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This article originally appeared in a print version of The Peer Educator.

Peer educators tend to be a humble group, which may be why they often have difficulty describing the many things they do for health education. If you are looking for a job, internship, or are near graduation, it is time to build and fine-tune a résumé that reflects your valuable experience. “But wait,” you might be saying, “I don’t have any experience!” In reality you have a lot of experience, and it is time to highlight your skills!

#1: Look closer and make a list

Have you ever met with your fellow peer educators late into night in order to prepare for an upcoming event? Have you been given the task of seeing a project through from start to finish? Have you facilitated the work of many different team members in order to build a cohesive finished presentation? Chances are, you have done these things and more. These are called transferable skills, and they are what they sound like. The skills you gained as a peer educator will transfer to “real life” situations in the working world. You may want to start a list of all the transferable skills and abilities you have showcased or utilized as a peer educator.

Look at the various projects you have helped with or led. How do those reflect some of the values that employers look for, such as communication skills, problem solving, multi-tasking, creative ingenuity, creating and following a budget, public speaking skills, and the ability to work with a team? Don’t forget to make note of the skills you have gained through trainings and conferences such as CPE training and General Assembly or Area Conferences.

#2: Put it in action!

Once you have built a list of all the things you have learned and accomplished as a peer educator and leader, begin to brainstorm action verbs to describe them. You will want to create concise sentences that have a lot of “punch” through the use of action words. Some words you may want to use include: created, coordinated, led, built, organized, facilitated, managed, recruited, or strengthened.

#3: Keep your address book handy

Since you will be newer to the job market than most people, strong references will be an important piece of your self-marketing. Employers will want to create a mental picture of your character and work ethic. Begin to ask various people who have known you over the past few years if they would be willing to be listed as a reference when you apply for jobs. You should create a list of these people with their most up-to- date contact information. They most likely will not receive a phone call unless an employer is seriously considering you for a position, but you will want the person to be ready just in case. You may want to ask your advisor, a professor, a student leader, or another employer to be your references.

#4: Volunteer

Your dream job may not be available right after graduation, but that is okay. Often, it takes time to find something that fits you well. If you have your sights set on a particular organization or a related group, you may be able to volunteer with them. You will not receive a paycheck, but you will gain valuable experience while there, and when jobs become available, the organization will already know you. Volunteering also gives you a chance to figure out if the organization or field is the right fit for you. More than anything, volunteering is an excellent opportunity to network within a particular field, especially if you are entering the health or non-profit sector.

#5: Join the club

Most jobs are not necessarily found through the classifieds or on job sites. In many cases, the old saying “It’s who you know” still holds true. One of the best ways to network is to join professional organizations related to your particular field. Many of these groups have student rates, making the dues more reasonable. Attend events sponsored by the professional organizations and take the time to introduce yourself. Be sure to practice your 30-second “elevator speech” that describes your peer education group and/or your work related to various programs. This will also come in handy when attending career fairs.

#6: Resources

Many campuses have a career services office or some type of career resource library. Though it is never too late to start your career planning, the earlier you begin, the better. Talk with a career counselor about your goals, and ask them to review your résumé. There are also countless books and online resources available on career searching. Take some time to explore the resources available. The work you put in now will help contribute to a fulfilling professional life down the road.

More Career Seeker Tips:

  • Pair up with a friend and practice interview questions.
  • Talk to exhibitors at conferences—ask them what they like about their job.
  • Set up informational interviews with companies/organizations.
  • Ask if your school has a list of alumni mentors who are willing to offer career advice.
  • Ask a career counselor about assessments that indicate your strengths, personality and/or interests.
  • Do not get discouraged! Job seeking takes patience and believing in yourself.
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Get to Know Area 4 SAC Sarah Watson

Over a  few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Sarah Watson
Hometown: Shoreview, MN
School: Northwestern University
BACCHUS Area: 4
Major: Social Policy
Year: Junior, Class of 2015

Why did you become a peer educator?

I believe that there is some information better disseminated and received when given by people who represent the recipient population. When I saw the disconnect in sexual education in the various high schools of my friends, I joined a peer education group and immediately saw the information reach more students in a meaningful way.

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

I hope to connect other student groups with similar organizations and resources across the country to help them better provide knowledge on their campuses.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?  

I would like to see a nationwide sexual health harm reduction campaign similar to safe spring break. I think it’s very important for college students to have more widespread and easily accessible knowledge around sexual health.

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would most like to meet Malcolm X and I would like to ask him how his views were starting to change before he was assassinated. I’d also like to ask him how he feels about being pitted against MLK in discussions of civil rights.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry because it is the first academic/political book I read that truly was able to articulate the narrative of black women as political actors. I felt as though it represented my experience so much that I finished it and immediately read it again.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

Our organization focuses on sexual health, and a huge issue facing our campus is sexual assault. After a large outbreak over a lawsuit against the university became public, it has been a hot topic.

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

Be yourself, and be accessible.

Favorite Quote:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela.

What is your favorite website and why?

My favorite website is probably BBC Mundo because I can practice my Spanish by reading the stories but I also get news from around the world.

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Get to Know Area 12 SAC Alexis Steptoe

Over a  few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Alexis Steptoe
Hometown: Bluefield, Virginia
School: Radford University
BACCHUS Area: 12
Major: Health Education, Health Promotion
Year: Junior

Why did you become a peer educator?

At the beginning of my junior year I was looking for an outlet to become more involved on campus through. I took the CPE course and found my Peer Health Educator club through the course’s advisor. It was immediately something I knew I loved because I got to communicate with my peers in an effective and constructive way. Joining PHE club really allowed me to pursue peer education in a way that is relevant to me because I am a Health Education/Promotion major and the club’s focus is educating students on a variety of health topics that are of particular interest on a college campus. Being a source of knowledge for my peers to make informed and healthy decisions is the main reason I chose to become and stay a peer educator.

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

As a national leader I hope to accomplish filling the shoes as resource for information regarding our area. I hope to make my area more cohesive and a place where we can share ideas and talk about what works and what doesn’t work so we can all improve our peer education skills. Also, as a student leader I hope I can establish a pattern of leadership that can be built upon each year after. I hope my leadership skills ignite interest in my area to propel the network forward into coming years so we can be the best area BACCHUS has seen!

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I would like to see BACCHUS with the help of NASPA develop better and easier to use toolkits for peer educators. I know the past few years have been trying for BACCHUS but I feel bringing the toolkits back and “better than ever” would really rally up the peer educators and make them want to act on every campaign they saw BACCHUS put out. We are all about information distribution to campuses in our Area. Improved toolkits would make it easier and more likely that groups would do these campaigns on their campuses.

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would like to meet Nelson Mandela because he was such a huge influence of the overall idea of what is humanity and how can humanity be carried out in the world we live in today. I would ask him where he sees our world in the next 20-50 years. I would also ask him how he found his strength to stand up for himself and his values, when the world around him was trying its best to drag him down.

What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t really have a favorite book because I’ve never been fond of reading, but as a child there was this little book called The Tiniest Pumpkin that I loved to read every Halloween (mainly because it was short, sweet, and to the point!)

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

This year I would definitely say 1) Misuse of prescription drugs, like Adderall, 2) Mental health/stress, 3) Binge drinking

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

That not every peer is going to be receptive to every program we do. Some of the issues we speak about don’t matter to some students, or some students find topics we speak about to be rather touchy. So, just remembering that you are trying to help the most amount of people you can at one whop, but not everyone will like or be receptive of the information you a distributing at that time.

Favorite Quote:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. –Nelson Mandela

What is your favorite website and why?

I love looking on Pinterest. I apparently just really love wasting time looking at DIY projects and hairstyles I’ll probably never even do! It’s like my own dream world of all my wants and wishes as a girly girl.

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Get to Know Area 5 SAC Kayley Levy

Over a  few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Kayley Levy
Hometown: Florissant, Missouri
School: University of Missouri
BACCHUS Area: 5
Major: Pre-Nursing
Year: Sophomore

Why did you become a peer educator?

I became a peer educator because one of my friends was and she wanted me to join with her! Going into the program I didn’t really know much about it and once I got in, I really fell in love with the message we put out there and the mission that we have!

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

As a national student leader, I hope to accomplish the transition to NASPA. I hope to accomplish being about to be there for my Area and representing them well! I hope to get the word out there about peer education and health and to make it as big of a deal to others as it is to me.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I would like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake a new start! This is a new start for them so I would like them all to have an open mind and move forward with a positive outlook!

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?  

I would love to meet Nelson Mandela. I would ask him why he did what he did and what made him so strong to do those types of things. I would tell him that he was truly inspirational and that I wish he could have lived longer to impact more lives.

What is your favorite book and why?

I absolutely hate reading. So as of right now, I have no favorite book. If you were to base it off of a movie that was made from a book it would have to be one of Nicholas Sparks’ books or the book The Help.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

The biggest issue for our campus this year is the Smoke Free Campus. It’s really difficult to enforce it when people yell at you and disrespect you when you tell them they cannot smoke here. It is difficult because we have no true way of enforcing it because the only way we can is to put signs and posters up all over. The police have told us they will not help enforce it because they have bigger and better things to worry about.

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

The best advice I’ve received as a peer educator is to “stay cool.” I know, it sounds stupid and boring, but think about it. As peer educators we are put into many situations and not all will be calm and collected, therefore, you just need to “stay cool.” Whether this is how the person meant it or not is beside me, but whenever I go off to educate my peers I am always reminding myself to “stay cool.”

Favorite Quote:

“It is what it is” My favorite quote isn’t necessarily a quote as it is a saying. I really like this because it just kind of reminds us that it is what it is and you need to learn from it, accept it, and move on. It’s a saying that I live my everyday life by.

What is your favorite website and why?

Pinterest is my favorite because you can find so many different things on there. You can even click a picture and it takes you directly to the link where that object can be found!

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Get to Know Area 8 SAC Kimber Mitchell

Over the next few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Kimber Mitchell
Hometown: Jacksonville, NC
School: The University of Alabama
BACCHUS Area: 8
Major: English
Year: Junior

Why did you become a peer educator?

I have a knack for teaching and a passion for health!

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

Improve networking within my area in addition to contributing as much as I can to the organization at the national level.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I would love to see the development of more toolkits, including one about financial health.

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?

I am a history buff but honestly I would most like to meet Marilyn Monroe. I would just want to hug her, I feel like she could have used a genuine hug.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is The Catcher In The Rye because there’s a little bit of Holden in everyone.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

Binge-drinking

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

Fall in love with your life and help other fall in love theirs too.

Favorite Quote:

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” –John Steinbeck

What is your favorite website and why?

www.hulu.com. I have a busy schedule and knowing that my shows are waiting patiently is nice.

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Get to Know Area 7 SAC Sarah Devitt

Over the next few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Sarah Devitt
Hometown: Hartland, MI
School: Saginaw Valley State University
BACCHUS Area: 7
Major: Occupational Therapy and Health Science
Year: 4th year

Why did you become a peer educator?

I became a peer educator because I loved attending the programs my peer education group put on around campus and wanted to be a part of educating students about important health related issues in a fun manner.

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

I hope to improve the enthusiasm in my area. I would love to see more schools attend conferences and even get more schools to be active in BACCHUS with the new merger with NASPA. I also look forward to improving my leadership skills with this position and meeting new people with this great opportunity.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I would like to see the increase in participating schools in BACCHUS. Now that schools get access to BACCHUS resources if they are NASPA members I hope that more peer education groups start and that schools with peer education groups already become more active with BACCHUS and our conferences.

What is your favorite book and why?

Right now I am really enjoying the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. There’s a lot of action that I enjoy and the author does a great job at keeping the reader engaged and always guessing. It reminds me a lot of The Hunger Games, which is another trilogy I enjoy.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

Right now we are focusing on encouraging students to get tested and conducting STI education. There has been a slight increase in STI’s in our area so we are trying to show students why it’s important to get tested and use condoms.

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

My advisor has taught me to always step outside the box, whether it be coming up with programs or going for leadership positions. If I had not stepped out of my “box” I would not have a leadership position within my peer health group and I would not be an SAC today so I’m glad I listened to her advice.

Favorite Quote:

“Never a failure, always a lesson.” -Unknown

What is your favorite website and why?

I really like Pinterest. It has something for everyone. Not only can I use it for personal gain and entertainment, but it’s a great source when getting ideas for future programs for our peer education group.

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It’s Time to #LeadTheBreak

#LeadTheBreak graphicThe BACCHUS Safe Spring Break Campaign is in full swing. Be sure to check out the toolkit and materials here. Also, your campus can win big in the #LeadTheBreak pledge contest! Need promotional items? We’ve got you covered.

The BACCHUS Network encourages you to have a Safe Spring Break this year. Whatever your plans are, make sure they include these tips:

  • Remember, impairment begins with the first drink. Choose not to drink if you are driving, or be safe with a designated driver.
  • Wear your seatbelt. Always. It’s your best protection in a crash.
  • Distracted driving is dangerous. Park the car to check mobile devices.
  • Respect other peoples’ right, and your own, to choose not to drink.
  • Respect state laws and campus policies.
  • Stay out of dangerous situations involving alcohol, whether in a car, bar or bedroom.
  • If a friend drinks to the point of passing out, alcohol poisoning is a real danger. If you’re concerned, seek medical attention. Better safe than sorry!

Whether you’re doing a service project, on a trip, or hanging out on campus, have a safe, healthy break!

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Get to Know Area 9 SAC Josh Arrage

Over the next few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Josh Arrage
Hometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina
School: Clemson University
BACCHUS Area: Area 9
Major: Chinese and International Health; Business Administration minor
Year: Sophomore

Why did you become a peer educator?

I became involved in my peer education group because it was really the biggest organization dealing directly with health services to our students, and I thought it would be nice be involved with that.

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

I hope to accomplish the goals I set for myself and my area. I really want to obtain representation from Puerto Rico, improve my area’s awareness and communication, and improve the effectiveness of my area’s programs.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I would really like to see a better registration process for conferences. This year it was very difficult to register and it was more expensive. I think registration could be tweaked. (We understand the frustration, and it’s something we will be working on. -ed)

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?

I would like to meet Ray Kroc, the man who made the McDonalds franchise what it is today. I am not a fan of McDonalds, but I would like to pick his brain about his thoughts on business and how he was able to become so successful.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book has been In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It was so in depth that I just could not put it down. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

Our campus has been trying to go tobacco free this year, and we have hit tremendous resistance in our student body. It has been a real struggle, and we are still working on tweaking our proposal.

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

Passion is key. If you are not passionate about the issues you are promoting, there is no way that the students you are educating will care about what you have to say. Also be creative. Student have heard a lot of what you are educating them on, so you have to try new ways to provide them with what they need.

Favorite Quote:

“As long as you are going to be thinking anyways, think big” – Donald Trump

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Get to Know Area 3 SAC Damara Ankrum

Over the next few weeks, we will feature student leaders from this year’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC).

Name: Damara Ankrum
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado
School: Montana State University Billings
BACCHUS Area: Area 3
Major: Sociology- Minor in Criminal Justice
Year: Junior

Why did you become a peer educator?

I became a peer educator because I was looking for a way to get involved on campus. I also saw that there were a lot of my peers that were making really unhealthy decisions and I thought that by becoming more informed myself I could also help them become healthier as well!

What do you hope to accomplish as a national student leader?

This is such a unique experience to be able to work with other students and professionals at a national level! I am so excited to get to learn from other peer educators who have similar and different problems they deal with on their campuses and get their opinions and suggestions for combating those problems.

What direction or focus would you like to see BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA undertake in the next year?

I think the biggest thing would be making sure the transition is as painless as possible for those who are affiliated with BACCHUS to become affiliated with NASPA and you are already doing a great job! I do think that we should make sure that those who have questions have a clear cut person to go and get answers from.

What historical figure would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?

Leonardo DaVinci, Where did your inspiration come from? You were into everything!

What is your favorite book and why?

Stardust by Neil Gaiman. In my opinion Neil Gaiman, is one of the finest fantasy storytellers of modern times. Stardust honors the simpler fairy tales and fantasies of times past. It is an enchanting story with a fresh take on fantasy characters. As I read I always feel transported through a tale of love, danger and adventure.

What is the biggest health / prevention issue facing your campus this year?

Now that our tobacco policy is place we need to work on people following it!

What is the best advice you have received as a peer educator?

You will never be in control of how someone behaves, but you will always be in control of how you let it affect you and how you respond in turn.

Favorite Quote:

“You can disagree with another person’s opinions. You can disagree with their doctrines. You can’t disagree with their experience.”
Krista Tippett

What is your favorite website and why?

It’s a tie with Pinterest and You Tube! Pinterest is wonderful because you can get so many fun ideas and You Tube is great because you can almost anything!

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Help Students Get Covered by March 31

As peer educators, we are always trying to help other students live healthier lives and make smart decisions about safety and their own well being. Sometimes, despite prevention and our best efforts, things happen and medical care is necessary. If students on your campus do not have health insurance through their parents or the college/university, they can get a health plan for themselves through the Marketplace and potentially qualify for discounts.

All plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and more. To find the latest, most accurate, information about the Marketplace visit HealthCare.gov. At this website, you can learn how the Marketplace works, who can apply for insurance, how to get insurance, how to lower your costs, and more.

When you are ready to apply and enroll in a health plan, HealthCare.gov is the place for that, too! No matter where you live, you may buy insurance from private health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, and prescriptions. And plans in the Marketplace must treat you fairly; they can’t deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. With a single application, you also will find out if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or savings you can use right away to lower your health insurance premiums.

To get coverage for this year, you have to enroll by March 31.

To start getting coverage for 2015, people will be able to enroll during the period from October 15, 2014 – December 7, 2014.

If you have questions about what the Health Insurance Marketplace offers or how to apply, help is available. You can visit HealthCare.gov and click on the Help link in the upper right of the screen or use the online web chat on the website; or call the Marketplace Call Center toll-free at 1-800-318-2596.

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