Peer Advisers adjust to welcoming first-year students virtually

Despite the changes brought to this fall semester from COVID-19, Seton Hall’s peer advisers are continuing to help the freshman class transition into college life smoothly.

“It was a big shift from the past two years, but Teams and technology have helped a lot,” Anne Marielle Jerez, a senior political science major and coordinator for the peer advisers, said. “We’re just adapting to this new form of modality, and we’re just kind of going with the flow because right now, there’s a lot of things we can’t control.” 

As peer advisers grapple with the new arrangement, they are staying connected with students and keeping them engaged throughout the semester.

“Unfortunately right now due to classroom occupancy, I cannot be in the classroom with them, but I still try to set up game nights with them,” Jerez said. “Last night, we played ‘Among Us’ and I know that’s the big thing right now, and that’s just a great way to get to know them as well.”

Meghan O’Brien, a freshman English and creative writing major, said she is grateful for the openness her peer adviser has shown both inside the virtual classroom and out.

“I know she’s always there to help me if I need her, and I’m really grateful that I have someone there to help me adjust to college life—even though it’s online this semester,” O’Brien said.

With the assistance of technology, peer advisers have found it relatively easy to adapt. Joseph Kajon, a sophomore mathematics major and peer adviser, said technology has played a major role in helping him bond with his students.

“Now I think I’m closer to my students than I was then,” Kajon said. “Over the summer, I had a one-on-one call with almost all my students, except like one or two who couldn’t find time. I think that really helped. I don’t think I would’ve done that if it was in person.”

Kajon also said that although the circumstances are not ideal, he appreciates how well the peer advisers have been able to adjust.

“Since everyone’s more comfortable than they would’ve been with technology, we’re trying to utilize that to our advantage, communicating with them through Teams and calls just so that we can get to know each other,” He said. “It doesn’t fully substitute the personal connection that you would make in person, but I think it does a good job—pretty close to it.”

Sarah Chodnicki, a sophomore social work and Spanish major, said that in terms of being a peer adviser she does not feel the pandemic has troubled her.

“With their Pirate Adventure, even though everything was virtual, it was just super fun to see everyone be so excited,” Chodnicki said. “And personally, I love Seton Hall… So, I kind of made it my personal responsibility to make sure that they felt that kind of enthusiasm that I had.”

“All the peer advisers have such a passion for the school and really just want to help students and I’m really happy to find like-minded people through that position,” Kajon said. “Just knowing that I’m helping students in their journey through college makes me really happy.”

Peyton Hruska can be reached at peyton.hruska@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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