Michelle Sappong, a fourth-year cognitive science student, speaks about how her experience as a Peer Helper has added to the rich community of support Carleton offers to all students.
As I approach my last semester here at Carleton University, I find myself looking back and wondering how things would have been different had I decided to attend another university. I can say with absolute certainty that I don’t regret my decision one single bit. Although I am not a fan of Ottawa, Carleton University is a community that I am proud to be a part of. The students are diverse, the fun endless, and the support unparalleled. These are the qualities I always highlight to my younger friends who are considering applying to Carleton. No matter what your program, or what your struggles, there is no shortage of people dedicated to helping you at Carleton. This year, I am proud to say that I am one of them.
Working as a Promotional Peer Helper for Learning Support Services (LSS), I get to do two of the things I love best: talking to strangers and helping people. In fact, you’ve probably seen us carting around an unforgivably heavy wooden dresser that we call a “kiosk” and a giant spin wheel plastered with celebrity faces. If you’ve randomly been caught off guard by someone hollering “Want a free lollipop?”, that’s most likely us! We might post up in the atrium, or in the foyer of Southam Hall; wherever we are, we’re getting the word out. The word about what, you ask? Well, it’s our job to make sure that you take advantage of all the academic support services available to you. From writing a good essay to getting into med school, whatever you need help with, we direct you to the right place.
Every two weeks we plan and try to come up with new ways to get your attention. Then, we head out in pairs to see our hard work get put into action. The whole experience has been entirely positive for me, and I hope that we will encounter the same success throughout the winter term.
We are all students, and everyone faces his/her own academic challenges. Even those who offer help need help sometimes, and I think that is the true beauty of a Peer Helper. As a Peer Helper, I am not someone who has all the answers, but I am someone other students can relate to. No matter how many people don’t read our brochures or come and ask us for help, just by standing there with our signs and smiles, we are showing students that support does exist on campus.
Joining the LSS as a Promotional Peer Helper has been a very rewarding experience for me, not only because I get to show people the wonderful things Carleton has to offer, but also because I’ve developed many skills along the way. I’ve met many people I never would have otherwise, including co-workers whom I feel will have a lasting impact on my life at Carleton. All in all, I feel as though I’ve learned more about Carleton from my co-workers and peers than I have ended up teaching people. But most important of all, I’ve realized that no matter what sort of pickle I’m in, there is always someone willing to help, and I hope I successfully portray this message as a Peer Helper.
Getting involved on campus as a Peer Helper, volunteer, and club executive, was the best decision I made at Carleton, and it has made my fourth year the most enjoyable of all. I’ve made new friends, acquired new skills, and improved my resume. I wish I had gotten involved earlier, but unfortunately time machines are still a thing of the future. So find something you’re interested in now, and don’t hesitate to apply. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, so don’t delay, get involved today!
Submitted by Michelle Sappong, a fourth-year cognitive science student.
To learn more about the Peer Helper Program, please visit carleton.ca/seo/peer-helper-program