During my time as a peer helper with the International Students Services Office (ISSO) on campus, I’ve learned what I would do — and wouldn’t do — if I had the chance to be a peer helper again. Considering this was my first time as a peer helper, I was going in blind. I was unsure how to balance my social life, school work, my job, as well as my work with the ISSO, but I somehow managed to do all four successfully. However, there are things I’d do differently. Although the peer helper programs aren’t being continued, the things I learned still apply to those working on campus. For those who are unsure as to how to execute their job well — regardless of which office or campus service — here are some suggestions.
Do – Connect with your colleagues and the people you’re working with. Throughout the academic year, you’re going to be spending five hours a week with these people on campus. It may not seem like much, but it adds up. Seeing these people becomes a solid part of your routine. You’re going to want to engage with these people and work well with them. Connection and community is key.
Do – Take initiative in your role. A huge part of your on-campus job is to be apart of a professional setting. When I took on jobs as a peer helper, my supervisor ensured me that it’s to help me with my professional development. You’re going to want to create tons of new opportunities for yourself, and your office during your term. This is to prepare you for going into a job post-graduation, and you’re going to want to figure out the rhythm of an office where taking initiative is important.
Do – Know who you work well with and choose collaborative wisely. If you take on a role involving partnerships, it’s critical that you work well with your partners. Find out early on in the school year who you connect with, and go from there.
Don’t – Overwork yourself. Any office on campus will understand the importance of making school a priority, so make sure to let your supervisor know if you’re stressed, busy, or you feel like the role you’re taking on is too big and time consuming. It could lead to burnout or exhaustion only a quarter through the semester, and let’s be real — nobody wants that.
Don’t – Procrastinate. This is a job, and even though it may seem to be the last thing on your mind, it’s still important, and people do rely on you. Depending on what kind of role you take on at said office, it’s crucial you do your work efficiently and meet deadlines.
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