By Morgan Hancock

As a new Peer Leader, my main goal was to give back to my community and help new students transition to Paul Smith’s College. What I ended up gaining on a personal level completely surpassed my expectations and has added a great amount of value to my overall college experience. Although this list could go way beyond 5 items, here are what I consider to be the top benefits I gained by becoming a Peer Leader:

1) Self-confidence: I was never the most confident person in the world, but after being a Peer Leader and putting myself out there, that changed. It doesn’t take talent or skills to have confidence; it just takes a little bit of understanding that you lose out on 100% of the opportunities that you don’t aim for. Having a little more confidence has gotten me places I could never have imagined.

2) Experience: That’s what it’s about, right? From breaking the ice to leading a group of people, there are many traits to be gained from being a Peer Leader. Having the experience to aid your peers is a benefit that will put you a step above the rest.

3) Being a better communicator: So much is done through communication. After just one day of being a Peer Leader, you’ll gain the ability to communicate with people you’ve just met better than you ever have before. The biggest thing you’ll realize is that listening is just as important as speaking, and you’ll be able to hone both of these skills when you become a Peer Leader.

4) Decision making: Making a decision isn’t the easiest thing in the world. With the experience of being a Peer Leader, though, you’ll be able to make tough decisions with ease. The situations you encounter give you the skills to make quick decisions – and the right one at that.

5) Friendship: Last, and certainly not least. I’ve made more friends from being a Peer Leader than I can count. What’s more is that a lot of them have had a profound impact on my life. Whether it’s incoming freshmen, or your fellow Peer Leaders, there are some amazing people out there, and they’re just waiting to meet you.

These things are just a few of the benefits that you’ll gain from becoming a Peer Leader. It truly is a great experience, and one I’m sure you’ll never forget OR regret. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s being a Peer Leader.

Writer BIO: Morgan Hancock is a junior in the Forest Operations/Ecological Forest Management program at Paul Smith’s College and is from Saugerties, New York. He has been a Peer Leader for nearly two years, and is also a part of the SAF (Society of American Foresters) club, and Veteran’s club.

If you are interested in becoming a peer leader, please check your PSC email for more info and submit your application to cbringley@paulsmiths.edu by March 25th.