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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

How Can I Bounce Back?

September 26, 2023

What is resilience?

Resilience might conjure up an image of a solitary figure stoically tackling the challenges thrown their way. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Resiliency refers to our capabilities & abilities that allow us to cope and thrive under pressure. It is about our ability to bounce back after a challenge. It also has a lot to do with leaning on the people around you and developing strong, supportive connections.

Q: How would you describe resilience?

A: I think persistence is a big part of it. Being able to encounter challenges, whether that's being unsuccessful on a test or assignment or in a class, or even just the feeling that you're struggling or not doing as well, it's the ability to take those mistakes, failures and feelings, and learn from them and not get discouraged. 

When it comes to building resilience, it is about starting small. And so I think there's a really great kind of visualization of it where you start with this big problem and you feel like this little person that's just not capable of handling whatever's happening. We've all found ourselves in those situations, whether that's at school or just in life. The best way to approach those and to develop resilience is to just say what's the smallest piece that I could change or that I could do right now that would make some sort of impact? And to do that and then constantly reevaluate and look for ways to improve. And then bit by bit the problem becomes slightly smaller. And one day you wake up and you're just capable of tackling whatever the issue was.

Q: What kind of service does academic advising offer?

A: We are very much all about ‘our doors are always open’. Students can come by with any questions or concerns. We certainly do a lot of that work with students who have fallen behind or maybe aren't in clear academic standing or have been unsuccessful in a course. We work with them to develop a plan, to get caught up or to raise their GPA with the hopes of returning to clear standing. A lot of stuff is online now too, which is really helpful as our school is quite a commuter school and we have the faculty downtown, so this helps more students to access what they need. Students can book and attend appointments virtually or utilize the online chat, and we've also just launched a podcast to try and get ahead of some of the important questions.  

Q: How can a student bounce back from a bad grade?

A: We found that people are coming in with an even bigger deficit in the basic skills that help to navigate their first year at the university. I've had plenty of students come in saying “I failed a course, my life is over, I need to withdraw, I'm not meant for this”. Many very successful people failed a course in their first year. So just putting things into perspective, letting people know that they're not the first person to encounter that situation, it's okay, it's normal, it happens. I think planning is important and helping people navigate that. Assisting students in completing an updated program map to understand exactly where they are in their program can really help.

I think the other resources on campus are invaluable. Encouraging students to reach out to the Student Learning Center, your tutors, subject specialists etc. Very often people are not aware that there is help or support in place for them. Sometimes the feedback I get from students is just, “I didn't know that existed”, “I don't know where those people are” or “I don't know how to contact them”. So if we can help bridge that gap and get students speaking to the right people that they need, then that helps a lot. Also, just understanding the policies and procedures on campus standing: What is the bar that I'm aiming for? How many courses will it take to get back to what I'm looking to do? Or how far does a failed course set me back? And surprisingly, maybe it doesn't at all. Maybe it is something you pick up over the summer. For us, having been students and having worked in various capacities at the university and especially myself, it's just having a little bit of understanding of all those different pieces and being able to help people see the bigger picture and that it's not the end of the world.

The P’s of Resilience

Proactive: Reach out for help early, contact advising frequently

Planning: set out goals, stay on track

Positivity: always look on the bright side of life 

Persistence: keep up your drive and determination as you work towards your goals 

Perspective: learn from mistakes, keep working towards the goals, one step at a time

Check out our podcast for more advice!

Advising U- Podcast

By Ursula Powell and Becca Barr