“PA” is a common term at Seton Hall University. Peer advisor, or usually referred to as “PA” have welcomed almost every new student enrolled at SHU.
Ryan Azzolini, a junior marketing major, graphic design and advertising minor is just one of about 50 peer advisors who work to help the freshman class of 2019 feel accepted.
Azzolini said he became a peer advisor to share his college experience with the new students at SHU. Azzolini revealed that he originally did not want to attend Seton Hall, but that changed after his Pirate Adventure weekend.
“I went from not wanting to come here at all, to loving it. This change would not have happened had it not been thanks to my PA,” Azzolini said. “I not only want to be able to share this experience with freshman, but also help them adjust to college and grow to love Seton Hall just like I have.”
Helping freshmen adjust to college is the focus of the peer advisors.
One of Azzolini’s freshman mentees, Samantha Seitz said that she sometimes feels homesick, but is always comforted knowing she has Ryan and her PA group for support.
“I feel so close to everyone who is in my group and really it’s all thanks to Ryan. He is such a fun PA and really makes sure we are having the best experience possible at all times,” Seitz said.
This was Azzolini’s second year as a PA and his least favorite part of the job is saying goodbye to the senior peer advisors who graduate. “We’re not just coworkers we’re a family,” Azzolini said.
The peer advisors become close during training and even plan their own trips to places like the beach and six flags.
“Our responsibilities include running the pirate adventures,” Azzolini said. “We work closely with a group or two groups of around 20 to 25 freshman and their freshman studies mentor.”
Azzolini often sees students from last year around campus. “They’ve all matured so much in a year, I still see them as my freshman students,” Azzolini said. He has cultivated relationships with his students from last year that have stayed with him over the past 12 months.
“I’ve actually even introduced some of my new students to my old ones to help them get more involved and acclimated to Seton Hall,” Azzolini said. He describes the position of a peer advisor as being the student’s’ first friend on campus.
Alexandra Gale can be reached at email@example.com