During my time at Carleton, I have had the opportunity to partake in many extra-curricular opportunities. The one experience that I have consistently participated in each year is being a Facilitator in the Bounce Back Program! Bounce Back came to my attention at the end of my first year. I applied to be a Facilitator because it looked like a flexible job on campus that I could easily balance with my studies. It appealed to me based on the role of a mentor having the capacity to help others. Being a Facilitator proved to be much more than just a flexible job as a mentor. There are a few key reasons why I will continue to work with the program and happily contribute to its development.
Developing a sense of empathy!
As a student who sees herself as hard working and very involved on campus at this point in her university career, it is easy to lose sight of common struggles facing students and a lack of connection some students may feel in the Carleton community. Stepping outside of my commitments and into the perspective of a first year student helps me to develop a sense of empathy for the unique pathways that other students take. It is easy to take for granted the amount of work that goes into the small skills that even I have yet to master after my third year of university! It is important to remember that everyone has a different experience in university and being a mentor with Bounce Back has helped me to appreciate these disparities.
Refining communication skills!
Supporting students in a one-on-one environment requires a level of communication that is effectively attained through training and practice. I have received such valuable training through the Bounce Back program that allows me to create a safe space in which students can open up and speak about the issues they may be having. Even further, it takes some direction and practice to master how to actively listen and then follow up with powerful questions. When listening to someone, it is essential to highlight what is important to them and figure out how you can help guide them to achieving their personal goals.
Mentorship is such an amazing opportunity to develop skills that are transferable to my own journey. Although some of the study skills reviewed with mentees may sound easy to master, through my time with Bounce Back, I have discovered so many new ways to organize my commitments and to approach new academic material. Being a mentor in the program allows me to stay on my A-game and to research new ways to approach the same study skills in order to adapt to the preferred learning style of new mentees. What this means for me is that I have a diverse amount of resources right at my fingertips to allow me to continue tweaking my own skills.
I would highly recommend applying to the Bounce Back Program to be a Facilitator! If my top 3 reasons are not enough to convince you, then focus on some of the initial aspects that I considered, such as the flexibility of having a job on campus. Regardless of the reasons you choose to apply to join the team, you will be surprised by the amount of personal development that can come out of a program that also helps you give back to the Carleton student community.
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