If you answered “yes” to any of the two questions, becoming a peer educator may just be right for you! Let Jordan Robinson, a 4th-year Sociology student, tell you what valuable skills and experiences she gained from volunteering and why you should volunteer too!
Q: What organization you are involved with and why/how you got involved?
A: I am involved with SFU Learning and Writing Peer Educators. I became involved when a peer educator came into one of my classes and explained what the program is about and what she had accomplished in the program. I decided to become a peer educator because it sounded like an opportunity to have fun, to help others and to learn a lot!
Q: How/what you are contributing?
A: In the Learning Commons, I provide learning and writing support for students. I often offer advice or suggestions to students based on my own experiences.
Q: What you are learning from your volunteer work?
A: My volunteer experience in the Learning Commons has given me the opportunity to develop my own writing skills. During our weekly meetings, student or staff presentations are given to peer educators to help us to develop our knowledge and skills in many different areas – writing in specific disciplines, the writing process, grammar strategies, etc.
Q: What does a typical “shift” look like?
A: A typical shift is 1-2 hours long. Before I arrive I look at the online server to see if I have any consultations booked. If I do, I prepare for the consultation by getting together materials which may be useful during the appointment. When I arrive, I check to see if my appointment has arrived – if so, we get started!
Q: What kind of people you get to meet/work with?
A: I have had the opportunity to meet students from all different disciplines. The diversity of our volunteer team allows us to share knowledge with one another. It is nice because there are many opportunities to get to know the other volunteers!
Q: Why you are passionate about what you do/why you continue to volunteer
A: I enjoy working with my fellow students because I can relate well to their experiences. I enjoy learning and I want to be able to share that with others. I continue to volunteer because I have enjoyed my time in the learning commons and the positive experiences I have had working with students.
Q: Why you find rewarding/challenging in the volunteer positions you took on
A: Sometimes students will ask questions that I am unsure of the answers to – although it is difficult to say so, I will explain to them that I do not know. At the same time, it is very rewarding to be able to help students. I really enjoy seeing the same student several times – I feel like it gives me a better chance to get to know the students and really assist them with what it is that is causing them trouble.
Q: What would you say to others interested in getting involved with the organization you volunteer with?
A: I would say JOIN! It is a great experience – in addition to helping others, you will find that you improve yourself.
Q: Why do you think it is important for other SFU students to get involved as volunteers/engaged citizens?
A: It gives you the opportunity to get to know and help others whose experiences are quite different from your own.