Entering my third year of university (second year online), I had made it a goal of mine to try and support those who were struggling adjusting to the online environment. It isn’t for everyone, and in my opinion, poses more stress and challenges than studying in person. Being in a classroom filled with other peers help you stay focused – something that can’t be said about learning online.
Distractions are inevitable, and they are definitely the hardest part of online schooling. It’s much easier to walk out of class if you’re bored online, as opposed to being in a physical classroom. Meeting other students? Even harder than before. When the opportunity came to be a Peer Coach, I knew it would be a good fit for me. Even though it’s only been a short while, the experience that I’ve obtained has been extremely rewarding, and can be applied to both my personal and professional career. Here I will be discussing some of the main takeaways that I think will help me in the long run.
Being a part of the Academic Success Centre (ASC), professionalism is a must. Dealing with so many individuals, it’s important to learn the significance of being professional and using work appropriate language. This also includes presenting yourself in a professional manner. Showing up to work (virtually) means being well-dressed, and looking presentable.
Before joining the ASC, I didn’t realize how important this subject can be. One of the first takeaways from training was using inclusive language when doing any sort of facilitation. This allows for all participants to feel included, regardless of their gender, identity and sexual orientation. Even something as simple as turning on closed captioning in Zoom makes a big difference.
Now, even outside of work, I challenge myself to always use inclusive language when speaking, and create an inclusive environment. One of the hardest transitions for me was instead of using “guys,” which might not be seen as very inclusive into “folks,” which is much more inclusive and friendly.
This is crucial in working with the ASC. Starting with the first day, the expectation is that you will be working with a group of other students to accomplish the same goal. I can’t stress this enough, the ASC team is fantastic. The individuals I work with are dedicated to helping other students, and are extremely nice and friendly to talk to. I often work with Isha, who not only made the job transition easier, but also a friendly face that I’m able to talk to while on shift. The teamwork skills that I have learned from the ASC have already come handy in my academic career, and will be used on a daily basis.
I didn’t realize how important self-care is, and how essential it is to not only burn out, but have a fulfilling career. My previous jobs have never focused on self-care and the importance of it. In fact, I don’t ever remember a time where mental health was brought up. The ASC does a fantastic job in ensuring that not only the students participating in the offerings practice self-care, but the team at the ASC do so as well. I have also learned many different self-care techniques, ones that I have even recommended to my friends and family. For self-care help, there are plenty of resources available on the ASC website.
I believe the experiences and skills that I’ve learned from the ASC will help me in the long-run, both in my professional and personal career. I encourage any individual to consider applying for a job of a Peer Coach for the winter semester. Remember, all the steps, choices and things you do will contribute to who you are as a person.
If you are interested in joining the ASC team as an Academic Peer Helper (APH) or Peer Coach (PC), more information can be found on our website. Hiring typically takes place in March or July for the Fall semester, and in November for the Winter semester.
If you have any questions or want to know more about working as an APH, feel free to contact [email protected] by email. If you want to know more about being a PC, you can reach out to [email protected] by email. We look forward to hearing from you!