A new event to kick off the second term of studies at Brandon University (BU) was such a success that Student Services is already planning an expanded version next year.
Called ‘Motiv8,’ the day-long event was hosted on Saturday, Jan. 21, at BU’s John E. Robbins Library, and featured workshops and advice on academic skills, motivation, as well as snacks, caffeine and stress-busting activities like clay sculpting.
“Students loved it,” says Michelle Bessette, Student Engagement Officer. “Our turnout was great, and there was a real positive vibe and happy energy throughout the whole day.”
Motiv8 was scheduled to coincide with the end of the Brandon University Students’ Union-organized Mental Health Week.
It’s also a perfect complement to the successful Long Night Against Procrastination events that are held in the BU library ahead of exams. Motiv8 adds an early-in-the-term skills session to help set students up for success all semester long.
“When we saw how students embraced an opportunity to study in a more social setting, where they could access all the resources that Brandon University has to offer alongside support and encouragement from their friends and peers, we knew that we had a winning formula,” Bessette said. “Motiv8 uses that same approach, but earlier in the term — it’s like a push-start for studying, helping students get up to speed right from the start so there’s less cramming at the end.”
Although students were welcome to study on their own or in groups throughout the come-and-go day (the library was open extended hours), there were regular workshops, stress-relief activities, and drop-in sessions for writing, learning, math and career counselling. Prizes were available to encourage participation, and students could earn points for each session that they competed, with a goal that they’d accumulate eight points for ‘Motiv8’.
Armando Galindo managed to collect 20 points, earning the grand prize.
“It was really nice of Student Services put on this event for the students. It showed that they care about student success, by offering a range of opportunities to connect with valuable resources,” said Galindo, a first-year BU student. “A highlight for me was listening to Leanne Roulette share her experiences, which I will use to motivate myself as I also work towards a degree in Psychiatric Nursing.”
Roulette, a BU alumnus who now works in Brandon, shared with a rapt audience her story of resilience, including juggling jobs and children while earning her degree.
“Life keeps happening,” Roulette told students. “Things don’t always go to plan, but if you avoid that all-or-nothing thinking, have faith in yourself and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.”
Afterwards, students sat down to write a letter to their future selves. Those letters were collected and will be stamped and put into the mail for delivery around mid-terms.
The letters won’t just be a positive message from themselves at what is a stressful time in the term, they were also an opportunity to immediately take personalized action on something they’ve just heard.
“Motive8 helped our students self-reflect on the first half of the year, and acquire resources needed to improve,” says Katie Gross, Acting Dean of Students. “If a student leaves with at least one ‘ah-ha’ moment, it’s a success”
With a very successful launch, BU Student Services is already looking at how to expand Motiv8 next year.
“We have an enormous amount of support and resources that we offer every single day to students, and we’re looking now to fit those into bite-size pieces that are accessible during an event like this,” Bessette says. “It’s also a learning opportunity for us, as we remix and re-imagine these workshops and advice into new formats.”
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