Written by Jonathon
In spring 2012 I began working with the Student Success Center (SSC) as a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) leader for Chemistry 101. Over the last three semesters I have fallen in love with any and all forms of peer education. I am somewhat of a hybrid student of peer education. For the past year I have consistently taught two chemistry labs each semester for the chemistry department along with tutoring and PASS through the SSC. I could almost wager that there isn’t a freshman or sophomore student in the chemistry/biology department that I wouldn’t recognize because of all the exposure I have had with these students. For me, PASS was the catalyst that taught me to love helping students.
Prior to becoming a PASS leader, my first exposure to the program was during Orientation and my first day as a UAH student. I had a PASS leader in my calculus A class. While I can only say that I went to him a few times; the PASS sessions that I attended were helpful beyond the scope of the course. Being able to interact with an upperclassman that truly had your academic success in mind was incredibly helpful. I became a PASS leader a year later; wanting to be able to help students the same way that he had helped so many. This theme is constant among many PASS leaders; many have been inspired to help once they have been helped themselves. To me, PASS seems to be a giant pay-it-forward resource that spans from one generation of PASS leaders to another.
PASS truly gives me an interesting outlook on what students in a course feel about the material, the instructor, and the college in general. PASS leaders act as somewhat of a liaison for the students to the instructor. Being able to get a group sampling of how the class is feeling about the material and bring it back to the instructors really makes for a live feedback loop that professors have been able to use to tailor lessons to a specific group of students. The best part about PASS, as cliché as it may be, is the look on a student’s face when he/she tells you that they aced the test they were so worried about in the sessions prior. Regardless of how crazy of a week I may be having with my own difficult courses, hearing how I was able to make a difference even in one student’s academic career really makes me more driven to keep pushing forward to make every PASS session count.
To learn more about PASS, please visit: http://www.uah.edu/ssc/programs/pass-program