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OVC Peer Helpers

OVC Peer Helpers Crest


  1. Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
  2. Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  3. Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  4. Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  5. Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
  6. Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep
  7. Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
  8. Spiritual: Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life

Peer helpers are OVC student veterinarians who can assist their fellow student veterinarians with both academic and personal matters. They are part of the OVC Student Affairs Office. Their responsibilities include:

Providing broad-based support and guidance to all student veterinarians in OVC. Here are some examples of areas where guidance has been previously provided:

  • Managing workload
  • Anxiety and Panic
  • Stress Management
  • Life Balance
  • Time Management
  • Conflict Management

Heightening awareness among student veterinarians of available resources:

Assisting in the creation of new programs, resources and services in response to the needs of student veterinarians such as:

Learning Strategies with Jason Dodd, October 7 2020 slides and video

Compassion Fatigue Talk Slides

Studying Smarter for the DVM Program with Jason Dodd

Sleep for Success with Kathy Somers

Compassion Fatigue DVM Style with Dr. Debbie Stoewen

Pursuing Wellness: Recognizing Distress & Impairment

Stress Less for Tests

and more ...

  • Exam review sessions and study skills for first and second year students
  • Yoga program
  • Better sleep program
  • Study skills workshop
  • NAVLE information sessions
  • Orientation transition talks for each phase
  • Peer Helper Connect Program
  • Stress busting activities (i.e. Ball hockey, dodgeball tournament, January Jam Session)

Peer Helpers are always looking for more suggestions regarding how to make life easier for student veterinarians

Be sure to watch the University of Guelph's President's Consent Message and check out the free resources on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's website

Do you Recognize Yourself?

Some positive personality traits of student veterinarians:

  • Devoted to others
  • Intelligent
  • Competitive
  • Compassionate
  • Self-Controlled
  • Perfection Seeking
  • Objective
  • Dedicated to the Profession

How to Decide if you could benefit from speaking with an OVC Peer Helper

Here are some common areas students need assistance with in previous years:

  • You are having trouble managing the DVM workload
  • You are having trouble with time management
  • You have a lack of motivation to study
  • You are experiencing conflict in your school life or personal life
  • You are experiencing anxiety and panic (for more information follow the link: Anxiety Disorders* )
  • You have a high level of stress (for more information take a look at the Stress Management Info Kit*)
  • You are having trouble finding a balance between your social life and school work
  • You are experiencing unpleasant feelings and thoughts or you are noticing changes physically or in your actions

If you know of someone who may need professional counselling please put them in touch with Counselling Services. The following link have information on some more serious issues:

*All information used with the permission of Counselling Services and the Student Support Network

There may be an app for that: Here are the top 10 apps recommended by that support mental health.

OVC Peer Helpers

If you need assistance with any matter related to students in which you think an OVC Peer Helper could be helpful, please contact them in person, or individually by e-mail.


OVC 2022

Mark Rossi (

Heather Bauman (

OVC 2023

Keisha Harris (

Jason Woo (

OVC 2024


International Student Peer Helper

Juancho Orjuela (


*Source: Swarbrick, M. (2006). A Wellness Approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29(4), 311–314