My Stenberg Cohort

In Mental Health & Addictions - Alana, Student Blog by Alana LathamLeave a Comment

While it is great being back in school, it’s amazing how quickly the time goes by when you are fully engaged in your studies.

My Community Mental Health and Addictions Worker cohort finished another course with our amazing instructor Sherrill. Sherrill’s drive to empower marginalized people and restore their dignity is very inspiring. Her lectures on sociology were intertwined with stories from her own career. It is very obvious that we are working with an instructor with extensive experience and who is absolutely passionate about the work. This week we completed a sociology course and had an important final exam.

Exam time can cause stress and anxiety for many people, myself included. Though many of us felt this way, we decided, as a cohort to be proactive and use each other’s strengths. We formed regular study groups, where we reviewed material together. Each person has their own strengths and qualities that are an important part of this dynamic. One of the students in the class is a natural teacher and was able to cover the course material effectively in a group setting. Another one of the students is quite skilled at simplifying complex terms and theories to be easily understood. A few of the students wrote extremely helpful flashcards that were colour coded and highlighted. Everyone there had valuable input and had a hand in making our study groups as successful as they were. Being a team in this situation we were able to effectively support each other through our anxieties surrounding the upcoming test.

All in all, we got together and worked as a team to help each other attain the knowledge we needed to be comfortable going into this exam. We are definitely going to continue this throughout our courses.

Being only three months in to the program, it is amazing to see first hand how we have come together to support each other not only as students but for each other personally as well.

Alana and Hannah

People in the class make the effort to notice when someone is having a bad day, seems distracted in class, may have things going on in their personal lives, or may not understand a concept in class. We have fallen into this rhythm and can offer our presence and our understanding. A simple example of this kindness for each other is everyone makes an effort to discover classmates’ birthdays and celebrate them by surprising that person with a cake or tray of cupcakes.

We completed a class before Christmas on occupation health, and one of the assignments was to make personal health and fitness goals. Members of the class still check in with each other about these goals. Some of the goals were of improving eating habits which can be difficult when our campus is close to many convenient, but less than nutritious food locations. Often times we will have potluck style breaks, and people bring salad, sandwiches, and soups to share. Despite the holidays, and even though I decided to eat chocolate and indulge, I am finding myself back on track with healthy eating.

It is so fulfilling to be in an environment where people show genuine interest and kindness for the people around them. This is different than any other educational environment I have ever been in, and I look forward to spending the next several months with this group!

About the Author
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Alana Latham

Alana Latham is a student in Stenberg's CMHAW program. The recipient of the inaugural Karen O'Shannacery scholarship, Alana volunteers at a residential substance abuse treatment centre and co-founded a women's support group.

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