By Laura Dokis
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when beginning the journey of post-secondary education.
Being in a new environment pursuing a new endeavor presents many potential rewards and pitfalls. It can be challenging for anyone, regardless of their stage of life, certainty of choice of program, location from home, academic preparedness and financial circumstances. Researching the resources and support services available to you and avoiding negative activities and influences is the key to your success.
While attending post-secondary studies in an urban setting you can start by identifying services and individuals within the institution that can help guide your studies and be available when you encounter difficulties. Seek out First Nations student services and other service areas within the college or university you are attending and make contact with them within the first week or two. Familiarize yourself with what services are offered and be prepared to use them.
Ask for referrals to other departments that can assist you with areas where you feel you may require support and get involved in cultural and social activities. Many cities are home to Friendship Centres that can also enhance your educational and social experience.
As you get settled, avoid the temptation of letting social activities overwhelm your studies. The same is true for part-time work. While these can be rewarding and enhance your educational experience and resume, they should not become your primary focus.
Keeping in touch with family and friends at home is easier today with the use of technology and you may initially find yourself spending a good deal of time focusing on what’s happening with them. Concentrate on the reasons you decided to attend post-secondary studies and be realistic about the amount of time you spend online. Remember that people at home are proud of you and will be happy to know that you are making progress towards your goal.
Surround yourself with people and groups who are as serious as you are about achieving their academic goals. Joining a study group or signing up for peer tutoring can assist you with specific subjects, projects or assignments that you are struggling with. If you find that you have an area of strength, you can apply to become a peer tutor yourself. This is a great way to meet new people, enrich your knowledge and advance your career goals.
Remember what motivated you to pursue post-secondary studies and stay focused on the things that will support and enhance your success.
Laura Dokis has worked as an education administrator, career counsellor, and human resources professional at Anishinabek Educational Institute and Canadore College.