University 101 Programs

Mackenzie Johnson

Senior Peer Leader, USC

Hometown: Loveland, Ohio

Major(s):Public Health

Graduation month/year: May 2018

Favorite spot on campus: The pool deck at Strom during the spring. I love to study and relax at the tables by the sand volleyball courts.

Campus/community involvement: Campus Recreation Group Exercise Instructor, Strictly Running employee, and Clarke & Company Benefits Intern

Best part of your Peer Leader experience: My favorite part of being a U101 Peer Leader was learning about my students and building relationships with them that last long beyond their first semester. One of my favorite things ever is when I am walking on campus and see one of my students and get to stop and chat with them for a few minutes about how things are going.

Most impactful part of your Peer Leader experience: The most impactful part of my peer leader experience was watching the growth in my students throughout their first semester. In the beginning, most of them are so lost (figuratively and literally!) and it is extremely rewarding to be a useful mentor that helps connect them to organizations, clubs, study solutions, and other campus resources that ultimately help them find a home within USC.

Piece of advice for new Peer Leaders: Be confident in your peer leading ability, but don't be afraid to show vulnerability. I cannot emphasize the importance of approachability when serving as a peer leader, and part of that is not being afraid to admit that you don't know all the answers, that you still struggle with time management, or that you still get homesick-remind them that you are a student, too!

Piece of advice for new USC students: College, like everything else in life, is a balance. As someone who chronically over commits and burns out, I would tell first-year students to take care of themselves (easier said than done, I know!). While you're juggling your social life, work, clubs, and schoolwork, make sure to squeeze in some R&R for yourself.