Here’s how the program works: All first-year students take Health 100 during their initial semester, providing a foundation of evidence-based knowledge surrounding timely health topics such as sleep and goal setting coupled with engagement in the classroom fostered by peer leaders. Those interested in becoming peer leaders enroll in Health 200, where they are further educated in the science of health and trained on how to lead peers in discussions, as well as how to serve as a positive role models to support students navigating health as freshman in a new environment. Health 300 is the final course in the program, where effectively trained students become peer leaders, known as Peer Health Partners (PHPs), and facilitate weekly discussions with Health 100 students, under faculty supervision. By design, each course translates evidence-based knowledge to encourage students to apply learned concepts to their lived college experiences to enhance health across the span of their lifetimes.
We were pleased to receive submissions from 82 of 84 enrolled students, with stories spanning most of the topics covered in Health 100 or 200 - from sleep, to stress, to goal setting, to behavior change strategies. It was evident that students spent considerable time analyzing their experiences to pick out the concept that impacted them most, and it was enjoyable hearing them articulate their stories. The highlight for us, personally, were the striking connections made between course content and each students’ health journey, confirming program intentions. Four of the vignettes have been selected to share here, with student permission. Please note that for quality purposes, they have been transcribed from their audio versions.