Have You Heard About Peer Academic Coaches?

Anna Darling, Features Editor

Have you ever struggled with time management as an upperclassman? Do you need an accountability partner to help you keep track of social and academic life? Have you ever wanted to organize your life but you’re not quite sure how to get it done? Randolph-Macon College provides Peer Academic Coaches that could help you achieve all this and more!

Two PACs, Hannah Doty and Mel Fleischer, sat down to discuss their position, full of excitement to share all about it. Fleischer said, PACs “provide you with tools so that you can use it on your own time to learn how you study best, how you manage your time best, and that kind of stuff.” It’s really about “finding what works best for you.” Doty compared tutors and PACs, saying, “subject tutors help you understand the content in your class, and we are everything else that helps you be a successful student.”  “R-MC uses the word ‘success’ a lot,” Fleischer said, “I know that’s such a buzzword, but it’s true. We want you to be successful.”

PACs are excited to help those around them. If you are looking for someone who understands your lifestyle, there are many PACs to choose from. “If you’re looking for someone to keep you accountable, go to Noah Babin,” Fleischer said. Some participate in sports, some are studying to become nurses, some are STEM majors. “If you’re looking for humanities, come to me or Hannah,” Fleisher said. “We’re just a friend to help point you in the right direction,” Doty said, “we’re not scary!” Also, if you meet a PAC and you don’t have a connection, “you can break up with your PAC and find a new one,” Hannah said. “Find what works,” she encourages.

Over this semester, PACs have seen a rise in the students making appointments and stopping by. Doty said this is because “we’ve allowed people to sign up for appointments with PACs without going through Morgan [Merkel], because usually you had to be on academic probation.” Now, any upperclassman can make an appointment. Besides that, Fleischer said, “I wish more faculty knew.” Even after sending multiple emails, it’s still hard to get into contact with all the faculty and update them about PACs.

Anyone can make an appointment with a PAC. No one will be turned away, however, “we’re more of a support system after your freshman year,” Doty said. Usually, Captains will fulfill the same type of role as PACs fulfill for upperclassmen. “We encourage people to go to their Captains first if they are a freshman,” Fleischer said, “but if you don’t feel like you have that connection with your Captain, feel free to see us.” “Captains have a really good, specific incite to first year students and what they need, and they’re trained for that,” Doty explains, “were here once you leave your Captain.”

Doty gave some advice to those struggling with time management issues. She said, “have a Google Calendar and set it up on your phone.” At the start of every new meeting, PACs ask students if they have one. If not, they set one up immediately. You’ll get notifications before every activity and can even put blocks in to tell you when it’s time to do homework.

Are you looking to become a PAC? There’s no official application process, but those looking to be subject tutors have a great chance of becoming PACs after a few semesters of being a tutor. “If you have interest in applying for more skills–Morgan will ask you,” the two added together. And, if you have interest while you’re applying to be a subject tutor, mentioning your interest in becoming a PAC will put you on Merkel’s radar. It just takes building “off those skills from being a tutor,” Fleischer said.

To learn more about PACs, visit R-MC’s website at https://www.rmc.edu/academics/academic-support/subject-tutoring/meet-the-pac