I believe that peer advisors are important because they provide an immediate support system and informational resource to new students.
Starting college, especially at an institution like Cornell, has its challenges and it is important for freshmen to have someone they can rely on who has navigated the same experiences they have. Peer Advisors were freshmen once too, so they understand exactly what new students are going through. I remember taking ENGRG 1050 as a freshman myself and I remember it being immensely helpful. I learned how the grading system worked, how to navigate prelims, and what opportunities existed on campus.
The information provided by the Peer Advisors calmed my worries and answered my questions right at the start of my college experience. It was largely the positive environment created in my ENGRG 1050 course that pushed me to become a Peer Advisor as a sophomore. I felt that after being so supported as a freshman that I wanted to give back and provide that same support to the freshmen coming in below me. Soon after I became a Peer Advisor, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and college life completely changed. With the fall semester looming with uncertainty, I was even happier to be a Peer Advisor. I knew that this coming fall semester would be more difficult for the incoming freshmen than normal, and I was glad to be able to support them and provide them with a chance to get to know the campus at a time when everything seemed so closed off. I remember students telling me that the ENGRG 1050 class was their only in-person class that semester, and I was ecstatic that it gave them a chance to make friends in person and not on screen, and even more ecstatic that I could help ease some of the stress that starting college, especially during a pandemic, caused them.
~Skyler, Cornell Engineering, Class of 2023