Dear new students: You will regret not attending Strong Start

By Hannah Lohnes, Early Childhood Education student and Student Assistant, Student Life

Hello fellow students! My name is Hannah, and I am a soon-to-be second-year student in Douglas’s Early Childhood Education program. 

I attended Strong Start: New Student Orientation when I started at Douglas in September 2020. It was my first semester back to school after taking a few years off from post-secondary education. I was incredibly nervous about navigating a new school during a pandemic, with online classes. I did not know what services were available to me, how the online system worked or who to talk to about the hundreds of questions I had. Ah! Starting anywhere new is terrifying, and I was so afraid I would miss something important. 

Answers, advice, tips and more 

Luckily, I got an email from the College asking if I wanted to sign up for Strong Start. I had no idea what it was but thought, “Might as well sign up for everything they send me. Something will probably be helpful!” It ended up being the best decision I could have made. Through the short online Blackboard course, I learned all the basics of Douglas, like its history, where the campuses are and the various College services. I swear I finished it with a notepad full of more questions and things to check out! But at that point, I knew where to go to get the information I wanted. The Blackboard course was very easy to use, and with it being self-paced, I could pause and go do other things. So I finished the course over a couple of days. 

I had no idea there was so much support you can receive as a Douglas student. In my previous college experience elsewhere, we were not made aware of anything beyond, “enrolment services is in that building, and the cafeteria is over there.” I didn’t know that a college could have tutors that support you in your classes or a department that  help you create a learning plan if you had accessibility needs (they have been amazing at working with my focus and memory problems!), or that you could even get a job as a student assistant with many of the service departments. After going through Strong Start, I wanted to be as involved as possible in college life. 

Read more: Staying connected during a pandemic: my Student Ambassador experience

Knowledge equals confidence 

This orientation to Douglas also came in handy once I got hired as a student assistant helping with Kickstart coaching, in-person campus tours and the upcoming Friday Hangouts this Fall. I felt prepared to answer student questions about services and confident in leading the campus tours as I knew I could better assist my fellow students with the information I’d found most useful when I started. 

I highly recommend Strong Start to any new student who has questions or concerns about starting at Douglas College. The information it provides was crucial to my first semester’s success, and for knowing what is available to me for the next few years of studies. You have the whole school supporting you and cheering you on, you just need to know where to look. Go forth and succeed – you’re going to have an amazing time here. 

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