It’s been a great year to be a Peer Advisor, and we hope it’s been an even better year to be a freshman! We each want to thank you for making this year absolutely amazing, and making our jobs incredibly worthwhile.
Take a break from studying for finals and check out some advice from each of the Peers. And until next year, have a great summer!
Staying present and mindful in this moment will help you out in the long run
Boy oh boy, it’s pretty incredible to write a farewell post for Peer to Peer. The biggest nugget of knowledge I’d like to leave you with is how much I’ve enjoyed being a Peer Advisor; it was truly a wonderful feather to put in my cap that is the college experience. Thank you to everyone who came in and talked to me about their first year, I became a better advisor in each session and I hope we were all a helpful resource to you all!
It’s pretty difficult to write a goodbye post that doesn’t sound pedantic, patrimonial, polemic, and all other sorts of horrible p-words. I guess the most important thing to remember is that the biggest lesson I learned in college won’t be the biggest thing you learn, and maybe that as a theme is the most important thing we all can learn.
In conclusion, I actually do have something to share, and I actually picked it up from conversations with students I’ve advised. The best way to think about your major seems to be imagining it as a home base – where do you feel the happiest, most excited? I think this visualization tool is a handy one to keep around in these trying times of young adulthood, where our “home” seems split between so many different places.
Maybe this metaphor can’t extend too far, because you should obviously leave your home sometimes and get outside your comfort zone. For the sake of the blog, however, I’m going to push it. Your friends, your major, your clubs – do they feel like a supportive home? If so, forget fears about life after college. Staying present and mindful in this moment will help you out in the long run, even if it doesn’t always feel like the most “practical” decision. Plus, vibes are contagious! A chill you = a chill world.
Take advantage of every resource AU has to offer
It’s crazy to think that this year has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was sending out my first email introducing myself to first year students who had just moved on campus. Now, eight months (and several emails) later, I can look back on what a year it’s been. I have learned and grown so much in this position, and I owe all of that to the awesome students who came in for appointments or even just sent me an email. I hope I have been helpful.
I could write some sappy advice, but Buzzfeed does it better, so I’ll leave you with this — you owe it to yourself to fully take advantage of every resource AU has to offer. Almost every Peer Advising appointment I had this year included some sort of referral to a campus resource — whether it was academic advisors and faculty advisors, professors in office hours, or the helpful folks at the math tutoring lab, writing center, and ASAC. The resources on this campus are endless. Never again in our lives will we be in an environment where so many people are committed to helping us succeed, and I believe that fully taking advantage of the network of resources at this school is crucial to making the best out of our time here.
It’s not about needing help, it’s about getting the outside perspective
Being a Peer Advisor as a senior has been like coming full circle with my freshman self. Whenever I feel like I’m sending a barrage of emails, I remember that I was one of those students ignoring emails from her peer advisor. I didn’t feel like I needed help, and I understood the academic things that might have been relayed to me. And that’s the biggest thing I learned as a Peer. It’s not about needing help, it’s about getting the outside perspective. Yes, I have explained the General Education Program umpteen times, but I have also explained using time better, problem solving about terrible roommates, and all the nonacademic things that come with college.
Eventually, I learned these things on my own, and so will our students in the next years. But having these things down earlier is helpful too. So it’s okay that I didn’t see my Peer Advisor four years ago, but maybe I’d be a slightly different student. From my time as a peer advisor, my sage advice is to do more than just what’s necessary. If you feel like you need to do it, then maybe you’re running into an issue you could have avoided. So go to office hours, hit the Writing Center, and see your Peer Advisor! These are not just things people say, they are good ideas.
This has been an incredible year and a non-stop learning experience. Thank you Alicia, Elaina, Joanna, Brandon, and Grace for making my last year at AU a great one.
You don’t exist in the future, yet
All I can really think to say at this moment is that it’s been a really incredible year as a Peer Advisor. I’ve truly learned a lot in this experience, and while this sounds weird when I say it, I grew to care a lot more about my students than I was expecting. It was so nice to be able to sit down and talk with students, see how they’re doing, what they’re getting involved in, and help them to find their place at AU.
If there’s one thing that I wish I had known as a freshman, it’s that there is so much time to make decisions that focusing on the Right Now is really important. There are a lot of things in college that tell you to focus on the future, which can make it difficult to remember that you don’t exist in the future yet. When I was a freshman, I spent a lot of time worrying about where I would be in four years that I wasn’t concerned with making the most out of the four years in between orientation and graduation. But it’s important to focus on yourself right now.
Finally, embrace being undecided. That’s the attitude that eventually saved me when I was a freshman and sophomore. I knew a lot of people that were so focused and concentrated on sticking with what they thought they were going to be when they came to college that exploring anything else was strenuous and seemed pointless to them. But if I hadn’t loved being undecided, I wouldn’t have seen the general education classes as amazing opportunities for exploration – and without those classes, I wouldn’t be in the disciplines that I’m in now.