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The APA Program: A unique leadership opportunity

Leadership application deadlines. Yes, it is that time of year on the ORU campus. Students are “discussing” and “seeking the Lord” about what position(s) to apply for.

One leadership option is the academic peer adviser position.

“It is a really good leadership opportunity, with an approachable position,” said Kayla Campbell, an APA in Susie. “Being an APA gives unique opportunities to connect with others on the floor. The program’s goal is ‘to love God and love people.’ [Students] should want to be a part of it.”

Campbell said whether you are a freshman figuring out ePortfolio, a sophomore wanting some help with your biology homework or an upperclassman just needing some encouragement, APAs should be on speed dial.

“I just like to help people,” said Micah Samuelson, an APA in EMR.

Compared to the resident adviser position and the chaplain appointment, APAs must tackle their own homework while helping others with their out-of-class assignments. Lindsay Williamson is a junior nursing student, a tutor and an APA. She said time management is key in the midst of a full schedule.

“Being an APA has helped me be more accountable for myself,” she said. “I have to be on top of being a leader, a tutor and doing my own studies. I’ve gotten really good at making a calendar.”

There is no argument, however, that RAs and chaplains have quite a heavy load of their own.

“If you are wanting to join leadership, but unsure if you can juggle the time for being a chaplain or RA, becoming an APA is still a smart choice (all puns aside),” she said. “The APA program isn’t as hard or rigorous to get into as the others. For APAs, you fill out an application, get interviewed, go to a few meetings, have a certain GPA and sound like a fun person.”

Once chosen and placed, all the APAs attend one big meeting every other week. There is a unique quality to this aspect.

“We do all dorm groups together, guys and girls, which is something you don’t find in the RA or Chaplain program,” said Campbell. “I feel this makes APAs really connected, because we all get to see and interact with each other regularly.”

Although they are called “academic peer advisors,” but their role on the floor goes beyond the text books.

“With sophomores through seniors, I feel like it’s more of a partnership, versus mentorship, like it is with the freshman, whom I’m mainly teaching stuff,” said Campbell. “My door is usually open and people just stop in and talk to me about things that aren’t school related. I really appreciate that, because it comes from having formed relationships.”

From forming those relationships, some APAs get opportunities to talk to students on deeper topics, as if they were just a friend and not leadership.

“It’s a leadership position that’s more relatable to everyone else,” said Williamson. “When someone may not want to go and get in trouble with the RA or feel spiritually bad with chaplains, they will talk to an APA. Even though that’s not how the [RA and chaplain] programs work, that’s still the stereotype that goes with them. Since we’re are not as high on the totem pole, you can just go in and be more of a friend.”

APA applications can be picked up in Student Resources on the 6th floor of the LRC. They are available and accepted throughout the academic year.

“Students should consider applying,” said Campbell.

Williamson said she has embraced the heart of the program and appreciates its purpose.

“We’re just trying to love everyone and build relationship,” she said. “We’re not trying to lead as much as we’re trying to walk beside.”

 

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