By: J.D. Ross
When first year students from the Class of 2017 arrived at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) two weeks ago, they were met by a team of current iSchool students who serve as peer advisors, to help with the transition to college life.
Prior to meeting their new charges, the iSchool peer advisors went through a number of training activities and skill-building exercises, including spending some time on the University’s ropes course.
“35 of our peer advisors participated,” explained Julie Walas-Huynh, the undergraduate programs manager for the iSchool. “It was a new event as part of our peer advisor training this year to build community amongst the members of the team.”
As the peer advisors scrambled up the ropes and balanced on the obstacles, they learned to work together as a team, and sharpened their communications and listening skills.
“The team building exercises relied on strong communication skills, teamwork, and looking at things with different perspectives,” said peer advisor Heather Pyle, a senior at the iSchool. “We had a fun time, completing the challenges and working together, and we built a stronger bond between all of the peer advisors.”
Neil Winston, also a senior at the iSchool, found the ropes course training regimen to be helpful in many ways. Not only did it provide him with the opportunity to work together with other advisors on hands-on activities, Winston explained, it also helped the advisors to build trust with one another.
“The ropes activity allowed us to interact with other peer advisors that we hadn’t met before, since there were a lot of new advisors this year,” said Winston. “It also helped us think outside the box and work together as a whole rather than as individuals.”
“Being a peer advisor at the iSchool allows me to meet new students in the school and helps build and broaden my social network,” said Winston. “I also enjoy helping others, and enjoy giving the freshmen advice about what classes to take, where certain buildings are, and even advice about school and life.”