Since its inception in January 2015, the Peer Advisor Academy has helped recruit and train LaGuardia Community College students for department-based advising roles throughout the college. Peer Advisors must complete mandatory training and professional development workshops where they’re introduced to a variety of advisement tools critical to their work with students, faculty and staff.
Not only do Peer Advisors help students understand the process of course selection, degree mapping and other college services, Advisors also draw from their own experience and knowledge as LaGuardia students to mentor and guide students on their advising caseload. Here are some of the thoughts and experiences shared by three students as they reflected on their experiences as Peer Advisors.
“When I first became a Peer Advisor, I wanted to help as many people as possible. I learned to be careful with what I say and how to evaluate a situation. I am so happy I took this opportunity to work under the Peer Advisor Academy because I learned so many skills throughout the semesters as a Peer Advisor. I am able to communicate more efficiently with people and understand that we’re all human.”
“I would like to share an experience I had today (5/30/19). A student from my class was freaking out because he didn’t know what to do with a course he could no longer withdraw from. I sat with him and explained what options the student had and he felt “worthless”. I asked for his hand and told him to look at me. I told him to repeat after me “I am not a burden. I am worth more than what I believe. I made a mistake and that’s okay, I am human. I will push and I will get past this.” After that, he asked for a hug because he said he needed to hear that from someone. I told him he is more than welcome to stop by the English Department for the next two weeks if he ever needs a moment to de-stress and a minute to talk to someone; that I am available at his service. It’s moments like this that I am grateful for that I have a job to help students that are just like me feel better about their current situation.”
“Something I would like to pass on to the new and coming Peer Advisors is that people just need to be heard. Students want to be heard. They want to be understood and the best part about being a Peer Advisor is that you are able to relate to them because you are a student as well. So please, the one thing I ask is to be prepared to listen to these student’s stories and let them know that you’re here for them because you will give them a chance to express themselves and you’ll be able connect with them.”