Jasrina Kaushal, a third-year integrated science student, writes about the confidence she’s developed and knowledge gained through giving presentations as a Peer Helper in the Health and Counselling Services office.

My name is Jasrina Kaushal, a third-year integrated science student with a concentration in health science, and this is my story. This year I have had the opportunity to participate as a health and counselling Peer Helper. When I first applied for the position, I was hoping to gain some insight into the health field by volunteering at Health and Counselling Services in the Carleton Training and Technology Centre (CTTC). As I would like a future in the medical field, I was hoping this position would provide some insight, as well as some hands on experience working at the health clinic and with students.

I had no idea that I would eventually be giving presentations and meeting all sorts of interesting people. As a result, I definitely gained a lot of self-confidence this term. It can be quiet nerve-racking giving a presentation at 9:00am to a class of sleepy first-year students who don’t seem interested in anything you have to say! I’ve realized that the secret is to try to engage the students into your presentation; that’ll keep them awake, and help you score a better presentation overall. As an example, for our presentation, we used the game of Jeopardy to have them compete against each other, while teaching them important information on stress awareness.

Other than presentations, my role as a Peer Helper also involves daily office work and challenges, such as battling with the photocopier to print 30 double-sided sheets (harder than it looks), as well as making and printing brochures to place in the office and other resource centres around campus. I also helped out with the flu clinics and various presentations at the Student Experience Office.

Over the course of the semester I developed many skills, but the biggest development is definitely my confidence level. I feel like I can tackle anything that needs to be presented. I’ve also cultivate my interpersonal skills, so I am better-able to communicate with students and co-workers.

I hope I have made some impact through my involvement through presenting important topics that students may not always have the information for, such as alcohol and marijuana use, sleep, healthy relationships, and stress awareness. One of my biggest challenges throughout this program was getting all my hours for the week completed. I know five hours is not a lot of time, and is easily manageable for most people. However, with novice planning skills, full course load, and part-time job on the side, I often found myself having to pull many all-nighters to finish my course work or study for mid-terms. To overcome this challenge, I tried putting in more peer hours on weeks when I had less school-work to worry about; that way I could come in for fewer hours during weeks I had midterms or huge reports due. This resulted in better productivity and me improving my time management skills.

Although I have only been working as a Peer Helper for a semester, I would definitely recommend this position to anyone.  It is a great way to get involved in the community, learn new things, and meet new people. For me, this experience isn’t just something I can put on my Co-Curricular Record (CCR), it’s a stepping stone into my future; being involved in the community and helping others along the way. So, for any student reading this that wants to get involved, I highly recommend volunteering as a Carleton University Peer Helper!

Submitted by Jasrina Kaushal, a third-year integrated science student.

To learn more about the Peer Helper Program, please visit carleton.ca/seo/peer-helper-program


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