My experience being a PASS leader

There is no doubt that the transition from school to university is challenging, but there are support networks put in place here at the University to tackle just that. The PASS scheme offers study support led by students further into their degrees. Read below to find out about PASS leader (and 4th year pharmacy student) Zunaira’s experience in helping newer students adjust to their studies.

Students studying around table

I know what it feels like to be the ‘new kid’. I moved to a new town up north when I was 11, started my ‘high school experience’ in a private school where I knew literally NO-ONE and ended up going to a sixth form where everyone felt like a stranger for 2 whole years.

Oh, and not to mention, I ended up coming to a university not knowing anyone – graduation is in less than 6 months, and I still only have 2 friends. Simply put, it IS tough being the newbie.

PASS stands for peer assisted study sessions. Students from the years above help the younger years settle in and help alleviate any stress they may have. A PASS group has 2 leaders with 15-20 students. Rather than handing out answers to the students, we help them work together to solve the question. My group just like many others use Kahoot every now and then, students become competitive and the winner in our group gets a little present at the end.

Group of students

I will however be honest, there are times when I think to myself am I really good at explaining calculations and chemistry to 2nd years, especially when all the students look more confused than ever after I have spent 20 minutes on a calculations question. But the ‘thank you’, ‘hope you have a nice week’, and students being genuinely happy with the help they have received from their PASS leaders makes each session feel fulfilling.

PASS leaders typically have to commit to 90 minutes every two weeks, made up of a one-hour PASS session (typically Pharmacy PASS sessions are on Mondays 12-1pm) and a 30-minute debrief. This may seem like a lot, but knowing that you have helped someone understand a clinical concern or helping them calculate initial dosages and seeing that lightbulb being lit up above their head is something I would not trade for the world.

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