Tertiary students all go through their fair share of ups and downs.
The period from adolescence to young adulthood at uni forms a critical life stage and students can be more vulnerable to mental health difficulties.
They may have moved away from family for the first time, have greater financial responsibilities and might even engage in risky behaviours like drug and alcohol use.
This makes students a particular group that can fall through the cracks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner into the works too, completely amplifying the day-to-day struggles of a student and interfering with their peer-to-peer engagement, class learning, academic performance and personal development.
Navigating all of these complex academic and personal challenges can be tough, but having a support network can make all the difference.
We’re not just talking about your professors or family members, but your peers who are right there with you, going through similar experiences.
We’ve seen firsthand the impact that peer support can have on students’ wellbeing and academic success.
Studies have shown that students who have strong social support networks are more likely to be emotionally resilient and better equipped to handle stress.
In fact, a study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that students who received emotional support from peers reported better mental health and academic outcomes.
Peer-to-peer support can also foster meaningful friendship between students, helping to build a sense of community on campus.
This sense of community can have a positive impact on mental health, academic performance, and overall satisfaction with the broader university experience.
When we feel connected to others and have someone to share our experiences with, it can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that can be all too common in higher education.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Peer support can also have a positive impact on academic performance.
When students feel supported and connected, they’re more likely to take risks, engage with course material, and seek out opportunities for growth and development.
This, in turn, can lead to improved grades, better performance on exams, and a more enriched university experience overall.
Peer support can also help to improve retention rates.
A study by the University of North Florida found that students who felt connected to others and had access to emotional support were more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their academic abilities, leading to increased motivation and persistence in studies.
All in all, peer support is absolutely crucial to success in higher education. It helps students to be more emotionally resilient, build meaningful connections, improve academic performance, and ultimately, persist in studies.
Don’t underestimate the power of your peers. Embrace the support they can offer and strive to be a supportive friend to others. It can make a world of difference.