When I sent in my application, I really had no idea what the Drop-In Center was, and I didn’t really get a good idea of it until halfway through my interview. Yet somehow becoming a Peer Advocate was one of my favorite experiences at Montclair State – and my affection for it is still growing! As a Peer Advocate, I have found myself pushing carts of huge mirrors through the Student Center during the Mirror Project (and accidentally breaking some of those mirrors), collecting pine cones outside of Schmidt Hall for a holiday craft workshop, and directing models at our Body Acceptance Week fashion show. I think it's safe to say being a Peer Advocate is a one of a kind experience! The Drop-In Center serves as an excellent platform for students who are interested in health-related issues to explore their passions in a safe, friendly, and creative environment (and the same goes for students who are passionate about making buttons!). I spent almost the entire year working on developing a skin-care workshop, and when the day finally came to implement it was way more rewarding than any last day of final exams could ever be! The Peer Advocate experience is what you make of it – whether you master the art of operating moody office equipment, performing condom demonstrations, or hanging bathroom posters with one hand –big things can come from small cottages!
Being a commuter graduate student taking night classes, I did not expect myself to get involved on campus. That was until I saw the application to be a Graduate Assistant for Health Promotion and saw an opportunity to not only gain experience in the field of health education/public health but also saw it as an opportunity to get to know the university. It was truly great being able to interact with students and the campus community. In addition, I built some great friendships during my time at Health Promotion that have lasted outside the walls of the Drop-In Center. I will also say that my public speaking skills have definitely improved. Once you talk about safer sex to groups of college students, you realize you can comfortably talk about anything in front of groups of people!
I applied to be a Peer Advocate the summer before my freshman year hoping that if I got in I would make friends, and get to teach people about healthy living. Luckily for me I got the chance to be a Peer Advocate and make those two hopes come true! Being a Peer Advocate has also given me many different opportunities to be a part of projects and events that I'm interested in, and plan my own successful pet-therapy event, "Furry Friends For Finals"! I've loved every hour I've spent with the Health Promotion crew and I can't wait spend many more in the little cottage on campus.