It’s huge. There are so many people. You feel all alone. University can be both intimidating and scary, but you don’t have to feel lost in the dark, unsure of which direction to go. There are many academic or counselling services at Concordia that can help make your transition from cegep or high school to university a little bit easier.
The Student Success Centre
Want to start university off on the right foot? The Student Success Centre (SSC) provides academic assistance such as workshop/writing assistance sign-ups, student success check-ups and the Programme For Leadership and University Success (PLUS) as well as a place that you can go to talk with other students. The PLUS student/peer mentor groups give you ongoing training from a trained peer tutor and help you develop effective strategies for academic success, teambuilding and interpersonal skills.
Furthermore, any specific academic needs you may have can be discerned by taking the student success check-up. The check-up, which lasts only 15 minutes, is thorough and allows for a complete inventory of your strengths and weaknesses in areas vital to your success at Concordia.
Counselling and Development
Are you unsure if you’re in the right program or need to talk? You can speak with a professional counsellor. In addition to its personal and psychological counselling services, counselling and development offers career services and learning support services. Counsellors and Student Success Centre assistants work together to put on workshops, and the PLUS Workshop Series will run from Sept. 18 to Nov. 18 on topics like group dynamics, embracing diversity, and what is a leader?
Furthermore, you can borrow books on everything from depression to career choices from its lending library.
“We have a whole student success program [that] can be especially helpful for people making the transition to university,” says Counsellor Robert Boncore.
Concordia’s Health Services
Here you can get pregnancy tests, referrals to blood clinics, tips on stress management and healthy eating and help if you have a sleeping or eating disorder. There is also a lending library with everything from books on insomnia to yoga videos and Health Notes, the monthly newsletter from September to March is always informative. Owen Moran, health educator, strongly advocates awareness of Concordia’s Health Services.
“We’re conveniently located on campus,” says Moran. “Studies show that healthy students do better. We’re student-focused. Health is very important. It’s the second or third reason why students would drop out of school.”
The International Students Office
New to Montreal? Besides holding information sessions for new students, the International Students Office (ISO) provides programs and services that deal with transfer of funds, immigration regulations, cultural adaptation, health insurance, academic support & referral, work on campus and letters for military deferment. Orientation Information Sessions are Sept. 3 to 6, 9 to 13 and 17 to 19 will focus on specific issues dealing with life in Montreal from finding an apartment to opening a bank account, to adjustment to Concordia and going through registration, getting a student ID card and student account and cultural adaptation.
The ISO also has an “Information Package” that will be given out during the orientation sessions along with a “List of Things To Do” list.
The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy
Interested in spiritual matters? The MFC provides workshops, mindfulness meditation, Bible studies, inter-religious and multi-faith dialogue, pastoral counseling and more. Some of the religious services include daily and Sunday liturgies at the Loyola Chapel, an Islamic prayer room and marriage and other sacramental preparation.
Lastly, community involvement includes volunteer work placements and Mother Hubbard’s Thursday night meals for students with limited finances.
The Ombuds Office
Here is your venue for resolution of administrative problems. Not only does the Ombuds Office provide students with information about rules for academic misconduct like plagiarism and cheating to procedures, it also offers advice about steps that can be taken to resolve a problem. As well, it refers to other offices and investigates claims of unfair treatment. Furthermore, Kristen Robillard, an ombudsperson, points out that all consultations are free, confidential and available in French.
The Office of Rights and Responsibilities
If you need help in regards to a difficult student, staff or faculty member’s inappropriate behaviour, the Office of Rights and Responsibilities helps you deal with harassment, discrimination, threats or violence and sexual harassment. Advice is available and formal complaints can be made. More importantly, Sally Spilhaus, the advisor of Rights and Responsibilities, points out that everything is confidential, and you can figure out which method of problem resolution works best.
“Knowing about the service in advance is important, even if you never have to use it,” she says.
The Office For Students With Disabilities
Do you have special needs? Whether it pays your note-takers or helps you make special arrangements with professors, the Office For Students With Disabilities (OSD) exists for a purpose. By opening a file with the OSD, you may be able to use their services and receive academic accommodations. Through keeping in touch with an OSD advisor, your progress can be monitored and you can discuss any concerns you may have.
“I think all students benefit by entering into a partnership. We’re in the middle helping students and faculty,” says Co-ordinator Leo Bissonnette.
The bottom line when one is starting university is to be aware of and remember the fact that help is out there. Your Concordia experience can be both exciting and enriching if you use the resources at your disposal and are willing to seek help.
The Student Success Centre is in room H-481. Tel: 848-7369.
Counselling and Development is located in room H-440. Tel: 848-3545. Its Loyola equivalent is room WC-101 and 848-3555.
Concordia’s Health Services is on 2155 Guy Street in room 407 from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Tel: 848-3565. It is also in AD-121-3 from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tel: 848-3575.
The International Students Office is in room H-653. Tel: 848-3515.
For more info, call the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy at 848-3590 and visit Annex Z in rooms 102-106 at 2090 Mackay or try 848-3588 and Annex WF in room 101.
The Ombuds Office is in room GM-1120. Tel: 848-4964.
The Office of Rights and Responsibilities is located in room GM-1120. Its number is 848-4857.
The Office For Students With Disabilities can be reached at 848-3525 or in room H580. Since construction at Loyola is going on until about October, the OSD will temporarily be located in room AD-210 and then room AD- 131.