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Exploring UofGH's Learning Support Peers program

Whether students are looking for academic support or resources or they’re looking for an opportunity to support their peers while building their skillsets, the University of Guelph-Humber’s Learning Support Peer program has a lot to offer.

Learning Support Peers (LSPs) are current students who offer support and provide general information about programs, assist with course selection, provide direction around academic resources and personal support services, and keep students informed on policies and procedures.

Further, LSPs also offer a series of Learning Skills Workshops and Make the Grade Workshops available to all students, featuring topics including:

  • Test Preparation
  • Reading and Note-Taking
  • Time Management
  • Overcoming Procrastination
  • Stress Management and Self-Care
  • Presentation Skills

“The LSPs are an extension of the Academic Advisors, offering academic support and assistance with a peer-to-peer approach in mind,” said Academic Advisor Nasreene Corpuz Kasznia. “In addition to getting to know student leaders on campus who can be viewed as mentors, the benefit for students who seek assistance and connect with the LSPs is that they have the chance to learn about new ideas, skills, and tips on how to better manage and/or balance school and personal life.

“The LSPs maintain good academic standing and are trained to not only have general knowledge of academic policies and procedures but can also refer students to various support services available on campus,” she added.

“In addition to the workshops they present, they are available to support students via drop-in/appointments online on Microsoft Teams and can be followed via their Instagram and TikTok accounts; providing a balance of both important academic related topics and fun, social activities to keep students engaged.”

One of the benefits of the Learning Support Peer program is that the LSPs themselves grow their own skillsets as they assist fellow students. Those who become LSPs get the opportunity to forge bonds with their fellow LSPs while also getting to know other members of the UofGH community from all programs and year levels.

Fortunately, that sense of connection that Learning Support Peers feel both to their colleagues and peers hasn’t been lost during the pandemic.

“Learning Support Peers work within a great team dynamic, and even in a virtual environment, they are able to excel the same way they would face-to-face on campus,” said Academic Advisor Lalita Manku. “LSPs offer many free workshops to students, and while preparing these workshops, the LSPs are able to learn new skills themselves and build upon their strengths and work with one another to create something relatable to their peers.

“Former LSPs still keep in touch with their LSP colleagues, even after graduation. Senior LSPs are in somewhat of a mentor role; when they graduate, other LSPs can fill that Senior LSP position with ease and confidence. Through numerous workshops, assisting at events, and day-to-day tasks, the Learning Support Peers feel a sense of accomplishment, on helping and being there for students just like them.

“Overall, it's the best of both worlds: GH students who assist other GH students.”

To better understand what the Learning Support Peer program has to offer, we talked to three current LSPs about their experiences with the program.

Kayla Charbonneau, Psychology, Third Year

Kayla Charbonneau
Photo courtesy of Kayla Charbonneau

What inspired you to take part in the Learning Support Peer program?

I was inspired to join the Learning Support Peers because I wanted to get involved on campus and meet students in other programs. Being an LSP has given me insight into the experiences of other students and allowed me to create programs and events that suit all sorts of students. I also saw how gratifying and flexible campus jobs are. I knew that students benefited from having their work shifts scheduled around their classes and it is something I recommend to all students, regardless of year of study.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I have been a Learning Support Peer for four semesters now and there are many things I enjoy about the program. Most of all, I like getting to know students, staff, and faculty. Through event planning and outreach, I have gotten to know some of the Program Heads for programs that I am not enrolled in. I have also met a group of bright and enthusiastic students. Part of the great part of working for a campus job is meeting like-minded people. I also enjoy the exposure to new roles that I would not normally take on. As a Psychology student, event planning and social media content creation was not in my repertoire prior to being an LSP. Now, I can say that I am confident in both areas.

What have you taken away from the experience?

This role has shown me the importance of being active on campus. It is so important to meet new people, try new things, and get involved. It has been a great opportunity for skill development and it helps me to feel connected with the University, especially in a time where we all feel a little disconnected.

Gillian DeMille, Justice Studies, Third Year

Gillian Demille
Photo courtesy of Gillian Demille

What inspired you to take part in the Learning Support Peer program?

I applied to be a Learning Support Peer because I wanted to be more involved on campus and really get the most out of my university experience.

What do you enjoy about your role?

The one thing I enjoy the most about being a Learning Support Peer is being able to relate to the students we help. For example, when conducting a one-on-one learning skills workshop with a student I find we can learn from each other when discussing the different tools we each use as a student.

What have you taken away from the experience?

When I started as a Learning Support Peer communication was definitely one of my weaknesses. Now I can honestly say after being a Learning Support Peer over the last year and a half I have much stronger communication skills and have been able to apply the skill in my education and outside of school. This is something I am very grateful to have gained from my role and without the support of my past and present coworkers I don’t think I could have achieved this.

Miranda Lacalamita, Media Studies, Fourth Year

Miranda Lacalamita
Photo courtesy of Miranda Lacalamita

What inspired you to take part in the LSP program?

Being on campus, I would walk past the LSPs at the Learning Commons Desk every day and I always thought to myself that working there was something I was interested in. I really liked the idea of “peers helping peers” and creating a safe space for students to express their concerns. Through my involvement in other school organizations, I got to know a few of the LSPs from last year and they told me they loved the job and highly recommended I apply, so I did!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Knowing that I can help make a student’s university journey easier is something that I really enjoy! Transitioning to university is already a difficult experience and the pandemic has added to the stress for many. Speaking to a fellow student can be comforting and I often relate to some of the concerns that are expressed to me. I believe that providing a support system for students can help them stay on track, achieve their goals and make the most out of their four years at the University of Guelph-Humber.

What have you taken away from the experience?

I have taken away new friendships! The whole LSP team is so nice and supportive of each other. It’s nice to have great co-workers like them! I have also gained great time management skills as I learned to balance my job as an LSP along with my other school actives and class work. Overall, I would highly suggest anyone reading this to become an LSP! It is an incredibly rewarding job that allows you to connect with your peers and further develop skills that will help you in your future career!