By Johanne Adam
Since 2011, the Science Preparatory Workshop series has been offered to students preparing to enter university and study in a Faculty of Science program.
The workshops are basically designed to refresh students’ memories on the fundamentals of biology, mathematics, chemistry or physics. They also deal with topics such as time management, university assignments and personal finances.
“Year after year, I was noticing that students were having difficulty at the start, because they seemed to have forgotten the basics they’d learned in high school or CEGEP. They had to adapt to a new setting, as well,” says chemistry professor Alison Flynn, who designed the workshops. “Since most of them are leaving home for the first time, we wanted to give them the tools to face challenges well beyond academics,” Flynn adds.
“The workshop helps them identify symptoms of stress or anxiety, pinpoint stress triggers and develop stress management strategies like visualization and goal-setting,” says Joelle Veilleux-Deschênes, a Faculty of Science student who has helped design and manage the workshops from the beginning.
Some 400 students meet on campus for a full week to participate in this annual event, which takes place just before fall classes.
Some sessions are led by professors while others are led by third and fourth year or master’s student-mentors.
“The sessions led by the student-mentors are more informal because the discussions are peer to peer. Participants get advice from people who’ve recently had the same experiences that they themselves are about to have,” says Veilleux-Deschênes.
If they can’t make it to campus, students can still take in the workshops online, live or at a later time that’s more convenient.
In addition to considerably reducing new students’ anxiety, the workshops give them a set of tools and strategies to ensure they make a smooth transition to university.