BCIT Student Success Visioning Session: The Importance of Wellness in Learning.

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone has had a good spring break, and an easy, stress-free two weeks since school has started again. Although these past two weeks may have been less stressful – hopefully, anyway, I know that exam week and the weeks leading up to it were probably the most stressful that you and I have been. That brings me to my topic for today, mental health. This semester is admittedly longer and may be a bit more draining than the last and I wanted to stress and share with you the importance of our mental health and the need for it to remain healthy and strong.

About a month ago, my friend Dominic who is the Vice President of Student Affairs at the BCIT SA asked if he could recommend me to be part of the BCIT Student Visioning Success session that will be held.

I attended the session last Wednesday, March 15th, and I can say that it was very productive, amazing and enlightening. We were led by two knowledgeable facilitators, and about twenty to thirty students from different programs and disciplines were present. This session was initiated by Chris Rogerson who recently got appointed as Dean of Student Success. His job as he mentioned to us during the session was to provide students with tools to ensure, not only their success at BCIT but also to ensure that their mental health remains healthy.

The session was broken down into three parts:

1) Touching the surface

2) The Fish Bowl Activity

3) World Café

For the first activity, we were asked to pick a card from those that were laid out on the table, and to talk and share the reason on why we picked the card to the person next to us. I picked a card that had an individual sitting with their back to me, overlooking what I imagined was water. There were butterflies around him/her and a lantern above his/her head. To me, the picture portrayed stillness. I turned towards the person next to me, Taylor and explained this to her.

Her card on the other hand was a face/head that had butterflies inside. She explained to me that she had the same idea as I had wherein she saw the face and the butterflies as some sort of image that showcased calmness and a worry free mind. We got to talking about how BCIT has made us feel that we were being unproductive during our time off if we didn’t do anything related to school work – that having time off was bad.

The conversation opened up to the other people at our table. What I learned and realized from our brief discussion was that everyone, regardless of the program they were in at BCIT, was going through the same experiences I had. This brought a sense of camaraderie and togetherness in the room.

The second activity that we took part in was the fish bowl activity. In this activity, people were required to come into an inner circle consisting of 5 chairs and share their ideas and opinions to the questions posed by the facilitators. The rule was that if we wanted to share our ideas we had to go inside the circle. The outside circle was essentially eavesdropping.

There was a lot of discussion that took place. One of the major topics that stuck with me was the connection between our well-being and learning. The unanimous answer was that yes, the state of your well-being affects your learning. This is why it’s important to stay healthy, physically and mentally. That is part of the reason why I choose to be part of this session. BCIT students are under a lot of stress, regardless of the program they are in. This session for me is the school extending a hand to us students, and asking us what they can do to help us. I wanted my voice heard and my opinion to count, and hopefully for some of the ideas that me and the other students there came up with to come to life, and to help other students in the long run.

The third and final part was the world café. This is where we all got a chance to finally share our ideas of how wellness and mental health should be present and nurtured in a student’s life. There were five categories and we were divided into five small groups: Starting at BCIT, Services, BCIT environment, Learning – classroom and workshops; and Getting into a career.

At the end of this part, we were asked to make three actions commands that we shared with Chris. Out of the list that each group had come up with. An example of what some of the students wanted BCIT to do for its student’s wellness and mental health was to  have a mentorship program for students wherein they get paired up with a student that has gone through the same program as they have.

The session came to a close and what you see pictured below are what one of the facilitators, Stina Brown made. This is a visual representation of the whole session and is full of ideas by students for students. If you guys have any ideas for any programs or initiatives that BCIT can take, please leave a comment below.

I hope I shared with you guys some ideas and thoughts to reflect on. We are getting closer to the end of the semester and I hope we all get through it with our physical and mental health intact.

Till next time,


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