Transitioning from full-time life in the workforce to life as a full-time student is an interesting experience. It feels a bit like going to a new job. You’re in a new environment with new people and new expectations.
You know what the standard dress is, but you don’t know whether anybody follows it. All you know is that you shouldn’t wear Crocs. Not that the student handbook says anything about that specifically. Or does it? It was a pretty heavy read. Regardless, we all know that you shouldn’t wear Crocs in the workplace unless you sell them for a living.
The first two weeks of school were filled with ice-breaker exercises, group activities, orientation lectures, and computer classes. We were meeting the people who we would be spending six hours of every weekday for the next ten months. It was in all of our best interests to find common ground with everyone else – we were advised that we would all be subject to assigned group projects and seating arrangements from time to time. In our computer classes, we worked together to complete online assignments to ensure we were all on the same page technologically: here’s how to use an Excel spreadsheet; this is how to save a PowerPoint presentation as a .pdf; no, don’t click that blue “e”, use Chrome instead.
During my initial weeks at Stenberg, I was struck with how different my life was already.
Rather than spending my nights unloading boxes of frozen food from a tractor-trailer in dark commercial alleys in downtown Vancouver, I was sleeping in my bed, my wife at my side. Instead of wasting my days sleeping until it was time to head out for another night shift, I was sitting in a bright classroom with a gorgeous view out of the Central City Tower.
No longer was I dreading the end of my weekend: now, I began looking forward to Mondays, because each new week brought the opportunity to learn and socialise. And at the end of each school day, I had plenty of time to play with my kids before it was their bed-time.
Once we completed the orientation and computer courses, I was hit with the reality of what a condensed course entails: after the kids were in bed, I spent a few hours every night doing readings, making notes, and doing my best to keep up with the coursework. I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but some of the options available to me to keep myself in sync and on track really blew me away.
What really impressed me, though, is the level of support that Stenberg offers to its students.
Have a concern about something going on in the classroom? Talk with your Student Success Advisor. Having difficulty figuring out how to format an essay? Sit down with one of the instructors for a one-on-one session. If English is your second language, there are multiple supports available to set you on the path to success, including workshops and one-on-one assistance.
Transitioning from the workforce back to school after years away isn’t an easy process, but it’s worth the challenge, and there are many supports in place to help students succeed as they turn the page to the next chapter of their lives.