The application for the 2016-2017 FYE Peer Leader position is now available! As we thought about how to describe this opportunity to work with new, first-year students, we quickly determined that the people who could best represent this role are the current PLs…so here they are, with incredible things to say!
My first year didn’t go as planned–I struggled BIG TIME and it wasn’t until recently (three years later) that I started to find my niche. Becoming a Peer Leader helped me to fall back in love with Ohio State. I always wondered what good could possibly come from struggling in my first year, but through the Peer Leader role I have had the honor of sharing those experiences in hopes of helping people find their own niche here at Ohio State.
The Peer Leader role will impact your entire Ohio State experience. It is so much more than a job; to me, it has been a transformative and educational experience. The impact is largely due to the amazing people I have met through the position–both fellow Peer Leaders and the FYE professional staff–and the friendships I have built. This position has made this my best year at Ohio State so far!
When I first applied to the Peer Leader position, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and how much the position will make me grow. It was a life-changing decision to apply, as I met and worked with the most caring, passionate people I have ever encountered. The most rewarding experience has been supporting underrepresented students as they transition to a large institution. With intensive training, this position will push you to be a better ally for those who cannot go through this first year experience alone.
Several times a week, I get texts and emails from coworkers, supervisors, and even first-year students encouraging me to be healthy, happy, and successful in my own journey. I feel like I have 300 Peer Leaders of my own that want the best for me.
This job will make you a better friend. When you interact with first-year students as a Peer Leader, the most important thing to do is to care about them. How do you show that you care? Listening empathetically, asking questions, and being their biggest fan. The Peer Leader role has required me anticipate what others need. This shift in your character, toward becoming a more selfless individual, will help you in your other relationships. The qualities that make me a better Peer Leader have also made me a more thoughtful daughter, sister, and friend.
It is easy for me to look back on my experience as a PL with a smile, and I can confidently say that it has been the best decision I have made in my college career. The best part is that it never feels like work. I have met my best friends on this staff, developed meaningful relationships, and gained skills that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.
This position is rewarding and allows you to develop more than you might expect. Many of the skills I have learned and practiced through this position, such as being a more empathetic listener, have easily been applied to all areas of my life. Personally, it has allowed me to deepen many of the other relationships in my life.
I have met so many amazing people through this position. The first-year students I have been working with are great, and to see them grow throughout the year is truly inspiring. Whether though a student organization or a campus job, I love seeing first-year students find their home away from home on campus and follow their passion.
This position has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have learned so much about myself and have been able to find my values and capitalize on my strengths. I have also been able to meet so many amazing people–my co-PLs are some of the greatest people and the students I have interacted with have taught me so much; I was so lucky to get to experience Ohio State along with them as they navigate their first year.
The PL position will test how you find your identity. It’s not about putting on a show, or impressing anybody; rather, it’s about being real with who you are, what you are about, and the hardships that you face in life. Dependence on others’ approval for your self-worth and identity doesn’t work with this job.
As a leadership studies major, I have heard the term “servant leadership” come up in many of my core classes. I adopted the term quickly and identified myself as a servant leader; however, it wasn’t until this position that I truly and fully understood the meaning of giving yourself wholeheartedly to others. This position taught me the power of a single relationship, how to let go of positional leadership and power, and most importantly find pure happiness in paying forward my Ohio State experience to better the experiences of others.
The Peer Leader position has taught me how to truly listen to not only first-year students, but also my friends, peers, and mentors. I’ve learned that people usually have more to say before I share my advice and opinions. Sometimes, being a leader is simply being someone who can be trusted and truly wants to provide the support and care that students need.
An interesting thing about this position is the self awareness that comes with it. Through the work of helping others, you develop a better understanding of yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. It’s been rewarding to see how much the position has changed me (and will probably continue to change me) in that respect.
Anyone can be a Peer Leader–whether you are extroverted or introverted, this role will help you grow into the person you want to be. I wasn’t even going to apply in the first place; the role seemed too much for an introverted person like myself, but I’ve always wanted to make an impact on our campus. This role has given me more confidence in my ability to be a leader and advocate on campus and that has allowed me to promote confidence in first-year students to build a successful year.
Applications are due Jan. 31, 2016–learn more at go.osu.edu/FYEpeerleader.