Mentor mum finds passion in PASS program

07 November 2022

Despite being a mother to one young daughter and heavily pregnant with her second' CQUniversity student Priya Prasad said she couldn't 'pass' on the opportunity to support her fellow students.

Up until the birth of her baby' the third-year Bachelor of Oral Health student was an active mentor in CQU's Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)' a peer-led online study group hosted by past students who have excelled in their studies.

PASS sessions are available in first-year core units which have been identified as historically challenging for students. They are facilitated by senior students who have recently received excellent grades in the unit and have completed nationally accredited training.

Priya said that as a student who was previously supported by the PASS program' she was inspired to give back to new students.

"I loved completing the Anatomy and Physiology unit and found the content extremely engaging. In turn' I became very confident with the topic'" she said.

"This encouraged me to sign up as a PASS leader. I enjoy leading group study and was actively looking for some casual work through my study – a position which was flexible to me raising a young family."

After having her second baby' Priya initially planned to have a short break from PASS until she adapted to her new routine' but the passionate leader said she 'didn't want to let her students down' and was quickly drawn back to the program.

"Surprisingly it only took me three weeks and here I am leading sessions again!"

"Being a mature age student with children' it can be difficult to balance my family life alongside my own studies and PASS – sickness' tantrums and other unexpected family commitments are always bound to come up'" Priya explained.

"I always made sure that I am a bit ahead with my studies to give a leeway for all the unexpected things life would throw at me. I also schedule my PASS sessions on my days off to ensure my studies don't get compromised."

As PASS is a program that prides itself on providing leadership opportunities by recruiting students who undergo nationally accredited training to plan and facilitate sessions' Priya said the program helped her gain valuable skills.

"As a student and a PASS leader' my role isn't an authoritative position' but rather a peer who has faced the same challenges'" she said.

"I love being able to empathise with the students and share the tips that helped me.

"I think another awesome part was being able to take advice from the other students which helped to manage my own study concerns."

She encouraged other experienced students to consider signing up as PASS leaders' and for first-year students to join as participants.

"PASS is a non-judgmental study group where you can be yourself'" she said.

"We share our doubts' discuss topics' and try to gain an understanding of difficult concepts. This is something we focus on at every session.

"It is all about being enthusiastic about studying and sharing your knowledge."