Why I’m a Peer Supporter

Jay, one of the Association's Peer Supporters, talks about their experience volunteering with the service.

Why I’m a Peer Supporter

I really enjoyed my first undergraduate degree, although it wasn’t always plain sailing, there were times when I felt demotivated, times when life made it very complicated, times when I wondered why I was doing it.  But the whole experience broadened my outlook, gave me confidence and a huge feeling of self-worth.  So much so that I wanted to give something back, wanted to help people who were having a difficult time with their studies.  

What do we do? 

There are two main facets of our service.  We answer queries as and when they come in on a very flexible rota basis. Sometimes a student might just need something clarifying, or a couple of simple suggestions to overcome whatever problem they’re experiencing.  But quite often they need a bit more support than this, in which case one of us agrees to take them on, and we provide a friendly listening ear by email.  We also have lots of resources that we can use to signpost them to additional sources of information and support.

What do I get out of it?

It usually takes a lot for a student to reach out – and their palpable relief when they realise that we’re here to help them, we’re students just like them, we’re non-judgemental, we’re not officialdom, we know how it feels to be sitting like a rabbit in the headlights in front of a blank word document. There is nothing more satisfying than a student saying – I’ve got a great mark for my TMA, thank you so much for helping with my motivation. Or knowing that having you to ‘talk’ to makes a big difference to an anxious student.  And being part of a team, with lots of back up when we need it, is good too.  

Why should you do it? 

It doesn’t take up much time, you can easily be getting on with studying while spending a session monitoring the enquiries if it’s quiet. You get on-line training and ‘How To’ crib sheets for most queries that are likely to occur.  And a more experienced supporter to buddy you for the first few months while your confidence grows. We are busy just now and we always need new supporters, as those who have finished their degrees leave us. And it looks good on your CV. 😊

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Peer Support

Peer Supporters are OU students who operate under a pseudonym to help maintain confidentiality and anonymity when communicating with students. Contact them today at: https://www.oustudents.com/peer-support