Reflecting On My Experience As A Career Peer Educator

Reflecting On My Experience As A Career Peer Educator

By: Bonita Nath
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When I applied to be a Career Peer Educator, I was honestly feeling uncertain and afraid how the program would work for a person like me. Sure, I was involved with some other programs at the university before I decided to apply as Career Peer but this was a different as it would be the first time I would actually be advising students like myself one-on-one. Initially, I felt completely overwhelmed to learn that Career Peers are mainly helping students with resume, cover letter writing, and providing interview tips and job searching advice. In my mind I knew how much I seriously lacked in all of these areas (not joking)  What advice could I, a student who had been writing three to four page resumes all along (and thinking it’s okay), offer to other students hoping to make a good impression on employers?

Fortunately, the more than 60 hours of training I had received in two semesters had relieved my worst fears of advising students on these topics. For the first semester, I remember trying to closely capture all of the important information about career advising, resumes, and cover letters in the weekly Tuesday night meetings and workshops held for us. A good pen, notepad, bottled water, and a sharp focus was all that I needed to retain all the new and exciting information I was getting. With all of this, plus the practice advising sessions and shadowing the career staff in their advising had made me feel a lot of more comfortable about the idea of myself advising students. I feel like the entire process was like baby steps for me.I had to go through various steps: attending workshops, observing, retaining information, practicing the ‘art of advising,’ being tested on skills and knowledge I have gained on advising students on career topics that have been embedded  in me and lastly, applying all of these skills into practice when I finally started advising my peers this semester.

When all of the different Peer Programs at SFU point out that these programs not only help students but peer educators as well, this really is not a cliché statement in any way. After having advised students of all diverse educational backgrounds, I feel happy knowing that I can make their day when they come in feeling frustrated about how different their resumes are, and then I see their eyes immediately light up when I tell them that it’s completely okay if their resume is different from the thousands of resumes they have seen in their lives. At the same time, my own knowledge on resumes, cover letters, interviews, networking, and basically anything career related has immensely grown and has helped me in my own career development journey over these past two semesters (not to mention the great sense of accomplishment I have felt when I finally managed to condense my resume to two pages).

In short, my journey as a Career Peer Educator has been both wonderful and amazing. During this program, I have grown both professionally and personally and learned and gained many new skills that I previously thought I was incapable of possessing. The amazing friends and connections I have made with the other Peers, my divisional supervisor, and the entire Career Services staff is indeed one memorable experience for me that I will always cherish in my heart (not getting too emotional now…).

My biggest advice to future Career Peers and Peers in other programs is to not forget to have fun while you’re being a peer! Treasure all of the moments you spend sharing and laughing about your experiences in the program with your other peers, all of those times you have learned something new, and how a student felt when you helped him or her out. I promise you that your journey as a peer educator is one that you will truly cherish and never regret for the rest of your life.

Posted on April 25, 2014