Peer Leader Brittany P.
1. What is your current major and or minor/concentration, and what year are you in?
I am currently a Junior here at Montclair State, and I am majoring in Animation and Illustration.
2. Aside from being a Peer Leader for CAST, what other On-Campus leadership positions have you obtained with the help of your experience as a peer leader?
In addition to the Peer Leadership program, which I have completed two terms of, I have held multiple leadership positions on campus. When I first joined the CAST team during my Freshman year I quickly realized that I was a part of a very diverse team of students, who all held very prestigious leadership positions prior to holding this position. From that interaction I was really inspired, as someone new to the university, to try some of these clubs and organizations that my team had participated in. After my first Summer as a PL had come to an end, I planned to continue with CAST during the normal academic year, and assist them as a Peer Advisor. I also started to work as a Bonner Leader for AmeriCorps, and completed 300 hours of community service during my Sophomore year. Among the leaders I met in CAST and AmeriCorps were students actively involved in Greek life, which I had started to consider becoming a part of as well. In the Fall 2012 semester, I joined Phi Sigma Sigma, and it has shaped me into even more of a leader. I was quickly elected after my initiation to be the Public Relations Chair for our chapter, and lead a committee along side our Membership Recruitment Chair. After joining Phi Sigma Sigma, and while working closely with all of my sisters in various service and leadership projects, I learned that many of them were working for Residential Education and Services, and so in the Spring of 2013 I applied for the Service Assistant position, and was accepted into the Sinatra Hall staff. There I am the students' first form of contact upon entering the building, therefore I play an integral part in ensuring the safety and overall happiness of the residents and other guests. This Fall, I was very pleased to be elected as the Vice President for the RHA Hall Council of my own residence hall in Hawk Crossings, where I continue to ensure the happiness of residents living amongst me through programming with my E-board.
3. How has your position as a peer leader assisted/ prepared you for your future ambitions in life?
Before Peer Leadership I was not as outgoing, as some would say I am, today. For me, taking the initiative to even apply to this position through CAST was an incredible task, and to be honest, after I completed my application process and attended interviews, I wasn't confident that I was going to be accepted. I was convinced that, being a Freshman, I had little knowledge of the university and figured I hadn't had enough experience to contribute. I was pleasantly surprised, however, and began training in Spring 2012. During those trainings for the position, you learn so much more than just information about campus partners and how to be a "good Peer Leader." Additionally, you learn a lot about yourself, and the type of leader that you are/can be. It was my chance to reflect on my strengths, and that ultimately built my confidence and helped me realize that I wasn't attending Montclair State to go to simply go to class everyday for 4 years until I graduate. Instead, I decided that want to leave my mark here after I graduate, and gain enough experience and knowledge that my future employers could look at and say it gives me an edge. I've come to learn in my time here at Montclair that there is a vast amount of education that takes place outside of the classroom. It only comes from being involved in the diverse community that MSU embodies, and I've realized through much reflection that my greatest lessons and achievements have not come from what I do for myself. These changes happen when I take myself out of the equation, and encourage others to be the best that they can be. That was ultimately why I chose to return to the PL program for a second term in the Spring/Summer 2013, because I knew that I would be a mentor to someone new to the team. This year it wasn't about me, it was about influencing the 3,000+ incoming students, and the fresh-faced student leaders who served them. This past Summer was surely the most rewarding of all of my experiences, not because I did my job to the best of my abilities, but because our team was very successful.
4. What advice if any, would you have for students interested in the Peer Leader Program?
If you're interested in learning about yourself as a leader, and changing yourself for the better, this is the position for you to hold. As a PL, you come in contact with each and every student that will begin their journey at Montclair State, as well as their family members, and it's your responsibility to ensure that they leave here feeling confident that they made the best decision to attend this university. You have to be the best person to represent this community, and the CAST staff will go out of their way to make sure that you recognize all of the qualities within you that make you exactly that. From that representation, someone leaves orientation each day having met you and is inspired. For me, that is the best part of the Peer Leader program. But as I mentioned before, I was not a Freshman that knew how to be involved in the community before this program, so I wasn't confident in my ability to play this part. My greatest piece of advice to someone interested in the program, then, would be to not let anyone or anything discourage you. For any leadership position you aim for, think of all the reasons why you are the perfect person to play that part, and believe it. If you convince yourself that you are capable, then others will see it too. If there's any truth I could tell candidates for the program about what you'll learn during your term as a PL, it's that your attitude is contagious, to your team members and your audience, so always have a positive attitude from the moment you apply, until the end of the last orientation.
5. Using only one word, how would you sum up your entire experience as a Peer Leader at Montclair State?
Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this project.