Who is helping your student navigate the possibilities as the new academic year begins? Beyond the valuable support system of our faculty, advisors and staff is a network of peers with the power to make a lasting impact on your student and shape their life here at Wheaton. Meet two students in our Wheaton community who give their time to their peers on campus and gain so much in return.
Tapiwa Michael Victor Muvavarirwa ’21
Lead RA for Pine Hall – 3rd Semester
What is it that interested you most about becoming an RA?
I get to help out other students and my peers by simply sharing with them the necessary resources that the school has to offer. Tied with this is, this role really helps you grow as a leader in pretty much all facets of life, be it either professional or social. This is a really good experience as it helps you gets you familiar and comfortable working with people from different walks of life.
How have you assisted a first-year student?
An example being how I helped one of my 1st year friends navigate on and off campus and know where to get whatever they may need. This literally involved having to take this individual on a GATRA run and point to him where the bus can take him and what is available there. I also told him what most offices on campus do. He can to me at the end of the spring semester and gave me a gift saying how thankful he was for the guidance I had provided him throughout the year. It really surprised and touched me as I was not expecting it because I didn’t know how much impact showing him around had.
What do you feel you gained from being an RA?
I have definitely benefited a great deal because of this position. One great thing it gives you is a strong and great network with faculty/stuff and student leaders. This job has also given me a great deal of confidence, both personal and professional. I am now way less shy and nervous to present in front of a big or small crowd. I am also way more self-aware than I used to be, I have a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses thanks to all the problem solving I had to do as an RA.
How do you see students benefiting from an RA role?
Other students can also gain the same benefits as I got through the RA role. The connections you will make, the boost in leadership skills (self-awareness) and the overall experience of supervising and caring for individuals who are so different from one another. This role also ensure that you feel as if you’re part of the community and your voice matters.
Maia Hay ’20
Preceptor – 2 years / Newly appointed Academic Advising Intern
What is it that interested you most about being a preceptor?
I have always loved helping my friends with their schedules, organizing classes, and figuring out connections—being a preceptor seemed like the perfect fit. I think also getting the opportunity to help students figure out what they are most passionate about and encourage them to try new class or clubs is a great aspect of this role. With every experience, being able to help students find their passions, and create a schedule that fits it all in is a rewarding feeling.
How have you assisted a first-year student?
One of the most rewarding moments for me was when a student came in not really knowing at all what they wanted to take after the first semester and did not know where to go from there. Just getting to talk through what they were interested in, what they did not like about their courses, and what they really seemed to like, made the following semester so much better for them and a lot smoother. I now get to see this student one campus thriving as a double major, involved in a variety of areas around campus, and getting the most out of their time at Wheaton.
What personal or professional benefits do you feel you have gained from being a preceptor?
This position has given me the space to learn from my fellow peers, professional staff, and the experience itself of being a resource to other students. I have developed skills to think and problem solve on my own and with a team, the importance of good listening, different advising methods, and a better understanding that students are coming from a variety of different areas.
How do you see students benefiting from a preceptor role?
When it comes down to it what is great about being a preceptor is that you are able to meet students and faculty that you may not have gotten to know otherwise. Also, you are getting to help students find out what they are most passionate about, discovering new classes, and trying something different. A preceptor is someone you know who is currently facing some of the same issues you are. Students can open their concerns, and for students who are not as comfortable seeking out advice from adults, preceptors can help to lead them in the right direction and help to explain how to go about it.
Through the Student Lens
Tapiwa and Maia are just two of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents, you are an integral part of our community. Through the Student Lens will bring the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play, and experiences they gain during the time here at Wheaton.