Jasasekara grows from mentee to mentor

· 3 min read

Jasasekara grows from mentee to mentor

Jayasekara, a sophomore psychology student from Omaha, credits the WHT program for helping her get her footing when arriving on campus as a first-year student.
Dinushi Jayasekara, a sophomore psychology student from Omaha, credits the William H. Thompson program for helping her get her footing when arriving on campus as a first-year student.

When coming to college, finding your people is everything. For Dinushi Jayasekara and many others in the William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community, their first-year peer mentor groups offer an instant sense of belonging that helps smooth the sometimes-rocky transition into college.

“It’s so nice because, for me, none of my family had been here — no one in my life knew their way around campus or the general the ins and outs, but my mentor did,” explained Jayasekara. “My first day here I was on Google Maps walking in circles before my mentor helped me figure out where to go.”

The WHT Scholars Learning Community offers students from diverse backgrounds scholarships, resources, social opportunities and peer mentorship to strengthen their on-campus experience.

For Jayasekara, having a peer mentor meant having someone to remind her that it’s okay not to have all the answers.

“One piece of advice my mentor gave me that really stuck with me was telling me that I’m not always going to get it right,” she remembered. “I was really scared for my first midterms, but my mentor helped me realize that it’s okay if I make mistakes as long as I learn from them.”

Now a peer mentor herself, Jayasekara is carrying the torch by having her own group of mentees to pass along the wisdom, advice and support she received as a first-year Husker.

“I try to focus on the mental health aspect of coming to college with my mentees. College can be very lonely, and I like to remind them that myself, WHT and other mental health resources around campus are always there for them.”

And although she’s enjoying being a mentor, Jayasekara knows that she’s still learning and discovering right alongside her mentees.

“A lot of people think that the mentor/mentee relationship is a one-way street where I’m just giving advice constantly. In reality, I’m learning a lot from my mentees, whether it’s different ways of communicating or things happening on campus. They’re teaching me things that I’m excited to pass along and carry forward.”

The WHT program has also helped Jaysekara get a head start on her professional career. Through connections made with staff in the program, she’s secured a job as a perioperative assistant at Bryan Health that’s laying the foundation for her professional career.

“I want to be a cardiovascular perfusionist, and now I get to shadow the perfusionists in the operating room through this opportunity. My program coordinator at WHT reached out to some healthcare professionals in their network on my behalf, and then I got the job. WHT really tries to help you with every little thing they can.”

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