by Melissa Judd
Assistant Dean, Students

One day recently, a student came in for an advising appointment. I greeted her in the reception area and we walked down the long hall to my office. As she looked around, she said, “I’ve never been here before.”

Was she thinking, This is where the magic happens or did she feel like she was traveling beyond the wall?*

It was hard to say.

We sat down to talk about something fairly benign, like course selection or key dates. And then our conversation veered away into more existential topics such as her feeling out-of-sorts and ungrounded; she was concerned about what the future may hold. We talked about some strategies and resources on campus.

When she left, she was a little more equipped to cope with the rest of her week. She could make informed choices about what she wanted to do next. She was welcome to come back again.

Many things contribute to a student’s success in the classroom. Occasionally life piles on a number of stressors that make the weight of it all feel like a little more than you can manage. Not only are you tasked with understanding financial accounting and figuring out when your group can get together to talk about a presentation in marketing. But then something joyous arrives in your life, like a new baby (who sleeps in 45 minute increments) or someone in your family gets sick and needs your support. You change jobs, you get a job, you get packaged out of a job. In these moments, talking to an academic advisor may help you navigate all of the moving parts in your new situation and explore choices.

You may not love all the options in front of you, but you’ll know what they are, and be equipped to make an informed decision about how to move forward.

Many of our students join us from various corners of the globe. They’ve packed up their lives, left their social supports behind and landed here in the hopes of starting a new life in Canada or heading home after completing their degree with much sought-after credentials. Some are studying in a second language. I have great admiration for these students; it takes a lot of courage to do this. Talking to an advisor about services such as buddy programs, where to pray on campus, resources on academic writing and workshops on proper citation can all help smooth out the rough patches.

Further, returning to school requires you to revisit habits that once served you well (or not), but are now really holding you back. Study habits for instance. Managing stress. Dealing with conflict. Expressing your opinions in large groups (possibly in a second language). There are some amazing resources that are in place, on campus, to help you become more skilled at navigating these areas. Learning how to be more effective will only make you a better employee, manager, leader, partner, and parent.

Know that we are here if you need us. Book an appointment to touch base- we can connect by phone, Skype, and in person. Your success is important to us.

In fact, that’s really why advising matters so much- because you do!

*Shameless Game of Thrones reference