Tim Paulson, Big Bend Community College

April 21, 2015

Peer Advocate Profile:

After serving in the United States Air Force from 1987 to 1990, Tim Paulson worked in construction for years until his sister encouraged him to think about college. Although he has earned a 3.9 GPA, coming in as a nontraditional student was a challenge, he says. “I was excited about being a college student, but I had a lot of apprehensions, being quite a bit older than everyone.” To get acclimated, he enrolled in a college survival skills course that utilized a C2C peer advocate. Within a few weeks, Paulson was asked to consider becoming a peer advocate himself. “I did it not knowing what to expect,” he says. “Now that I’ve done it, I would recommend it to anybody.”

Paulson has been able to help students connect with one another and their community, as well as tap into campus resources. In addition to other work, he has established avenues for supporting veterans both on and off campus. Early on, he advocated for a Veteran’s Club that he was later able to help create. The group now meets regularly to address the needs of veterans on campus. As a peer advocate, Paulson designed an annual Veteran’s Day event that continues to grow in scope, connecting thousands of veterans and students in person and through social media.

C2C has helped Paulson, too: “I’m more open to working with other people and more giving of my time. It gave me something to offer.” Through this work, Paulson has come to understand the importance of peer advocacy: “I always thought it was the role of staff to teach and encourage students. After being a peer advocate, I realized how important it was to have student leaders to help students in need.” Paulson continues to serve as a campus leader by supporting both students who need help and other peer advocates. One of his students has become a peer advocate himself and now helps others, passing on the mantle of support.

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