Courtesy of Diana Madueno
Cerritos College hosted a virtual Zoom COVID-19 peer support group on March 9 to allow students to have a safe space to discuss their feelings or what has been going on in their lives during this pandemic.
Three people came to join to disclose information about certain things in their lives and discuss with each other the questions that were asked. Due to it being a safe space, certain information is not to be shared.
The moderator, Diana Madueno, started the discussion by asking how everyone was feeling during the pandemic. Those involved shared how they felt and talked about ways to get through these tough times.
Conversations about doing school online arose and students shared their concerns about it. One Cerritos College student, Grace Medrano, stated how she preferred Zoom class online because it was “easy to access.”
Two out of the three students talked about upcoming midterms and how they were going to prepare for it. Due to the stress of online learning and the shared experiences of it, students felt comfortable disclosing information about possible anxiety or tips to survive this online world.
Students also shared about their experiences dealing with crowded situations and their concerns about cases that might rise over spring break.
In response to why Cerritos College started to host these sessions, Madueno said “The students mentioned to the student life staff that they thought it was a need.”
While there was not much to talk about due to the small amount of students who participated in this session, students were still able to connect and relate to each other. “This [connection] was one of the reasons why it was a must for the students to do this peer support group,” said Madueno.
There was no direction or guide on how the discussions worked. It was ultimately left to the students to piggy-back off each other’s response.
“We don’t have a set of topics,” said Madueno. “We go with whatever the group wants to discuss. It’s peer support, so we let them guide it. We just facilitate to make sure nobody is disrespectful and that everyone makes space for people to talk.”
The amount of people in these discussions varied every time. “We can get 10 people and four participants, but we usually have at least three people,” said Madueno.
Any student is allowed to join, regardless of GPA or specific requirements. They just must be a student at Cerritos College.
For those who participate, besides a safe place to disclose information, Madueno provides a list of on-campus resources and often shares that with the participants such as counseling, tutoring sessions offered and food or financial aid help.
If one feels unmotivated during this pandemic, needs to connect with others or needs helpful resources, the virtual COVID-19 peer support group meets every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. Their next meeting is today, March 23, and anyone can join through the Zoom link on the Cerritos College website events.