Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sharing Nugget #21

#21: Peer Helping.

This is my entry for the journal submission for my facilitation and counselling module:

How Peer Helping touched my life.

Peer Helping?

Facilitation and counseling?

A year ago, I won’t have given them any significant attention. All I needed is my leadership skills, I thought. Yes, I have achieved a lot in my short 2 years in SMU. Heck, they even gave me an award for it.

But, where do I go from here?

Do more events? Continue to lead student organizations? No no no… I am tired. I have gone through a burnt-out last term. Enough. I have given enough…

Then the answer dropped on my lap.

Over the summer, I am exposed to facilitation in experiential learning. It changed my life. There is a way to let people own the learning. We don’t need to advice.

In the spacious classroom, I sat at a corner – my favorite sitting position in a room – so that I can observe people, and not having the uneasy feeling of been watched. The classroom was well-lit naturally, the mood was relaxed, and the lecturer was fun and engaging. However, I could not ignore the lingering weight on my body. The lecturer, and the new counselor who sat in, taking a position behind me, served unknowingly as a reminder of the difficult times I am going through.

During the last few intense days, I was drained emotionally. What kept me from a breakdown was that there were friends who listened when I needed to talk. Of the three who I really opened up to, two are peer helpers.

Thus, I have personally felt the difference a person can make - by “peer helping”. I have been touched by peer helping.

This reinforced my new-found belief in peer helping. When I signed up for ‘faci and counseling’, my intention was to learn the skills to be able to engage people and if necessary, help them. These are essential soft skills to do facilitation in experiential learning. Now that I have been ‘helped’, my conviction has strengthened. It will be a skill-set that can carry me through life.

Now that I am back on the ground CCA wise, I can pay more attention to building relationships while serving the school. (Something in me does not allow me to sit still and not participate in student life) I may have seen too much of the politics in SMU student life. But I have not reach out enough to the people who makes the positive difference. I have been concentrating on the big picture for half my SMU life. Now it’s time to be personal.

I look forward to future lessons, and the difference I can make for my two “clients” and others who come along and need a listening ear. I am hungry for the learning. And excited about how I can grow with my friends…

The lecturer’s sharing about the importance of listening, not judging and not giving advice drew a smile on my face. I slowly drift out from my reflections.

Where do I go from here?

Facilitation and counseling.

Peer helping.


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