Goucher College Peer Listeners
Available every night, 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. Talk to a peer who knows what it means to listen.
We are a group of students who have been trained in listening and crisis management skills, and who want to talk with you about whatever is on your mind! Call to arrange to meet in the campus safe space in Pearlstone to talk about: academic pressures, relationship issues, social dilemmas, anxiety, stress, experiences with trauma, or anything else you need.
Peer Listeners' Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the peer listeners?
We are 18 Goucher students with varied interests and personalities who have one thing in common: we genuinely love to listen! We of course have a lot of Psychology students, but also Dance, Spanish, Communications, American Studies, Education, Philosophy, and more. We are athletes, writers, singers, and photographers. Many of us have already studied abroad, to countries such as Italy, England, China, Barbados, Israel, and Holland.
We were carefully selected for this role, and at the beginning of every semester we receive about forty hours of training. We are fellow students, many of whom have known what it means to need to be truly heard, and we are a part of this group because we want to be that person for others.
What can I expect when I meet with a peer listener?
You can expect to talk with someone who will listen to you non-judgmentally, and who will keep what you share with us private. You can expect to be provided resources both on and off campus when relevant, but you will not hear us tell you what to do about your situation. You can expect us to care, to ask questions, to respect boundaries and, for the most part, to let you guide our interaction. We believe that you are the only expert on your wants, needs, and feelings, and so we listen in a way that allows you to work through things for yourself.
Wait, what do you mean "meet" with a peer listener? Don't we just talk on the phone?
When you call the peer listener cell phone number, 443-632-7799, between 7 pm and 2 am any night of the week, an on call peer listener will answer. He or she will talk with you on the phone only to arrange to meet with you in a private office, above the Goucher Post Office and Bookstore. We do not use the hotline model because we believe that true listening is meant to take place in person, so that non-verbal cues are part of the conversation.
What should I call about?
Anything!!! During our training, we learn about sexual violence, dating violence, grief, anxiety, depression, first year adjustment, relationships, eating disorders, substance issues, and other experiences Goucher students could be dealing with at any given time. If you are worried about someone else, if you are just stressed and need to vent, if you are homesick, if you are sick of your friends trying to tell you what to do when all you want is to be able to talk through something-all of these are great reasons to talk with a peer listener!
Goucher is so small. Isn't it going to be awkward?
It's possible that you will know the peer listener who answers the phone. If that is the case, before you share any information about why you have called, you and the peer listener can decide together whether it is comfortable to meet with each other. If you decide it is not, the peer listener will call the other peer on call and ask her or him to meet with you instead.
So you don't talk to other students about what I tell you, but what about staff? Do you keep everything private?
We may talk with someone else about what you have shared with us if we feel that there exists a threat to someone's safety. Depending on the type and urgency of the situation, we will reach out to a staff member who we believe, based on our training, can best help. This has been a very uncommon circumstance, but if it does arise, we will both inform you beforehand and will provide you options as to when, how, and with whom we move forward.
How can I become a peer listener?
The application process for new peer listeners begins right around October of each year. Students are selected at that time to be invited to our intensive training, which is held the week before the spring semester begins. If you would like more information about the program, application process, or training, contact Cynthia Terry, college chaplain, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410.337.6048.