Student Friday Message #12 (Nov. 27, 2020)

Hello,

Maggie in advising says I should try a video message to you – so here is my first attempt. Let me know if we should try more! https://youtu.be/3fWeHtGN59w

What a week this has been! Rapidly changing COVID numbers, changing health directives, and now we are moving back to on-line for the rest of the term. Whew! It is a lot. Especially as you approach the end of your term, write your final assignments, and plan for finals.

The University COVID Taskforce met many times and consulted with AHS about the most responsible actions to take in the face of the climbing COVID cases. As you know from Dr. Turcotte’s email, we have decided that the best way to keep everyone safe and to safeguard our healthcare system as much as possible given the enormous demands is to support Dr. Hinshaw’s call to work from home wherever possible. That means closing campus to all but essential services until the end of the term. There is one Biology lab that will take place in person. If there are any other exceptions, you will be notified by your instructors.

I am really proud that the university was able to offer as much in-person as we did – and we almost made it to the end of the term. Everybody’s health is so important. We aren’t going to risk that. So, we will all adjust again and stay on-line so we can narrow the number of contacts and interrupt the drastic climb of COVID rates.

Look at the positives – you will have more focused time for those last weeks of class and your final assignments. And you can stay in your fave sweatpants.

Library Resources

The Library will remain open for contactless pickup Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri from 9 -11 AM and 1-3 PM. Please request your items via the library website and we will notify you by email when they are ready for collection. Please ensure that messages from circulation@stmu.ca are not being sent to your junk mail.

The return of library materials can happen any time through the outside book drop. This return slot is open 24/7! Please note: all items will remain on your account for 7 days while they undergo a mandatory quarantine period. Any fines and fees that appear on your account during this time will be automatically removed once we are able to safely handle them for check-in.

Follow the Library’s social media for updates, research recommendations, and more. We can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @StMU_Library

Student Survey – More Results

As promised last Friday, here are more results from the survey you completed about services you have accessed this term:

Learning Centre/Seminars/Peer Mentoring/Accommodations 9.70%
Counselling 4.31%
Career Services 2.43%
Financial Services 8.76%
Academic Advising 13.75%
Campus Ministry 1.75%
Faculty Office Hours 7.68%
Study Spaces on Campus 7.01%
Laptop Loaner Program 0.27%
Library (in-person or contactless pick-up) 6.33%
Bookstore (in-person or contactless pick-up) 36.12%
Student Clubs 1.89%

I really appreciate the time you took to send some comments, as they provide a great sense of how you are doing in this strange time and what you are finding most useful. So many of you were encouraging and expressed your appreciation of the ways in which St. Mary’s is responding to the COVID situation. You also sent some helpful pointers and resources (see below). Here’s what we learned:

  • We overlooked asking about Indigenous Initiatives
  • An equal number of you want more in-person opportunities and want to stay home
  • Many of you are using great strategies to cope with stress – exercise, journalling, time in nature, family, eating healthily, humour, prayer and friends
  • Some of you are finding it hard to keep motivated and keep up with the workload
  • Some of you are enjoying learning on-line much more than you thought you would
  • The regular information we are sending seems to be helpful and keeps you connected. You want even more resources!
  • I love those all the mini contests! Like there should be Christmas contests and anything else! Trivia maybe to win gift cards to the bistro or the bookstore or something – Check out the Library Social Media a Christmas contest – and funny Friday TikTok video
  • Send out a weekly “smile” like a funny video! – see above
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!

We really heard you on this last point. So we collaborated with your Student Legislative Council in Monday’s Student Town Hall. There we shared the results of the student survey, the University’s COVID response in the fall and to come in January, and proposed tuition and fees for next academic year. Students had excellent questions and comments – and requested we have Town Halls more frequently. So we will! I am also going back to weekly Friday messages to keep you always in the loop.

Thank you for your encouraging words. Staff and faculty have been working really hard to support your success. It means a lot that you took the time to share what has been working. Here are a few highlights:

  • I am doing really well, and I think the school is doing a big part to promote my wellbeing.
  • Honestly, I don’t think that there is anything else you guys could do. You are doing a great job!
  • Keep doing what you’re doing. The school has handled things really well.
  • St Mary’s has been really great with everything they’ve done for COVID, especially my professors, they’re very understanding in this time.
  • Staff are responding so quickly to emails and questions! Keep up the good work.

This week’s Top Resources

  1. Scientifically the best ways to study for exams: https://blog.suny.edu/2013/12/scientifically-the-best-ways-to-prepare-for-final-exams/
  2. StMU Counselling Services. To make an appointment with a counsellor text 403-333-4292.
  3. Using EBooks through the StMU Library: http://library.stmu.ca/?p=8320
  4. 5 Loaves Food box delivery – if you are in need: Text or call: 403-909-2410 or https://www.stmu.ca/campus-ministry/
  5. Practise joy. In honour of Charles Schultz’s (Creator of Snoopy and Peanuts) birthday this week.

Have a wonderful weekend – and remember to breathe.

Tara Hyland-Russell
Vice-President Academic