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Student Leadership Showcase: Salma Bafagih

November 4, 2022

Salma Bafagih was selected as the Peer Leader of the Month for her commitment to engagement in the Program. Here is what she had to say about her experience as a Peer Leader.salma-bafagih-1.png

Why did you decide to be a Peer Leader?

It started when I had my own peer leader in my first year. Her name was Mariam, she was so sweet. It was so helpful to realize we shared some fears around socializing and I was able to share all my anxiety and worries with her. I wanted to be that kind of support to somebody else. I have a lot of tips that I could provide to first years and I can provide a sense of comfort since I have been in the same situation as them and I just wanted to help others the way that I was helped.

How would you describe your experience as a Peer Leader? 

My experience thus far has been really nice, especially as things are starting to happen more in person again. I feel really involved with the program and with the school community as well. With being a peer leader and an ambassador, I'm able to take part in lots of events and curate a healthy campus community. It's something that I'm really proud to be a part of!

What were your goals going into the school year?

My goal going into September was to really engage with my first-year students and encourage them to communicate with me and encourage them to reach out and ask for support from their faculty from other peers. I also wanted to promote that sense of campus community because they can get help with whatever they need.  I am happy to give them tips on how to do well at school too!

What was the most memorable part of Orientation? 

The most memorable part was when I got to connect with one of my first years on campus. It was really nice meeting them. I got to know more about them and why they chose their program, which happened to be the same as mine, in the Faculty of Health Sciences. I was even able to stay in contact with them. 

What did you learn from being a PL?

I learned to always take initiative even though you may not see the results of it immediately, or you may not know that you've man an impact on someone, it really does make a difference. So the things that I say and the encouragement that I give to someone, they might not really appreciate it in the moment but it may stick with them. I think that this lesson has really solidified within me, especially after meeting one of my mentees in person. We hadn't communicated too much before that but they expressed that I made them feel comfortable and I empowered them to reach out to services that help them with their tests and assignments.


Did you attend any events this month and if so what was your favourite part about it?

I attended the Trivia night hosted by the Health Science Society and the Senior Peer Leaders within the Health Science faculty. It was really memorable for me because it was a nice healthy competition between a lot of other people. I also got to meet people from different faculties as well and make that connection with people through something like trivia. You don't really think much will come out of it, but it was a really nice and enjoyable experience. I felt closer to my campus especially with my first year being completely online. I'm really happy that I was able to be in person for an event and make that connection with other people and have a fun time.

How does the Peer Leader program relate to your personal/professional goals? 

I've always wanted to have an impact on other people's lives and within this role, I'm able to use my own experiences to help other people. Also, it’s not only you teaching them, there are also so many people teaching me and I'm gaining so much more experience, especially interpersonal skills. I know that before this program, I wasn't too good at writing emails or communicating professionally and they also helped me familiarize myself with resources. I know that I can reach out if I need help just as much as people can reach out to me when they need help. With my professional career, I really want to be a doctor one day and within this role, I am taking it as kind of a mentorship. Within my future career, I will be taking on kind of similar responsibilities and really helping people with their health and supporting them.

How has the Peer Leader program helped you develop thus far? 

It really helped me with my communication skills. I tend to be very introverted, but it's helped me know that when I do take the initiative and speak to someone, I can make an impact on them so it's helped me gain a lot of confidence in myself and what I can do and what I can bring to the table. It's also helped me be more involved in the campus and the campus community. I usually tended to keep to myself a lot but now I can really embrace the campus that I'm part of and embrace the people that are within my campus. I feel much more comfortable in the space. I'm also trying to pass that comfort and belonging to others.

Would you recommend others be a Peer Leader, if so why?

I definitely do because everybody experiences things differently and has different ways of responding to different situations and maybe what I do or the advice that I can give may impact someone differently than advice from another. Everyone brings forward their unique lived experiences and you are able to connect and share these invaluable skills. As we come together, we add to the campus connectedness. 

If you look back, is there anything you would change or work on?

I could have taken on even more initiative, maybe sending a few more emails or trying to communicate with others in a better way. I would really encourage my first years to meet up on campus or go to certain events more. I think that this will not only improve their connection with the campus but it will also improve my connection with them.

How does it feel to be the Peer Leader of the month? 

It feels really strange because yeah like I said before, you don't really know how much of an impact you make until something like this happens so, it's really nice. I felt really happy just to know that whatever impact it was that I was able to hold was enough to be deserving of getting a shoutout this month and I really appreciate this moment. Thank you, and I'll figure out ways to increase my impact, even more, to make bring about positive change in other people's lives.

For additional information about the Peer Leader Program, please navigate through the FAQ section or email