The Falcon Peer Support Network at CUW exists to empower students to create a resilient community and to support each other’s mental health, well-being, and day-to-day lives through weekly, peer-facilitated groups and community-building events.
By Sydney Kalk
The funny thing about feeling alone is that we are all feeling it together. A recent study found 53% of college students say that they’re lonely. Even constantly surrounded by peers, chances are you or someone close to you can relate.
For a long time, I was dealing with this too. With time and help, I began to feel better, and that’s when I started being open with others, sharing my story, and establishing myself as a safe person. In time, others took note of this and, before long, I had people coming to me with really hard things. It became clear to me how much was going on behind closed doors; how many other people felt completely alone too.
About the Falcon Peer Support Network
I began to look for ways to better help these individuals in my life. I learned about the Falcon Peer Support Network. The main goal of a peer support network is to empower students to create a resilient community and to support each other’s mental health, well-being, and day-to-day lives through weekly, peer-facilitated groups and community-building events. The peer support group has an emphasis on things like self-care, stress management, and building meaningful connections and friendships.
When I learned about the Falcon Peer Support Network, I immediately loved the idea and wanted to get involved. I learned that help was needed to expand to the graduate level. As a graduate student myself, this is exactly where I felt called to help.
Together with a fellow graduate-level CUW student and a faculty advisor, we are now off and running. We began holding groups in April and have been growing ever since. I currently lead groups weekly over Zoom. These meeting times typically have discussion themes such as life balance, self-esteem, or stress management. We talk about tips, we share stories, we listen, and we support.
Any CUW student can join. We have groups for undergraduates and graduates. You just need to start by filling out a simple questionnaire so we can connect you with the right group.
For the graduate groups, this month’s meeting times and themes are:
- Tuesday, August 22 at 7 p.m. | Redefining balance
- Tuesday, August 29 at 7 p.m. | Check-in: How’s the start of the year been?
Need more reasons to give the Falcon Peer Support Network a try? Read on!
1. Improve your mental health and wellbeing
There are many ways connection can positively impact your mental health and well-being. People who feel connected and supported are more likely to make healthy choices, have better mental and physical health outcomes, and are better able to cope with hard times, stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Improve your academics
According to Wilson (2018), “As school connectedness increases, so does a student’s academic success.” Social connectedness was also found to impact graduate prospects and employability. The Peer Support Network can help you feel more connected and therefore could positively influence your academic and career success.
3. Make new friends and connections
Groups are open to all students. This allows you to meet and connect with students in programs far outside of your own. We often connect well with others in our program as we share similar passions, but connecting with others over other things is important too. Having connections based on other hobbies and interests can give our minds a much-needed break and keep our lives more balanced.
4. Give back to others
By joining our network not only are you gaining support, but you are also giving it. Listening to others, sharing what has worked for you, and how you handle challenges you face are all ways you will be giving back.
5. You deserve it!
You are worthy of being supported, heard, and seen, and to have a safe place where you can open up, ask questions, and share! We weren’t created to be or feel alone. We were created to love and be loved as Jesus commanded in John 15: 12-13, “Love each other as I have loved you.”
Interested in joining the Falcon Peer Support Network? Click on the button below and complete the intake survey. Afterwards, you will receive a follow-up email with more information and a group invite.
Interested in leading?
If you are interested in leading a group in the future, please contact Sydney.Kalk@cuw.edu if you are a graduate/online student, and email email@example.com if you are an undergraduate student.
—Sydney Kalk is a graduate student at CUW and one of the graduate-level Falcon Peer Support Network leaders.