No need to panic — check in with your advisor

November 6, 2019 | Campus Life
Maybe you’re caught in a stress spiral between a midterm and a final exam, or you’re having second thoughts about the courses you’re in. Before you make any radical decisions, reach out to an advisor.

Now that you’ve likely completed your midterms or handed in your first major assignment, you might not be feeling so great. Maybe your grades aren't what you thought they would be, you're having difficulty understanding the material or you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload. University is challenging and your confidence may have taken a beating. Thinking it might seem like a good time to cut your losses and consider another program.

STOP!

Before you make any radical changes to your schedule (and ultimately your university transcript), talk to an advisor. As you may have read in our previous “Advice from Advisors” story, your advisor is an expert in helping you navigate your program.

“Always consult with your advisor before you make changes to your program,” says Sydney Bremner, advisor, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Nursing. “And don’t guess — we’re here to take out the guesswork for you.”

Advisors do a lot of listening. They can’t help you in the way that MacEwan’s counselling services can, but they can direct you to the resources that you may not know exist.


Please note that your advisor may do things differently than advisors in other faculties and programs. However, no matter your program or faculty, an advisor can help you when you’re feeling unsure or when you want to make a major change.


“Sometimes students are stressed out and they’ve got too much going on in a particular semester,” says Sydney. “We want to make sure we’re directing them to the appropriate services on campus and that they get the help they need to be more successful.”

Rose Clancy, instructional assistant in the Fine Art program, says her most important tip for student success is to meet with your instructors during their office hours. “Many students are not comfortable letting an instructor know they are stressed and not understanding or missing information. But meeting during office hours can change things drastically for a student.”

International students and Indigenous students might also like to know that there are supports and advisors specific to their needs in the MacEwan International office and in kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre.


Services advisors can direct you to:

  • Career Development and Experiential Learning: To help you transition from classroom to career CDEL gives advice, provides resources, organizes events, lets you know about extracurricular activities and supports experiential learning opportunities, such as placements and co-ops.

  • Counselling: Any student currently enrolled in a credit course at MacEwan University can access free, on-campus, professional counselling with psychologists and clinical social workers

  • MacEwan University Health Centre: Access to comprehensive physical and mental health care, including disease prevention, health promotion, acute care and chronic care and the Rainbow Clinic.

  • Peer Support: This initiative of the Students' Association of MacEwan University is about students helping students. If you need a safe and confidential space to discuss life’s stresses and tough situations, trained listeners are waiting to meet with you.

  • Services to Students with Disabilities: If you are a student with a disability, SSD is available to offer various resources, services and accommodations to help with improving accessibility and removing barriers from your learning environment.

  • Student Ombudsperson: The student ombudsperson is an advocate for institutional fairness, and is available for advice and support on issues and decisions arising from admission to graduation

  • Writing and Learning Services: Staff assist students in developing and maintaining effective writing, citing, learning and test-taking skills.


“A lot of students are overwhelmed, stressed and reluctant to talk for various reasons,” says Janice de Graaf, advisor, Faculty of Arts and Science. But she and other advisors want you to know that reaching out is important and they are willing to help.

So don’t wait until your final exams to talk to someone about it. If you have no idea where to start on your paper or project, don’t wait to email your prof about it the night before it’s due. If you need help, the first thing you need to do is ask. You don’t need to have all the answers, but you have to reach out.

“Students may be uncomfortable approaching someone to talk to or they might not know who to go to,” says Janice. “That’s why I say advisors are a good place to start — even if students come to us and we’re not the experts in that area, we know who the experts are and where to find them.”
 

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