Connecting Students to the University Community

Noam & Ayelet

First Year Not Alone

First Year Not Alone is a program run jointly with the Hebrew University Student Union, connecting incoming students with a second- or third-year student in their field. The mentors provide guidance, help students get their bearings, and help the newcomer acclimate to student life.

Noam Malka studies in the School of Nutritional Sciences. As an incoming student, he remembers being very overwhelmed and confused about his classes, requirements, and general university bureaucracy. Recalling his first year, “It was a terrifying experience. I truly believe that the more we know to expect, the better we cope.” After overcoming the initial challenges, he got on his feet and realized his potential to help others. “I like helping, and if I have some extra time and can help, why not volunteer to mentor a clueless, incoming student?”

Noam signed up as a mentor and was assigned to Ayelet, an incoming student who was also studying in the School of Nutritional Sciences.

"The involvement of a mentor in an incoming student’s life may be the difference between that student dropping out or excelling in their studies."

                   - Noam Malka

Ayelet recalls her first weeks on campus. “The university framework was unlike anything I’d ever done. I had a lot of questions and concerns, and didn’t know who to ask. I felt like I was drowning.” After Noam called, Ayelet no longer felt alone. He helped her pick classes, provided insight and tips into different courses, and was always available to listen and help. She would often call Noam for advice. Slowly, they became friends beyond the mentorship program.

Towards the end of her first year, Ayelet decided she wanted to follow Noam’s example and volunteer as a mentor, to help an incoming student the same way that Noam helped her. She called her students before the opening of the school year, helped them pick classes, and showed them the campus. Throughout the semester, Ayelet offered study tips and, towards the end of the first semester, ensured final exams went smoothly.

Ayelet’s relationship with her mentees has also extended beyond academics, and they often consult with her on other matters.

“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to take part in this amazing program and provide my students with a sense of security. It is crucial that they feel they have someone to approach with questions.”

              - Ayelet Bitan