The BCIT community has some great advice to share. Let the experiences of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni help pave the road for you on your BCIT journey. Watch for BCIT’s Secrets for Success in your regular student newsletter, and catch up on previous tips here.
“It is surprising how many times students express hesitation, guilt, or shame about reaching out for support. Somehow they feel that they should be able to adapt quickly and seamlessly to the demands of their BCIT program, while juggling other priorities and navigating the unexpected obstacles and upheavals that will inevitably pop up in their life outside of BCIT. My advice for student success can be boiled down to three things:
- Know what supports are available to you at BCIT. Explore the services available through BCIT Student Services and the Student Association. Know where to find the information when you need it.
- Understand that the services are there for good reason. BCIT prides itself on its intensive programming. We know our programs are challenging and that your life doesn’t stop while you are studying. We expect that you will need help at some point – service access is the expected norm, not the exception.
- Access services early and often. Don’t wait until you are drowning before you reach out. It takes self-awareness, maturity, and strength of character to know when you need help and to take steps to ask for it.
We are here to serve you. If you need help and aren’t sure what’s available, Early Assist is an excellent place to start.”
– Cathy Mutis, Student Life Office
“Finding time to stay active can be challenging with the demands of our busy lives, but physical activity isn’t just a great way to maintain physical health – it can actually help make you a better student. Research shows that doing 20 minutes of moderate exercise before studying improves concentration. Physical activity also increases blood flow to the brain, engaging your neurons and encouraging cell growth in your hippocampus, the part of your brain associated with learning, emotions, and creating new memories.
Whatever form your physical activity takes, commit to setting realistic goals, establish a routine, and look for fun opportunities. At Recreation Services, we are currently offering a variety of live online fitness classes, exercise videos, workout tips, and fun challenges at Healthy at Home – all free to BCIT students. Exercise is like medication for your physical and mental well-being. Be sure to take your daily dose of exercise each day, it will help you succeed in your studies.”
– Kevin Seymour, Recreation Services
“When I was a student one thing that I learned early on was to find out what supports were available to me as a student, and to take advantage of them. Now, my work is dedicated to ensuring that you feel comfortable and confident in doing so yourself. From counselling, to tools for effective time management, to accessing recreation classes or applying for bursaries, supports are in place to help you succeed!
Attending the Kick Start fair at the beginning of the term, whether you are a new or returning student, is a great way to learn about these services, how to access them, and how to take an active part in supporting your well-being while studying at BCIT. And if you’re unsure where to start or what service you may need to access, you can always reach out to the Student Life Office and we will help get you connected.”
– Tawni Ormrod, Student Entry & Transition Coordinator
“Keep the end in mind. One piece of advice I have would be to remember why you signed up for school. Keeping your life goals at the forefront — whether that is having a stable income to buy a house, traveling, funding your wedding, or making your family proud — helps with your resilience. It gives you motivation to do well and overcome learning obstacles. Remembering your “why,” in the middle of a low point where achievement seems unattainable, helps with your grit to keep going forward.
You are the average of the closest people in your life. Good study groups and reliable friends are important to thrive and do well in BCIT’s intense academic environment. A healthy group that supports each other, helps shed light on each other’s blind spots, and helps increase morale is a great way to thrive in a difficult program while creating memories with friends. A great place to find a supportive group of friends outside of your cohort is with BCIT Peer Tutors at the Learning Commons.”
– Carlos Suzara, Architecture and Building Technology Alumnus, Class of 2020
“As a fellow BCIT student, I encourage you to seek out and take advantage of the incredible services your Student Association offers. Although circumstances outside our control make it more difficult to engage with our peers and the community, there are still many ways to stay involved and social despite being physically distant.
The Student Association provides services such as Student Advocacy, Career Services, Wellness Services, in addition to offering over 50 student-led clubs. There are accessible and innovative opportunities available to all students, regardless of your campus or program of study.
I know first-hand how challenging and immersive studying at BCIT can be, and I sincerely hope that you’re not only successful in your educational journey, but that you also enjoy the time you invest in it. Your student experience is our priority, and I urge you to discover what the Student Association can do to support you.”
– Matthew Miller, VP Student Experience, BCIT Student Association
Cathy Mutis, Student Life Office
“We know our programs are challenging and that your life doesn’t stop while you are studying. We expect that you will need help at some point – service access is the expected norm, not the exception.”
“Do you ever wish that you could tame your wandering mind? Or turn down the volume on unhelpful mental chatter to get a few moments of peace? Mindfulness training is sometimes referred to as “mental push ups” because it strengthens the brain’s attention system, allowing you to manage stress and respond to difficult thoughts and feelings skillfully.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness in daily life. Set a reminder to pause and connect with the present moment several times throughout the day. Bring your awareness to the sensations of the breath moving in the body. Notice the feeling of the soles of your feet making contact with the ground as you walk to class. Tune in to the sounds around you, listening with openness and curiosity. Feel the warmth of the cup as you sip your tea and savour its aroma and flavour. Download a free mindfulness app and listen to a guided meditation.
To learn more about how mindfulness can help you thrive at BCIT and beyond, visit bcit.ca/counselling.”
– Judy Bushnell, Counselling and Student Development
“When students start to struggle or fall behind, they sometimes feel embarrassed and hesitant to let anyone know. Sometimes their embarrassment leads them to stop communicating with their instructors. One of my tips for success is: learn to overcome the natural inclination to withdraw when you are struggling, and commit to staying in communication with your instructors. We’ve all been there at some point, and there are usually more options open to you than you realize. In working with faculty at BCIT, my experience has been that they are passionate about helping their students succeed. They know the pressure students are under, and tend to be supportive and empathetic when students express that they are having difficulty. But they can’t help if they don’t know you’re struggling. You don’t have to share every detail of what’s going on for you; just let them know you’re experiencing challenges, and ask them to help you understand what options are available to you. The important thing is – keep communicating!”
– Cathy Mutis, Student Life Office
“Over the years, what I have observed here at BCIT is that one of the biggest keys to student success is taking advantage of opportunities to connect with others. At any given time, you have an entire community of classmates, faculty, and support services and staff behind you, eager to help you achieve your goal. While today we may be studying remotely, don’t lost sight of the fact that that incredible network of others is with you on this journey. By connecting with your peers, reaching out to services, and seeking support from faculty and staff, you can learn a new skill or uncover valuable information. It is that community that will help you reach your full potential.
Don’t just take my word for it; many convocation speakers, distinguished alumni, and graduates have said it. It is because they embraced that community of support while at BCIT that they made it to where they are today. That’s the big secret: connect with many, and connect often.”
– Chris Rogerson, Director of Student Success
“Anytime… but the sooner the better!
Did you know you can register with Accessibility Services at any time? If you’re a BCIT student who is experiencing any type of ongoing health challenge that is creating limits or barriers to your studies, then come see us! Our job is to design a customized accommodation plan to help support students and address their unique health-related challenges so they can focus more on their academic goals.
It’s always best to register with us as soon as possible and, when feasible, we encourage students to meet with us before the beginning of the semester so we can set everything up before the first day of class. However, we know there are a number of reasons as to why that’s not always possible and we’re available to meet with students at any point in the semester, so if you need us….we’re here!
Visit our website to learn more about our services, find out how to register, or if you have questions.“
– Trevor Lesmeister, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, Accessibility Services
“To keep yourself feeling and performing well as a busy BCIT student, it is important that you set aside time in your schedule to continue to take care of yourself and do things you enjoy. If you don’t, it can become very hard to function, never mind keep up with school and learn! Take a moment to think about what you typically need each day, week, and month to feel good, and consider how you can adapt those things to fit into your life as a student. If it feels like you don’t have time, one tip is to try doing activities in smaller chunks, or less often – but still do them! Some examples are:
- Short walk (5-20 mins) instead of a longer walk or run
- See your friends (in person or online), less often or for quicker visits
- Exercise while getting to school (biking, walking)
- 3 deep breaths and some stretches instead of a full yoga class
- Watch a few YouTube or TikTok videos instead of a movie
- Make yourself a fancy coffee or tea at home
Remember to take good care of yourselves throughout the school year – and when you feel stressed, take a breath, a break, or have a little fun! For more support with how to do this, or to have a supportive, judgement-free conversation with a counsellor, book a video or phone appointment with Counselling & Student Development.”
– Christie Mahovlich-Little, Coordinator & Counsellor, Counselling & Student Development
Christie Mahovlich-Little, Conselling & Student Development
“Take a moment to think about what you typically need each day, week, and month to feel good, and consider how you can adapt those things to fit into your life as a student.”
“Do your best to avoid writing that is too informal in your academic and career pursuits. Academic writing is a formal style of communication, so assignments you submit for coursework should normally be written in a formal style. One easy way to increase formality is to avoid contractions. A contraction is a shortened form of a phrase, for example, it’s is a contraction of it is; they’re is a contraction of they are. Contractions are considered informal.
Look at the following example and see where you can remove contractions: While we can’t predict the future, it’s clear that online delivery is a growth market. Although current numbers aren’t yet available, growth figures from 2019 point to a 17% increase over the previous year.
If you can rewrite the example using we cannot, it is clear, and numbers are not, you have already increased the formality of your writing!”
– Douglas Buchanan, Writing Centre
“At any time, and particularly in the current climate of change, adaptability and flexibility are key. This is especially true when it comes to building work experience. Customer service and communication are top skills employers look for in any hire, across any industry. Regardless of your career path, the ability to work and communicate with others is always an advantage.
Work experience that shows you are willing to take initiative looks good on a resume, too. If you’re currently looking for work, consider showing initiative by taking a job in an essential service industry, such as a grocery store or healthcare setting. For information on additional job and career options during the pandemic, I recommend checking out BCIT’s eJOBS, or looking at the many opportunities outlined on the Government of Canada’s new resource site.
In facing the widespread changes occurring in the labour market, your initiative and adaptability will pay off!”
– Susanna Kan, Centre for Workplace Education
“It’s that time of year again! Welcome back to another fall term at BCIT. Whether you’re a new student or returning student, here are some tips that I have found helpful when starting a new school year:
- Enable notifications on Learning Hub to receive email or text updates on all of your courses
- Read through the course outline for a rough idea on what is expected throughout the term
- Keep an updated schedule of assignment and test dates to ensure no deadlines are missed
- Keep up with lectures by completing weekly pre-readings
Practice active learning by taking notes during lectures and labs
Did you know there are a large number of student supports and resources at BCIT? You might want to check these out:
- In need of some financial aid or support during these difficult times? Visit Student Financial Aid & Awards for information on student loans, grants, awards, bursaries, and much more!
- Struggling in one or more of your courses? BCIT provides free online peer tutoring sessions 5 days a week. Visit the Learning Commons for instructions on how to access peer tutoring.
- Need someone to talk to? BCIT provides free and confidential counselling appointments for students. Visit Counselling & Student Development
for information on how to book a telephone or video appointment.
- Want to brush up on your resume or cover letter skills? Visit BCITSA Career Services to book an appointment with a career specialist or to sign up for career-related workshops and events.
Good luck with your classes and stay safe!”
– Lynne Kuang, Third Year Bachelor of Accounting Student & Student Life Ambassador
“At BCIT, we all have a shared responsibility towards the security of information. By taking a few simple steps to stay secure, we can all make an impact on privacy and information security – both at BCIT and at home. You can take your first steps to familiarize yourself with the best practices for safe computing habits by reading one of our topics on cyber security awareness located on the ‘Be Cyber Aware’ website.
On our website, you will find tips for creating a strong and unique passphrase for all of your accounts as well as how to store them safely. It is important to note that your personal devices often contain sensitive and confidential data. To ensure the safety of this data, you must take the necessary steps to keep your data safe, such as periodically backing up your personal data and updating key software located on your devices.”
– Gurjap Thandi, Cyber Security, Information Technology Services
“Whether you’re studying business, learning welding, or preparing to be a nurse, it’s no secret that we are challenged everyday at BCIT. My three tips for success as a BCIT student include making a counselling appointment, applying to work within the campus community, and learning how to write a solid thesis statement.
In counselling, I have learned life skills such as stress management and assertiveness. Through the campus community, I’ve connected with students from different faculties – a good reminder that there’s a world outside the intensity of our programs. From short reflections to long research papers, thesis statements act as a recipe that guides the reader (our instructors!) through an argument. With skills and support from counselling, campus involvement, and strong thesis statement talents, you are sure to succeed at BCIT.”
– Zoe Esseiva, BSN Student & Peer Tutor