Upon receiving the opportunity to join PALS, my year of involvement has signified a clear development of self, through discovering a multifaceted, transferable skillset.

The process of creating a session is teamwork-based; therefore, I was involved preparatory meetings, evaluation and settlement of appropriate session content, and the corresponding coordination and work delegation that was required. I really appreciated the collaborative nature of running sessions with other leaders. The kind and comfortable environment with presenting alongside another leader removed anxieties around public speaking and presenting. The teamwork behind sessions has allowed me to deepen interpersonal skills such as communication, mitigation, delegation and problem-solving.

The PALS community had a positive impact on my well-being, simultaneously allowing me to support other students’ learning experiences. Although the remote nature of the teamwork was an adjustment, the active stream of communication during planning phases between myself and the other leader aided me significantly in adapting. Through the remote collaboration of session planning, I have clearly developed my digital literacy and ability to efficiently engage in group work remotely.

The critical aspects of facilitation and how to create a student led session was first introduced to me through the PALS leader training and the multiple sessions aided in solidifying my understanding. Being taught facilitation and presentation skills improved my ability to develop sessions to elicit engagement through tailored activities in accordance with peer needs. For example, after my first sessions, it was clear students preferred class-based activities, rather than breakout rooms as they mostly knew each other and were a small group attending. I therefore focused on including a lot of class-based discussions, incorporating Socratic questions to facilitate students in finding the answers collaboratively themselves.

I look forward to having the opportunity engage in in-person sessions and to continue as a leader for next year!