As Student Life Ambassadors, we provide a unique perspective on student life at BCIT. Check out our articles below to learn about life at BCIT, get a sneak peek at our experiences as students, and read about the resources and tools we’ve picked up along the way.
As BCIT students find themselves transitioning to full time online classes and physical distancing from home, it is easy to become increasingly bored and unproductive.
With no obligations to wake up or be anywhere at a certain time, a day (or many days) could be easily spent lazing around in bed. There are, however, ways to help you make the most of these times and remain connected.
Keeping on top of schoolwork
It may be tempting to skip virtual lectures and ignore assignments but learning still continues! Continuing to engage in class material will provide a routine and ensure that learning outcomes set by your program are met. Remember, the real world stops for no one – you should still be working towards your academic and career goals. It is also a good way to connect with your classmates through things like virtual study dates.
Although it may be hard, there are ways to motivate yourself to do school work, some ways include:
- Setting goals and milestones
- Creating virtual study groups
- Settings rewards (ex. If I finish 2 assignments, I can binge Netflix for 2 hours)
- Studying outside (while social distancing)
Picking up new hobbies and skills
No excuses! Now is the time for you to develop and hone new skills. It is the perfect opportunity to become an expert in that one art, sport or hobby that you are interested in. Can’t think of one? Here are some activities to keep you busy during quarantine!
Who says you can’t socialize while physical distancing? Gamers have been doing this for years. Don’t really play games? You don’t have to! Calling up a friend and chatting is a great way to remain social and curb boredom. One of my favourite physical distancing activities was throwing a birthday party for one of my friends through zoom. Get creative!
Ideas on how to stay social:
Surprise your friends! Now that you’ve mastered a hobby, why not make a gift for a friend?
Drop off some baked goods, snacks, drinks, drawings, etc. and surprise someone! As long as you’re physical distancing. It’s a nice surprise during uncertain times.
Taking time for yourself
You have time now, breathe. Although school continues and the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, now is a good time to invest in self care. Sleep in, work on your skin care, eat some cake… anything that makes you feel good. Maybe do some exploring while keeping your distance from other people. Look for some blooming cherry blossoms and beautiful sunsets. Life is slowing down for some, and it’s a good time to take advantage of it.
According to Google, overwhelm means to “bury or drown beneath a huge mass.” Are you feeling overwhelmed? If yes, know that you’re not alone. I mentioned in my last article that a BCIT student takes a minimum of seven courses per term – that’s a lot.
As a second-year student at BCIT, I’ve had plenty of encounters with overwhelming episodes already. How did I overcome them? Here are the five things I do when I feel overwhelmed.
1) Talk to a friend
Verbalizing my overwhelming thoughts lets out all my bottled emotions. It was scary at first, but with the right person, I felt understood. My advice is to open up to someone you know very well. Also, the Counselling and Student Development office provides confidential counselling sessions with an expert. In this way, you rest assured that you’re in good hands.
2) Take deep breaths
Taking deep breaths is an effective way to reduce stress. It combats the rapid and short breaths caused by feelings of panic. So, inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this until you feel relaxed, calm, and collected. If you’re a person who loves phone apps, there are some great apps out there that can help you with these deep, slow breaths. For example, try Calm or Headspace.
3) Do something you love
This is my favourite part because you get to do something you enjoy doing. I like watching movies with a delicious dessert while in my pyjamas. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a pause and do something I enjoy. Take a moment and think about what you like to do. Then, do it.
4) Speak positive affirmations to yourself
Talking to yourself may sound foolish. However, with practice it gets easier. I frequently say to myself that I can do it and that I am doing a great job. Sometimes, the only way to help yourself to get out of overwhelming situations is to be kind to yourself. Now, say it with me: “I can do this!”
Having quiet time helps me to calm down in stressful situations. Personally, I like reading the bible, meditating on a bible quote, and praying quietly. BCIT is very diverse, with people of different beliefs and religious affiliations. Take time to reflect on whatever has meaning for you. There are contemplation rooms at each campus that you can use for meditation. Additionally, Counselling and Student Development offers a 30-minute Mindfulness Breaks workshop.
BONUS: Develop your resilience
Here’s a bonus tip for you: work on developing your resilience. Resilience is the ability to overcome your feelings of overwhelm. Check out this great guide for Developing Personal and Academic Resilience. The activities can help you identify the strategies that will work best for you.
My fellow BCIT students – hang in there! We’re at the last leg of midterms, and every moment of hard work you put in counts towards a brighter future. Therefore, keep your head up. It’s all going to be worth it.
BCIT runs their programs a little different from other universities. Not familiar? Allow me to enlighten you. Students in their respective programs are assigned to a group, also famously referred to as “sets.” As a set, they undergo a rigorous learning experience by having a minimum of seven courses per term. Yes, seven courses. Although the course load per program varies, the stress and anxiety during the midterm season are all the same. As a second-year student, I have experienced the pressure of midterm season a few times. Here are some insights I learned from my first year at BCIT.
Plan ahead of time
Planning ahead makes a significant difference. I cannot stress this enough. It is the most vital insight I could share. Planning for study times can lessen the number of all-nighters you will take this semester. Additionally, it reduces your worry about whether or not you are going to cover everything before the exam. And don’t forget about the ongoing term projects and quizzes before the exam. Planning your time and being strategic about it can ease the pressure of getting all your tasks done.
Ask for help from BCIT resources
As I have mentioned earlier, BCIT students are placed in sets. Take advantage of this support system. Chances are your set mates are also going through the same pressure as you. Also, they can help you with any topics you are struggling with. Additionally, the Learning Commons, located in the library, also offers peer tutoring for a number of subjects. I found them helpful when I had to deal with numbers. Another popular advice is to drop-by at the Counselling and Student Development services. Taking time off from studying and talking about what you feel can liberate you from overwhelming feelings. Counseling may sound uncomfortable, but the service at BCIT is a great help.
Take a break
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time to take a break.” However, it is necessary to take study breaks. My set mates from last year almost awarded me the “Most Time Spent on Campus” at the end of our first year because all I did was study at school. Don’t be like the first year me. I understand the guilty feeling when you take a break when you’re supposed to be studying. However, you shouldn’t feel guilty about allowing yourself to be mentally healthy. Take a break and go out with some friends. Also, a 15-minute walk makes a huge difference. The Guichon Creek at BCIT is a lovely spot for a relaxing stroll. If the weather does not cooperate, which is most of the time, hit up the rec centre and be active. Whether for a quick 15-minutes shooting hoops or a full-hour workout, take some time off from studying.
Hard work pays off
Midterm season is upon us, but don’t panic. Everything will be all right. It feels overwhelming now, but it’s going to be worth it. Don’t forget to take care of your psychological well-being. Good luck!
Starting at a new school can be tough, especially during these unprecedented times. But don’t worry, BCIT is here to help! Here are 5 awesome tips to help new students with their journey:
1) Visit the Student Success Hub
Access the Student Success Hub from your Learning Hub account and learn about all of the different services available to BCIT students, including Financial Aid, Health and Wellness, and much more! Click here to log in to Learning Hub: https://learn.bcit.ca/
2) Turn on all notifications in Learning Hub
Taking a full-time course load at BCIT is no joke – especially when you have to juggle 7 or 8 courses per semester. To keep up to date on all of your courses, enable notifications on Learning Hub so you can receive an email or text message every time there is a change, update or announcement!
3) Complete the COVID-19 PANDEMIC On-Campus Guidelines
Whether you’ll be attending BCIT in-person or online during the fall semester, you should be well-informed on the risks of COVID-19, as well as how it is transmitted and how to protect yourself. Take the COVID-19 PANDEMIC course on Learning Hub and receive a Statement of Completion, which is required when visiting any BCIT campus.
4) Take advantage of Peer Tutoring
Need some help on one or more of your courses? BCIT offers peer tutoring for a variety of different programs, such as Business, CST, and much more! Check out this page for instructions on how to access BCIT Peer Tutoring: https://www.bcit.ca/files/learningcommons/pdf/learningcommons-onlinetutoring.pdf
5) Join a club
Being a part of a club is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and make lifelong friends in the process. Check out BCIT’s 56 student-run clubs during the Kick Start: Student Services & Clubs Fair by registering here: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/c6ce40f8fa9a448ea06245657ffac42b