The Lived Experience Of Latina/o Peer Mentees: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach

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This research is about the peer mentee experience of Latina/o students. For this purpose, a group of nine participants were selected, who were part of a peer mentoring program in a Mid-Atlantic public university. The experiences they shared were interpreted through the methodological lens of hermeneutic phenomenology. The purpose of this study is to begin filling in one of the voids in the mentoring practice, which is the experience of peer mentees, and what this study reveals is that the peer mentee experience is the result of loneliness and prejudice that Latina/o students are able to overcome when they have a good peer mentoring experience. This interpretation is done following Clark Moustakas' philosophy of being. Peer mentees receive guidance and help alleviating their solitude, which in this study is interpreted as being-with. Consequently, peer mentees find purpose and are reminded of the reason why they stay in college, which herein is interpreted through the existential concept of being-for. Finally, this study also reveals that being a peer mentee can help finding or making sense of being in college and recovering a sense of belonging, which is interpreted through the phenomenological concept of being-with. The recommendations of this study to improve this practice involve fostering community, creating a sense of belonging, and advocating for a pedagogical experience that is liberated of prejudices and assumptions about Latinas/os, in addition to continuing the support of peer mentoring.