationality: Irish

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor is a role I am both honoured and excited to have. As a hybrid Home/EU postgraduate student, I found my first year at ARU a little challenging. I often felt lonely and unsure if I had made the right decision in moving to the UK to study. It took me a significant amount of time to get to know people and I often had a lot of Uni work to get through. However, I hope to create a sense of community in my role as a Peer Wellbeing Mentor for those, who like me feel a bit lost and unsure. Also, as a trainee dramatherapist, I am excited to get the opportunity to use my skills and share what I have learnt with others.

Tips:

  1. Daily gratitude journaling
  2. Daily walks, runs, yoga, gym… (any type of movement is good movement)
  3. Arrange to meet a friend for a coffee/drink once a week
  4. Get enough sleep (easier said than done)
  5. Be kind to yourself
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Yasmin Mei

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Biomedical Science
Nationality: Portuguese

By being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor, I sincerely hope that I can help others see what is best about them and to fully appreciate all the parts of their being which make them so unique. We can help students connect and fine hobbies or societies, and even ways that help them find strategies to do better in classes and when managing the great amount of emotions that arise from a new and exciting phase of our lives.

Tips: Try new things regularly, as they challenge our way of thinking and allow us to grow as a person. When feeling less motivated or tired, there are always great options such as doing sports, taking some time to wander surrounded by nature, or to create something new. Reconnecting with ourselves and with what we are passionate about is essential.

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Rachel Ownsworth

Campus:  Cambridge
Course: PhD in School of Life Sciences
Nationality: British

I think it can be easy to become isolated and swamped with work as a PhD student – as a Peer Wellbeing Mentor I want to create opportunities for us to connect, relax and support each other, and just feel less alone. We’re to support you with whatever wellbeing needs you have. If you just need to vent, we’re here. If you need mental health support or resources, we can help you to access it. If you want to have a nice time with other students in the same boat as you, come along to some of our events; and if you have any ideas about wellbeing activities you’d like to see, we’ll try and make it happen!

Tips:

Make sure you’re doing something other than uni – your work is important, but you are more than your uni work! Plan to allow yourself some down time (time spent procrastinating doesn’t count).

Be big headed – imposter syndrome is the worst and it’s so easy to spiral into low self-esteem. If you do something impressive, tell somebody about it. Try to make jokes about how smart you are instead of self-deprecating ones. These are small things that can start to change your internal monologue into one that is kinder to yourself.

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Paige

Campus: Cambridge
Course: BA (Hons) Music Performance
Nationality: British

To me, being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means knowing enough to be able to be there for others, to help others feel at ease and safe in the environment we create for them. ARU students knowing we are there can be a great weight off of someone’s shoulders.

Tips: Enjoy yourself. Find your safe space and express yourself, you’ll find the right people to fill your safe space with.

“Don’t die wondering man” from my favourite movie ‘the way way back’ stick in my head daily. Go for those hard goals to reach. Get out of bed. Tell someone they look cool. Take a breath. Limit yourself to a handful of negatively thought “what ifs” and you’ll notice a healthier mind.

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Morgan Pererano

Campus: Cambridge
Course: BA Politics
Nationality: British

To me being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means being that one who people can talk to, regardless of who they are and what they need. It’s important that students know that we are here for them. Aside from the mental health support we provide, students can also benefit from help on matters of finances, grading, and balancing personal life with academic life.

Tips: Sleep, eat and shower. It’s very easy to underestimate how important these three simple things are for us, but these are forms of self-care that remind us of our self-worth. Try a form of meditational exercise such as Tai Chi, as doing so can at times help us to reset our minds if we have been thinking about stuff that makes us anxious or upset.

Spread your work load as thinly as you can. The more you do in the beginning, the less you have to do later. When the amount of work you have to do becomes too big, it becomes too hard to face, therefore making procrastination more likely to happen until the last minute. It is vital to stay on track.

Find hobbies that help with self-development – ones that challenge the mind and body. When we accomplish new things that we may have thought were impossible in the past, we begin to believe in ourselves a lot more because we know how capable we are of achieving things.

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Piers Reilly

Campus: Cambridge
Course: PhD
Nationality: British

As a PhD researcher you appear to be alone. Your research project is your own, requires you to drive it forward and give direction. It can be very easy to retreat into your niche and remain there throughout, isolated. The critical fact to remember is that this isolation is an illusion. You are bound together with many others via your school, faculty, and the shared experience of doing a PhD. Breaking this illusion is difficult but can be achieved by engaging with the various communities present at ARU. Getting involved then becomes the barrier, which as a wellbeing mentor I hope to help overcome.

Tips: Your PhD is not your life, don’t let it take over. Factor in time for sports, hobbies, or other activities important to you. If you don’t currently do any, look out for free taster sessions or university sponsored events where you can sample a wide range of options.

Photo of Keri-Ann Sargent

Keri-Ann Sargent

Campus: Cambridge
Course: BSc (Hons) Psychology with Clinical Psychology
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means I can provide support to those who, like myself, struggle with their mental health and found transitioning to university challenging and overwhelming. Knowing I can provide hope to others, not only brings a sense of satisfaction, but also fuels my passion of helping others. Being aware of peer mentor activities gives students many opportunities to make new friends and try new activities / hobbies – all of which helps boost confidence and well-being.

Tips: To improve well-being is to openly communicate with others – although it may be uncomfortable and difficult to do so, having an open and honest conversation with family or friends, is important as it ultimately allows us to heal and recover from negativity.

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Camilla Seeland

Campus: Cambridge
Course: PhD at the Global Sustainability Institute
Nationality: German

As a Peer Wellbeing Mentor, I would like to create a community of PHDs that support each other throughout their journey. Being the new student at university is never easy, and especially when starting your post-graduate studies or PhD. It’s important to not become isolated but to integrated yourself in the community. As a Peer Wellbeing Mentor, we’re here to help you through your journey, not matter how smooth or rocky it may be. We are a community where you can find friends, share experiences and learn from each other in a safe space, and receive advice on any issues you may face at any time. Lastly, we are also here to have fun! So we look forward to seeing you at our events.

Tips: Make sure you keep a healthy balance of work, social activities, the great outdoors: Because when you achieve this your PhD journey will be more fun.

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Katina Ward

Campus: Cambridge
Course: MA Children’s Book Illustration
Nationality: British

For me being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means helping to create a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all students, especially if anyone is struggling or feeling isolated.

The benefit of students knowing about the Peer Wellbeing Team means that students know there are always people to talk to and that they’re not alone. There’s a kind and welcoming community of people to connect with and relaxing activities to take part in if you want to.

Tips: Do things that light you up. It can be easy to get bogged down in uni work and deadlines but try and do at least one small thing a day that excites you and makes you feel good.

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Amy Wright

Campus: Cambridge
Course: PhD in School of Life Sciences
Nationality: British

I understand and appreciate the stresses that postgraduates can face, so I want to ensure that everyone feels a sense of community, connectedness and safety in their study and time at ARU. Postgraduate study can be lonely and insular at times, it is therefore important to be aware that there is always someone to talk to in the Wellbeing Team. The activities that we run are not only good for the mind, but a great way to meet new friends too.

Tips: If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.

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Charlie Wright

Campus: Cambridge
Course: Computer Games Technology
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor is rewarding as I can help students navigate student life and hopefully make their time at ARU enjoyable and I can pass on what helped me through my first year at ARU. The benefits for students getting involved with us include; socialising with people outside your course and meeting students who are in different years who can give advice and signpost to things that you maybe didn’t know existed.

Tips: Reach out to someone, a friend, a lecturer or a people from the Counselling and Wellbeing team at ARU. Don’t study until very late at night; you may think this will mean less work the next day but it is important to sleep. Try to set a routine and take breaks while studying. My final tip is to enjoy ARU life and if things get too much speak to your lecturer, there is help and support for you.

Chelmsford

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Beatriz Batista

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: BSc (Hons) Medical Science
Nationality: Portuguese

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor embodies my commitment to fostering holistic growth within our student community. It means being a compassionate ally, a patient listener, and a guide through life's challenges. This role is an opportunity to create a safe haven where individuals can openly share their struggles and triumphs. Witnessing personal transformations and empowering others to embrace their strengths fuels my sense of purpose. Each interaction is a chance to inspire resilience, promote mental wellness, and cultivate a culture of empathy. As a Peer Wellbeing Mentor, I am dedicated to nurturing a supportive network that uplifts every individual on their journey to self-discovery and happiness.

Tips:

Prioritise Self-Care: Make time for activities you enjoy, eat well, exercise regularly, and ensure you get enough sleep.

Connect with Others: Build a support network of friends, peers, and mentors. Join clubs, societies, or online groups to connect with like-minded individuals.

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Marilu Cruz Bravo

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: MSc Engineering Management
Nationality: Mexican

Being a Peer Wellbeing mentor is my opportunity to help students who are experiencing personal and professional challenges. I have experienced success and failure, so I can provide my perspectives, and listen to yours.

Tips: Practice the Pomodoro technique. Getting an assignment done 2 weeks before the deadline, several hours per day and not sleeping is possible but not good for your physical and mental wellbeing. Doing it little by little, in 30 minutes sessions, since you get the task so you can also relax and have fun, that’s the best stress-free way. And the quality of your work will make you feel proud of yourself.

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Rebecca Holland

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: Mental Health Nursing
Nationality: British

As a Peer Wellbeing Mentor I hope to bring a friendly face for others, someone they can go to for help. Peer Wellbeing Mentors are a listening ears when you need it and guide you to the service you may need at that time.

Tips: Your learning journey can, if you allow it, consume your life. Make sure to take time out for yourself to do the things that make you happy, for example, any hobbies you have, going out for dinner, seeing friends and family, or having a cosy night in away from studying.

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Kelvin

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering
Nationality: Nigerian

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means taking on a significant and important role in supporting the mental and emotional health of your fellow peers or students. It involves several important aspects and responsibilities that are meaningful and impactful: Supporting others, Promoting wellness, Building awareness for mental health, confidentiality.

Students being aware of peer mentors and their activities can have several significant benefits for both the mentors and their peers: Access to support, Reduce stigma, Increase comfort, Increase mental and emotional wellbeing.

Tips: I like the ARU flyer that says “you are enough!” It reminds me that no one is perfect. Everyone has their own fair share of challenges and troubles and that challenges makes you stronger!

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Tina Lu

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: PhD
Nationality: Chinese

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor involves taking on a role of support, guidance, and empathy for others in a learning or community environment. I will facilitate connections among peers, fostering a sense of community and mutual support. In the group activities, workshops, or discussions that help peers bond and share experiences. Engaging with Peer Wellbeing Mentors provides students with valuable resources, insights, and connections that can positively impact their educational journey and beyond.

Tips: Do not be shy to ask and share your weakness and happiness!!

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Fatma

Campus: Chelmsford
Course: Medicine
Nationality: Turkish

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor means that I can give back what I have learnt through my personal experiences and be a friendly face to talk to, and a shoulder to lean on. Coming to see us is a good way to make friends outside of your course and meet new people. It allows you to expand your bubble and try out new things along the way. Peer Wellbeing Mentors will be a friend who has gone through what you are going through, and they will point you in the right direction.

Tips: Try to spend time doing something other than your degree and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone!

Peterborough

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Steluta Cosmina Costea

Campus: Peterborough
Course: MSc Project Management
Nationality: Romanian

As a Peer Wellbeing Mentor I hope to offer empathetic support, sharing insights, and fostering a safe place. I hope to guide my peers towards improved mental well-being, promoting positive habits, and empowering them to overcome challenges while fostering a sense of belonging and community.

Tips: Prioritise self-care by getting adequate sleep, nourishing your body and stay active. Cultivate strong social connections for emotional support. Seek help from campus resources if needed. Practice mindfulness to reduce stress. Set achievable goals and celebrate your progress. Get involved in campus activities to meet new people. Remember, small steps contribute to a healthier, happier you.

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Dee Cutts

Campus: Peterborough
Course: BSc Adult Nursing
Nationality: British

Being able to support students at the recently opened ARU Peterborough university is an amazing opportunity to be part of something brand new. ARU has made me feel part of a family and I want other students to feel part of the family too.

Tips: Always make time for yourself doing something that makes you happy. Grab a diary and plan your time so things do not get on top of you. In your diary plan something each day that gives you the time to yourself even if it is only 30 minutes.

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Zainab Shahid Hafeez

Campus: Peterborough
Course: Biomedical Sciences
Nationality: Pakistani

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor entails offering peers sympathetic support, direction, and a safe environment to my peers to help improve their mental and emotional well-being. It includes active listening, resource sharing, and cultivating a good and positive community. ARU has been my safe space and now I want to be that for others.

Tips: Prioritize self-care: Maintain a balanced routine of study, exercise, social connections, and relaxation to support your mental and physical wellbeing. Check out ARU's student support services for guidance: ARU Student Wellbeing.

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Albus Dumbledore. Stay connected, seek help when needed, and remember that your university journey is a chapter in a much larger story.

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Majura Manoharan

Campus: Peterborough
Course: Biomedical Science
Nationality: British

Being a Peer Wellbeing Mentor allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of others. It's about supporting and helping my peers through their challenges and being there for them. As someone aspiring to pursue medicine in the future, this role aligns perfectly with my passion for helping and supporting others. By knowing about the activities of the Peer Wellbeing Mentors, students can take advantage of the resources and programs they offer, enhancing their well-being and academic success. It also creates a supportive environment where students feel comfortable seeking help and sharing their experiences.

Tips: Surround yourself with things and people that bring you joy and happiness, and do the things you love to do. Prioritise self care and remember to take breaks now and then to relax and reboot the system. Stay connected with loved ones and take care of yourself. Remember that difficult times will pass by and you will get through it all. Everything happens for a reason, don’t stress out, take a deep breath and know that everything will be okay. You are strong and you got this! Never give up! Keep working hard! We’re all proud of you for coming this far!

 

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Want to talk to someone?

The Counselling and Wellbeing Service is available to all students at ARU and offers a free and confidential service to promote mental health and wellbeing.

Cambridge: 01223 698276
Chelmsford: 01245 684271
Monday to Thursday: 9am–5pm
Friday: 9am–4.30pm

Need emergency help?

If you need emergency help, please take action straight away. If you’re worried about your safety, call 999 or take yourself to A&E.

Emergency help and crisis support