As a student and teacher, I’m sensitive to the ways we transition and socialize students into K-12, postsecondary, and postgrad education. Heck, perhaps that’s why I’m so keen to cultivate connections and communities for support, mentorship, and friendship. Most recently, I’ve recognized how important it is to REALLY support my former students and mentees during their current learning curves, whether it’s choosing prospective schools, starting a new program, figuring out funding and finances, changing majors or programs, or choosing between multiple options and opportunities.
I’ve been on both sides of it. I’ve called friends and family for emergency phone calls to support that moment I open an email or letter holding seemingly unbearable news. I’ve also had to listen in and participate in the communal shrieking [I can’t even mimic this sound haha!], shouting [No, I told YOU so! AHHH!], or slamming [“You didn’t get it? Well, they don’t know what they’re missing!”]. Navigating school and scholarship application rigmarole or working to finesse the rhetoric in grant applications, I’ve met with professors late into the evening, emailing back-and-forth over the weekends to finalize proposals (and sometimes they’re last minute!). I recently had to do the same thing with my former Grade 12 students, writing several letters of recommendation while on a 6-week travel stint for data collection and conferences AND writing my own applications. Now I know how it feels when I ask faculty for last minute recommendation requests! Oh gosh, and do you recall your first few events . . .where you find yourself in the same room with your academic or professional role models and don’t know how to deal? I’ve been there numerous times myself and when it’s for my students or friends, I’ve encouraged them to say hello and shake hands.
This year, being on both the supported and supportive ends, the experience has been quite rewarding. During the last few weeks of my program at Ryerson, I’m making the time to see off my former students and mentees for yet another September. I love this time of year.
Of course. . . this was originally just supposed to be a sharing of a NYTimes article, but it seems like I had a lot to say…
I wanted to share this article from the New York Times: readers submitted helpful and honest tips to incoming college/university students:
“Plain and simple: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Seriously, life happens to all of us. Professors are people. T. A.s are people. They understand that “the struggle is real,” and sometimes you just need a helping hand. And whenever you’re feeling alone or overwhelmed, just remember that all the other freshmen are in the same boat. You are not alone.”
Read the article: NYTimes: Readers share back-to-school tips for incoming freshmen.
Photo by Jessica Lucia via Flicker.