Welcome to Peer to Peer, the CAS Peer Advising Blog! Check out our posts for FAQs, advising tips, and current events!

Monday, April 29, 2013

2012-2013 CAS Peer Advisors - Signing Off!

With the end of another school year coming to a close, your CAS Peer Advisors would like to wish you all the best throughout the remainder of your college careers here at American University. We have so enjoyed working with all of you and know that you will all make your mark! But, before we leave, we wanted to share with you our summer plans and how we intend to stay involved in between semesters or post graduation for our 3 graduating seniors!

Sofie Friedman
Well after I come to terms with the fact that I will be an AU graduate after May 11th, I plan on taking some time to relax and rejuvenate over the first part of the summer. I will be starting graduate school in September so a lot of my summer will be devoted to moving as well as job hunting! However, I do plan on continuing my work in Psychology by working with children with autism in a school environment which I am looking forward to. This way I can determine if this is something I find interesting and want to pursue later on in my educational career. I encourage all students to get involved with something over the summer that they find interesting, maybe it could be something you could continue once you come back to AU. Enjoy your summer and good luck with the rest of your college career - you are all awesome!

Triana Tello Gerez

This summer I will be an AU graduate. It is a nerve-wrecking feeling, but I am excited about applying what I have learned at AU in the outside world. My plans for this summer are doing research and working. For the first half of the summer, I will work with one of my AU professors doing water quality research. I met her this semester, and her work seemed very interesting, so I asked her if I could assist her in her field research this summer. For the second half of the summer I will be working with Community Power Network, an organization dedicated to building and promoting locally based renewable energy projects and policies. I have been interning with them this semester, and I am very excited about working there this summer. 

Shanice Harris

Hi All! As the year comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know what I plan on doing during the lovely summer. I will be taking 2 summer courses (Organic Chemistry I&II) back in my home state, New Jersey. In addition, I will also be filling out applications so that I can hopefully intern in the fall. As the summer begins, I encourage you all to not only relax and catch up on some sleep, but to possibly volunteer within your community or prepare for next semester. It was truly a pleasure to be a 2012-2013 Peer Advisor and it is one experience I will never forget. Signing off…

Meg Fischer

Hi guys! I want to say how much I have enjoyed being a peer advisor this year! My summer is going to be really related to my academic life because I will be working at Sidwell Summer as their Director of Counselors and CAPs. I am so lucky to work with students in a fun summer environment and do something that relates to my degree in elementary education. If you can do something with your summer that you enjoy and relates or expands upon your academics, do it! I will also be teaching 4th grade next year at an independent school in Maryland. Please keep in touch and  have safe and wonderful summers!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Get Ready for Finals and Attend the CAS Peer Workshop!!

Stressed out about your looming finals? Feeling like you could use some tips on how to stay healthy throughout the last stretch of the semester? Then come to the CAS Peer Advisor's Workshop!!

What: "Pack Your Bags...For a Successful College Experience" - a camping themed, interactive workshop to help you get healthy mind and body!

When: Wednesday, April 17th from 6-8 PM

Where: The Perch (Centennial Hall)

Who: CAS Peer Advisors featuring representatives from - The Wellness Center, The   Career Center, Student Activities, Supplemental Instructors, The Math/Stat Lab, and the Writing Center


This workshop will give you the opportunity to have one on one time with all of our featured speakers to better answer questions you have about getting involved and succeeding in college. You'll be able to get information regarding internships, clubs and organizations, wellness advice, study tips and much more! As current students, we understand that it is often hard to stay stress free or eat healthy or continue to hit the gym during finals time which is why this event is geared towards your personal benefit. Encourage your friends to come along and join you and we look forward to seeing you all there!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact your CAS Peer Advisor at CASPeerAdvisors@american.edu or stop by our office in Battelle 164 for more information.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Learning your Learning Style!

With the end of the semester heading our way, we thought it would be a good time to post about ways you can learn how you learn best so you can finish the end of the year strong. Take a look below to see how your current CAS Peer Advisors learned how they learn best.


Figuring out a studying strategy is always the hardest part about finals/midterms for me. Once I figure it out, I find it easy to follow the plan and relearn all the material from the semester. Depending on the classes, I allocate my times differently. If I was not very good at keeping up with readings, I focus most of my time in skimming through the readings and taking notes. If the professor did not focus much on readings, I rewrite my notes and make study cards (I find that writing things down is what makes them stick in my mind). Then, if it is a math/exercise-y kind of class, I redo as many problems as I can.
Aside from this plan, I also make study groups. I find it helpful to review the material with others, ask them things I am confused about, and explain things to others who might need help. This combination helps me realize how prepared I actually am and relax a bit. Also, remember to take breaks, sleep, exercise, and drink water.


Learning styles are a really interesting part of college. I study how people learn and the best practice for teaching, but talking about how students prefer to learn is a different perspective on the content. I know that I am an auditory learner. I enjoy being given directions and listening to how people explain something to understand how to do it. It has been really important for me to attend class in college. I also know that interactive notes (or writing notes) helps me solidify the information after I hear it. I have found that powerpoint presentations with lists of words are not the most helpful. In those situations where professors give information directly off slides, I find that it is helpful for me to take notes on what they say. Some of this intormation is redundant from the slides, but I can also keep track in my notes where the class was going-- I can hear the parts of the class as I review while looking at the slides and talking through the class.

I think its also really helpful to teach other peeple this information. If I don't think I am proficent in a certain aspect, I will ask someone else (even if it's my mom!) if I can explain something, just to make sure that I have a strong handle on the subject. If I need someone else to explain it differently, Kahn academy (a website) has tons of subject areas and lessons that are so helpful. Check it out! http://www.khanacademy.org/


The common phrase, “one size fits all” does not apply to how people learn. In actuality, every
individual has their own learning style that makes learning easier. For some, they are able to
quickly identify what learning style works for them, while others struggle with figuring out
what learning style is the best fit. Let’s just say, I was one of the many that had a difficult time identifying what learning style was best for me.

At first, I thought I was one who could listen to everything and remember it. After taking a few exams and quizzes, I soon realized that that learning style was not for me. Then, I thought I was one who liked to learn in groups so I would form study groups in which my peers and I would discuss assignments and class material. I then realized that talking about or teaching others class material didn’t help me learn better either. While I was studying by myself for an exam one day, it finally hit me: I realized that I learned best when material was either drawn out for me or put into words. That explained why I had a combination of lecture notes and pictures spread out on my desk while studying. I also realized that I learned and worked best alone with no distractions. Having said all that, I believe the best approach to figuring out your own learning style, is to try different things out and see which learning style is the most effective for you!


Learning how you learn was in some ways one of my biggest challenges throughout my college career. For me, it wasn't something I had figured out by the time I had gotten to college and also varied depending on the type of class and course material. At the beginning of each semester I often felt like I had to re-learn how to learn essentially and personalize my style for each new course I took.

Overall, I am definitely a visual learner. I learn well from visuals like pictures, models, and tables versus hearing a lecture or even reading a powerpoint (which many people think is visual learning but really sometimes isn't!) I always felt like by the end of the semester and at the time the last test came around, I had finally figured out a good study habit to do well in the class - too little too late eh? But it was actually helpful to learn what didn't work well for me too. It's never black and white and I find myself taking aspects of various learning styles to succeed in college. Talking out your notes, whether to someone else or even just to yourself, is a great way to know if you have a good handle on the information the same way that doing practice problems in a math course tests your knowledge of those skills. My biggest advice is to have patience and not be overwhelmed by the trial and error process that is a very common aspect of one's college career. Have fun with it as much as possible!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

AU's Career Peer Advisors!

Did you know that your CAS Peer Advisors are not the only peer advisors on campus? American University's Career Center also has 4 peer advisors of their own who are available to meet with students to go over resumes or cover letters or even just to help familiarize yourself with the resources the Career Center has to offer its students.

The Career Peer Advisors also offer demonstrations on how to best utilize resources like AU CareerWeb and Resume Builder to get you ready for job hunting or an interview. Like your CAS Peer Advisors, these current AU students can be a great resource when trying to find internships or places to volunteer in differing areas of interest as some of the best advice can come from current students and what they have experienced themselves. They can also put you in contact with professors who may know of great opportunities in their field as well as getting you prepared to be competitive for the position. They are also knowledgable about opportunities that students have enjoyed in the past and can therefore advise based on personal experiences from other students.

The Career Peer Advisors can be easily accessed in the Career Center (5th floor of Butler Pavilion) on a walk in basis so you don't even need to make an appointment. Click here to view their desk hours!

For more information, click here to visit the Career Peer Advisor's website as well as other valuable resources including links to AU CareerWeb, interview tips, and other networking advice.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What It's Actually Like to be a Peer Advisor: A Tell All from the Current CAS Peer Advisors

Now that the applications have been distributed and information sessions are underway for the hiring of the 2013-2014 CAS Peer Advisors, we thought we'd tell you what it's really like to be a peer advisor firsthand. Check out below to learn about why each peer advisor chose the position and what the experience has been for them so far! The next and final info session will be held on Friday, March 1st from 12:00-1:00PM in the Battelle History Lounge (Battelle 130) and applications are due Thursday, March 7th. For more information feel free to contact us at CASPeerAdvisors@american.edu or stop by and see us in Battelle 164!

Meg Fischer
First, I love scheduling. I think I am one of the few students who love looking at all the course options and how I can fit everything I want to do in one schedule.

There are many reasons to love peer advising. I think that working with students and being able to answer questions and find answers is a helpful skill regardless of what you study. I can tell when a student has more questions or wants to continue talking. I think that the peer advising program is important to bridge the gap between administration and the student to making an enjoyable transition to college.

I think the most important aspect of a peer advisor would be to be personable. A lot of times, students will come to appointments thinking that they have to be formal. If they understand that you are a student too who can connect them with resources, students frequently open up and talk about what they are thinking. That gives a lot of options for how a peer advisor can best help a student.

Triana Tello Gerez
I decided to become a Peer Advisor at the end of my sophomore year when I was starting to figure out what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to do with the rest of my college career. My first years at AU I had many different majors, and while I had plans for all of them, I was also very confused. 

I have to say that, while aggravating at times, those three semesters of major exploration were quite fun and rewarding. So, when the opportunity of being a Peer Advisor came up, I took it hoping that I would be able to help students have rewarding and fun exploration experiences rather than stressful ones. I thought, "Meeting people and helping them explore their interests? That sounds like a fun job!" And it has proven to be so.

This is my second year peer advising and I have to say that this job has exceeded my expectations. I have learned a lot about being an effective communicator, I've had fun at my job every day, and I get to work with a really cool team.

Shanice Harris
“Shanice, you act just like a mother” is a statement that I honestly get tired of hearing, yet it describes my attitude and character so well. For as long as I know, I’ve always had the desire to counsel, guide, and help others in any way possible. Having said that, it’s not too difficult to guess why I was super excited to apply for a CAS Peer Advising position, right?

Becoming a CAS Peer Advisor is one of my biggest achievements to date. It has not only allowed me to help others transition well into their first year in college, but has also enabled me to build relationships with my fellow peers. Conversing and interacting with my peers everyday just solidifies my decision to accept my role as a peer advisor. Apply to become a 2013-2014 CAS Peer Advisor & believe me, you won’t regret it!

Sofie Friedman
I actually applied to be a Peer Advisor while I was abroad studying in Dublin, Ireland. At first, I had no idea what to expect but thought that it could be a good experience for my final year at AU. I thought that I had learned a lot about surviving college, specifically because I was majorly undecided for the first two entire years of my college career. Finally knowing what I wanted to pursue, I felt that it would be really enjoyable helping out freshmen who were going through the same exact process I went through. Understanding what it was like to be in their shoes I thought this job was a really cool experience to share what I had felt throughout my first few semesters.

This job has proven to be a highlight of my last year here at AU. The academic advisors are a joy to work with and the position teaches you so much about how to listen, communicate, and advise on every topic from homesickness to failing classes. The skills you learn through this job are priceless and the fact that you gain them in such a fun, laidback environment is definitely one of the aspects I've grown to love about this job!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Apply to Become One of the 2013-2014 CAS Peer Advisors!

The day has finally arrived!! Applications to become one of next year's CAS Peer Advisors are now available both online here and in the main CAS Academic Advising office (Battelle 100) and the CAS Peer Advisor office (Battelle 164).

In order to become one of the new peer advisors you must, at the time of application:

  • have an AU GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • have 30 or more credits and at least one full year completed at AU as a CAS student ***(interested first year students should contact Alicia Mandac, Senior Academic Counselor at mandac@american.edu)
  • have past leadership experience and/or an interest in advising
  • be available for training and shadowing during April 2013
  • Have 8-10 hours/week availability for the 2013-2014 academic year
  • be able to commit one academic year (Fall 2013-Spring 2014)
In order to apply you must submit:
  1. An application
  2. Resume
  3. Short Answer Responses
  4. References (2)
If you're interested or want to learn more, we  strongly encourage you to attend one of our information sessions to learn more about becoming a peer advisor and completing the application process. Our current peer advisors will be there to answer more specific questions you may have. These info sessions will be held on:

Wednesday, February 13th from 12:00-1:00 PM in the History Lounge (Battelle 130)
Tuesday, February 19th from 5:30-6:30 PM in the History Lounge (Battelle 130)
Friday, March 1st from 12:00-1:00 PM in the History Lounge (Battelle 130)

For more information feel free to contact us at CASPeerAdvisors@american.edu or pick up an application packet today!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Welcome Back!!

Hello everyone and welcome back to another semester at American University! We hope you all had a fun and relaxing break and are ready to start up another exciting semester. Now that classes are underway, we are very excited to seeing you back in our office again as we are ready to help you with any questions you may have. To remind you, your CAS Peer Advisors are here to help with scheduling questions, concerns about choosing a major, finding resources on campus, the general education program and anything in between! If we don't have the answer we'll be sure to point you in the right direction to someone who does. To make an appointment with your Peer Advisor just click here and find a time that works best for you.

This semester, our blog will be covering topics including how to be sure a major is right for you, information regarding the hiring of the new 2013-2014 CAS Peer Advisors, how to take advantage of opportunities that are right at your fingertips here in DC and much more so be sure to check out our new blog posts!

Here are our office hours for this semester. They can also be found using the appointment scheduler link above:

Meg Fischer (advising students with last names starting with A and B)
Mondays: 5:00-7:00 pm
Wednesdays (every other): 4:00-6:00 pm
Thursdays: 5:00-6:00 pm

Sofie Friedman (C-K)
Tuesdays: 3:00-5:00 pm
Wednesdays: 1:00-4:00 pm
Thursdays: 1:00-4:00 pm
Fridays: 12:30-1:30 pm

Shanice Harris (L-P)

Mondays: 10:30 am -12:30 pm
Tuesdays: 11:45 am -12:45 pm
Wednesdays: 11:30 am -12:30 pm
Thursdays: 10:30-11:30 am
Fridays: 11:45 am - 12:45 pm

Triana Tello Gerez (Q-Z)
Tuesdays: 9:00-10:00 am
Wednesdays: 9:00-11:30 am
Fridays: 9:00-11:00 am

As always if you have any questions feel free to email us at CASPeerAdvisors@american.edu. We look forward to working with you again and best wishes for an enjoyable and successful semester!!