JOEY GOETZ, TRUMPET STAFF WRITER
On the second floor of the Vogel Library, there is a room where many students work tirelessly and diligently with one another to create an experience of learning, comfort, and peace amid a busy, bustling campus.
If you were to ask those students, though, some would hesitate to call it work at all.
The Peer Learning Lab (PLL), in Room 204, is a resource available to any students who feel like they may need some help with classes, homework, or studying. As the name would suggest, in the Peer Learning Lab, student-employees work throughout the week as peer consultants for other students who come in seeking peer-to-peer instruction.
“We want to encourage students to come in if they are just starting a paper and are looking for a topic, just starting their research for a paper, writing it and turning it in, or if the just need one final look through,” said fifth-year English major Liam Conroy.
Conroy serves as a student manager and consultant at the WRSL part of the Peer Learning Lab, which handles writing, reading, and speaking. The PLL is also home to a math lab.
As a whole, the Academic Resource Center, which houses the PLL, helps hundreds of students every year by providing several different resources.
One thing that is stressed about the PLL is how it differs from a typical class experience.
“I think it’s great because it’s not a classroom setting. It’s peers helping peers. That really makes everyone more comfortable,” said actuarial science major and math lab consultant Eric Dowe. “We have some students who come in here four out of five days of the weekto study and they feel really comfortable. We’re not tutors, we’re more like friends with each other.”
“I think it’s a very friendly environment,” said secondary math education major and math lab student manager Kayla Britt. “There are wonderful, nice employees here who are willing to help. If you put in the effort, they’ll reflect that back at you.”
Indeed, the atmosphere of the Peer Learning Lab has shifted, particularly with the help of Academic Success and Retention Coordinator Quinton Richardson (aka Dr. Q), who started overseeing the PLL in January of this year.
“The change has been a relatively good one,” said Conroy. “Dr. Q’s kind of got a different vision for what the Peer Learning Lab should look like. He wants it to be more chill and casual. Just students helping students. It’s not like you have to book an appointment, you could just hop in and be like ‘Hey, I need some help.’”
This “hop-in” approach allows for students who may be put off by setting up an appointment to simply drop by the PLL and work on things at their own pace, with or without specific instructions.
“People visit, people stop by to say hi, people just come and do homework here,” said Richardson. “Whatever they want to do they are invited to come here and get help.”
The PLL has also been a great opportunity for student employees to learn, grow, and work at something embodying the camaraderie of Wartburg itself.
“It’s like a way of giving to people around me because I know there are people who need help with writing,” said third-year computer science major and WRSL consultant Feyi Omotehinwa. “I specifically like helping out international students because I feel like international students can sometimes have language barriers.”
“It’s been a really good experience for me,” said Dowe. “I’ve always sat in the classroom and done well in the classroom, but I’ve never taught others. My profession isn’t teaching by any means, but it’s been very good for me. First of all, I understand the math better. Second of all, I feel like I’m making a difference more than sitting in a classroom.”
For students who need help, a quiet place to study, or just somewhere to experience a breath of fresh air, the Peer Learning Lab’s doors are open. For more information about the Peer Learning Lab, or to directly schedule an appointment, students can visit https://www.wartburg.edu/peer-learning/ or call 352-8615.
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