So today I filled out an application to become a volunteer at my school’s peer support centre. It’s a rigorous process; first, there’s the application, where I was given scenarios and asked to respond. Next, if whoever’s in charge likes my responses, there are the interviews. Finally, they’ll decide on who becomes a volunteer. If I get chosen, I’d have to go through a training program at the beginning of the next school semester.
One of the questions on the application I just filled out was “Why do you want to be a peer supporter?” to which my answer was that I wanted to help people who were going through experiences similar to my own; namely, anxiety and depression (among others).
The funny thing is, if it were me, I would never go to the peer support center. I also have difficulty seeing what good peer supporters can really do. They’re not counselors, and their training consists of thirty-five hours at the beginning of the year. I’m not entirely sure I believe that peer supporters can help people who really need it (and if you’re wondering, I did not put that in my application).
So then, you ask, why apply to be a volunteer? The answer is simple enough: even if I don’t believe that a volunteer can do much good, I still want to try. I know firsthand how lonely it is to go through depression and anxiety alone, and I can’t stand that other people have to go through that experience too. If I can just be with a person, listening to them and just being there, then I’ll have felt like I was able to do something for them. I in no way believe that I’ll be able to fix their problems, but I hope that just being there and listening will be enough.
So while I will probably never use the Peer Support Centre myself because I don’t think it works, if I am accepted as a volunteer, I will still give it my all just so I can be there for the people who need a friend to help them get through their problems.