Adjusting to life at NAIT

September 1, 2016

Starting your education at NAIT is a major life change. It may be your first educational experience away from familiar faces, the first time you have attended school in years or it may be your first experience living away from home for an extended period of time. Although it is exciting to be pursuing higher education, some of the most common feelings in the first weeks at NAIT are stress, loneliness and feeling out of place and disoriented. Here are some tips for coping with those first few weeks of life at NAIT:

Personally:

● You may find that NAIT provides more of a feeling of freedom than your high school environment. The increased personal freedom can feel both exhilarating and frightening. Accept that emotional fluctuations are normal and to be expected and that they will pass in time.

● Take time during these first weeks to take care of yourself. Try and include some fun, relaxing activities and some time with family or old friends. If you are new to Edmonton, keep in touch with friends and family from your home town.

● Use positive self-talk and give yourself credit for the risks you are taking and the situations you are handling well.

● Instead of berating yourself for things you should have said or done, use these situations as learning experiences to put in place for the next time something similar arises.

● Drop in for a visit with Flynn, NAIT’s pet therapy dog, in the Student Counselling Office (Room W-111 PB).

Socially:

The first few weeks on campus can be a lonely period. You may be concerned about forming friendships or feel like you don’t fit in. It may seem that everyone else is confident and socially successful. The reality is that many students are having the same concerns and that finding your social niche will take a few weeks.

● There are many ways to meet people. Consider getting involved and being where other students are. Here are some common ways that NAIT students meet each other:

– At beginning of semester activities

– Before and after classes

– At adjoining lockers

– In bookstore or food stall line-ups

– In eating areas

– In common study areas

– In intramural sports programs or at the gym

– At the “Nest”

– At program special events such as pub crawls or dances

– Doing extracurricular activities such as clubs or classes (watch The Nugget student newspaper and the bulletin board for announcements)

– Volunteering – Volunteer at some NAIT events or fundraisers, check at the NAITSA office for volunteer opportunities, or put your writing skills to work for The Nugget.

● Meaningful, new relationships develop over time. Remember to be yourself and to send friendly, outgoing signals to others. Smiling, making eye contact, nodding when someone is speaking and sending body language signals such as uncrossing your arms and leaning slightly forward are ways to signal to others that you are interested in them.

● Some people have a tendency to get into intimate relationships too quickly when feeling lonely. Take time to assess why you are in the relationship and whether it is healthy and supportive for you.

Academically:

● You may find NAIT classes more difficult than high school classes and you may find the workload much heavier. In order to survive, it is important to take responsibility early in the semester. Developing an effective study schedule, following the course outlines, keeping up with readings and assignments, borrowing lecture notes if a class is missed and asking for help if you do not understand material are all important to success.

● Student Success seminars are presented at the beginning of each semester. Plan to attend and to practise using the suggestions early in the semester. See a counsellor if you need specific work in one or more study skill areas.

● Our website, www.nait.ca/counsel-ling, will link you to Strategies for Success, a study skills booklet designed specifically for NAIT students.

● Book an appointment with a counsellor for any academic or personal problems that might interfere with your academic success.

Any registered NAIT student can arrange to see a counsellor by booking an appointment in person in Room W-111 PB, HP Centre or by phoning 780-378-6133.

There is no fee and all visits are confidential.

– Margaret Marean, NAIT Student Counselling