Over our time at Carleton, we will likely have the opportunity to try on many different roles. One of these roles, and a tremendously rewarding one at that, is my role as a Peer Helper. There are many Peer Helpers around campus, in various departments, and they do amazing work. I have the privilege to be a Peer Helper at the Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS), running Developmental Skills Workshops. I wanted to be a Developmental Skills Workshop Facilitator for the leadership experience, because I love to teach. What I didn’t realize at the time I accepted my position, was just how rewarding of an experience this would turn out to be. Yes, I get to be a leader, I get to stand in front of a group of people (yes, in an aforementioned blazer) and deliver a presentation and I get to sit behind the Help Desk and answer the phone. But what you don’t often see, is the behind-the-scenes. As a Peer Helper at CSAS, I get to attend Yoga Night and Movie Night and have monthly birthday parties in the staff lounge. I get to have snacks and access to resources. But, most importantly, I get to work alongside some amazing people.
For their privacy, I will not name any names, but I will say that if I haven’t already gotten you thinking about joining the Peer Helper program next year, then the amazing people who are part of the Peer Helper team should definitely go in the “Pros” column. During weekly team meetings we are able to discuss our successes and stressors in our role, and then work as a group to think of solutions. If you have further concerns, you are always able to email or meet with your team leader or supervisor, and the professional staff are always there to support you, with some of their doors being, quite literally, open. I can’t even begin to thank my supervisor for the support she has given me this semester, and the amount of compassion and understanding she has shown. Above all else, being a Peer Helper at CSAS is being part of a team, a group, a collective.
I hope that some of you will join the Peer Helper team after reading this. Apart from facilitating workshops, Peer Helpers are also involved promoting CSAS on social media, running English Conversation Sessions and doing a myriad of other jobs in departments other than CSAS, so there really is something for everyone. Yes, I get to teach in my role, but I also have done so much learning. Learning how to be a good listener, learning presentation skills, learning how to log data and other administrative skills, and learning that the best thing to be a part of is a team. I am so grateful to be a Peer Helper.
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