I am currently in my second semester as being part of the peer education program - specifically as a career peer - and it has been a wonderful experience. I decided to get involved with peer education because I felt like I needed to change how I was as a student. I wanted to “engage” in the university community here and give back what I could.
Being part of the peer education program has affected my personality, my long term goals, and even my education!
Within the peer education program there are opportunities to "work on you" through core competencies. Last term, I chose to work on interpersonal skills and public speaking. Before I became a career peer I was not involved in the school community. I got into class 5 minutes before it started, sat in the back row, and left class to go straight home. I did not make any friends in my first couple of semesters here. Now I have become better at approaching and making conversation, and have made many friends.
My public speaking has improved tremendously as well. I am known as an introvert and get very nervous when having to speak in public. With peer education I got the opportunity to improve with presentations and weekly meetings. Granted I am still not the most outgoing, and not the first person to volunteer to speak up, but those weekly opportunities have allowed me to get over my fears and move towards what I want to be.
Career peers also got the opportunity to work closely with staff to build professional relationships. We got to shadow their appointments and even got a coach to go to when in need of help. Being in a professional environment and learning real world applications such as resumes and cover letters will go a long way.
We also got access to resources that we may not have been aware of such as job posting boards and school workshops.
I learned so much from this experience: Technical skills on how to improve a resume, how to deconstruct a job posting, how to prepare for an interview, and soft- skills such as being able to communicate better, prioritize engagements and actively listen.
Being part of peer education has only helped me to grow and be one step closer to my goals whether they are personal or career-related. It is not a light commitment to be a career peer but it is a rewarding and worthwhile experience.