Happy November everyone! As some of you are hopefully aware, November is a very special month. Not only do we celebrate men’s health and awareness with Movember, but we also bring attention to healthy love and relationships with Family Violence Prevention.
Usually when people hear the terminology of “Family Violence Prevention” they’re not quite sure what exactly it entails, but they instantly seem to know that they certainly don’t know anyone who has any dealing with family violence, PERIOD! Sadly, we know from the statistics that there is an overwhelming number of people that have been affected by violence from someone they love. Whether it’s intimate partner abuse, neglect from a parent, or sexual assault, the numbers don’t lie – and they’re staggering! In an effort to help bring a voice to the countless people who are or have been affected by violence in their lives, we host an annual Family Violence Prevention week on campus to encourage this discussion to keep gaining momentum (and smash the stigma associated with it along the way)!
This year, we are particularly excited to bring our first-ever art show collaboration on campus thanks to the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society and McMan Colour Me Free. Teaming up with these two amazing organizations, LGBTQ2+ students from our community have been invited to create works of art that express what healthy relationships mean to them. Giving a “snapshot” of what relationships can be like in the rainbow community, this art show tackles discrimination, outing, homelessness and abuse in the way of artistic expression and we couldn’t be more honored to be a part of it. The exhibit itself will be on display from November 27th to 29th in the Den with the opening party happening November 27th at 6PM.
There’s also a Community Resource Fair on Wednesday, November 28th from 11AM to 1PM in the Students’ Association Hallway. Thursday night from 5:30PM to 9PM we have the Medicine Hat Board Game Guy back at Crave to host a Friends & Family Game Night (all ages welcome! It’s FREE!).
For more information, or to help someone whom you know is experiencing violence, the Women’s Shelter Society website and directory can be found here: http://www.mhwss.ca/.
Many students find problem-solving in their math and science-based courses very difficult and can end up feeling deflated or frustrated with the challenge. I often hear students say, “The test was NOTHING like the homework!” or “The problems on the test were not the same as the problems we worked on in class!” If this sounds like you, here are some questions to ponder…
What is your approach to solving problems? Do you jump right into the first problem assigned? Do you have a consistent process, system or strategy for solving problems, or are you approaching problems with random, unfocused methods? Do you attempt to see the BIG PICTURE before starting to solve? Seeing the BIG PICTURE can be the difference between a good grade and a poor grade. In order to do well, it is important to review and be aware of your approach to solving problems. The following BIG PICTURE APPROACH to problem solving is a valuable tool that can improve your problem-solving skills and results:
Part 1: Seeing the BIG PICTURE
CONCEPT – the first question to ask is, “what is the concept?”
A concept is a main idea. When you have a problem, it is important to be familiar with the concept that is associated with the problem. If you don’t know the concept for your problem, then review your lecture notes or textbook to better understand the concept.
S.A.M. – the next question is, “what is the S.A.M?”
Every concept has a specific S.A.M. or steps to follow for solving problems. If you don’t know the S.A.M. for your problem, return to examples in your textbook or lecture notes to gain an understanding of the process for doing the calculations and problem solving operations.
VARIATION – now that you have identified the Concept and S.A.M., ask yourself, “what is the variation?” and how does it AFFECT the S.A.M.?”
When you have a group of problems – review all of the problems in the group. They may share the same concept, but are the problems different or the same? The “difference” is the variation.
Does the variation affect the S.A.M.? How do you need to modify the S.A.M. for different problems?
Be resourceful and find other examples of different problems. If you still need help, see your instructor or chat with peers to gain an understanding of the variation.
Now that you understand the Concept, S.A.M. and Variation, you can see the BIG PICTURE and are ready to begin solving problems.
Part 2: Solving the Problem
COME UP WITH A PLAN – Using the S.A.M. from Part 1 of the Big Picture
Approach to Problem Solving, make a plan for solving your specific problem.
Before making a plan, check that you have a clear understanding of the problem. What is the problem asking? Do you understand all the words in the statement of the problem? Can you restate the problem in your own words? Is there missing information that, if known, would allow you to solve the problem? Still don’t understand the problem? Then return to the steps in Part 1 of the Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving.
What are your techniques to solve problems? Successful problem solvers use a variety of techniques when they attempt to solve a problem. Here are some recommended strategies:
Make a list of the known and unknown information. Can you express the unknowns in terms of the knowns?
Make a list of information that is needed
Draw a diagram
Make a table
Try to solve a similar but simpler problem
Research the problem to determine whether there are known techniques for solving problems of its kind
Try to determine whether some pattern exists
Write an equation
Guess at a solution and then check it
Need help coming up with a plan? Then STOP here BEFORE continuing. Explain the problem to someone who may help (other classmates, tutors or professors). Ask them how they would solve it.
USE YOUR PLAN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
If you can see the Big Picture and have come up with a good plan, then this should be the easiest step in the Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving.
Don’t skip steps
If you have trouble solving the problem, then go back and make sure you didn’t make any mistakes. No mistakes? Then maybe you need to come up with a new plan. Don’t worry, this is part of the learning process. It may help to take a break and come back later with a clear mind. Remember “20-minute rule”– do not stay “stuck” on a problem more than 20 minutes. Skip it and get help later!
THINK ABOUT YOUR ANSWER – Does your answer make sense? Does it fit with the Big Picture? This is the most rewarding and important step. Getting the right answer proves that you have mastered the learning, and it is the learning that matters most.
Check that your answer is correct. Does it fit with your expectations? If your answer is not correct, then step back through each step. Where is the error?
How would the answer change if the problem changed? (See VARIATION in Part 1)
Marvel at your accomplishment. Enjoy the rewards of your hard work.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are now trained in the Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving.
Engaging in learning processes and strategies can lead to student success! If you need help with this or any other learning strategies please visit me!!
Academic coaching is a personalized, one-on-one meeting with an academic strategist who can help you be proactive about your success as a student and can enhance your learning experience. There are many components required for student success and with support from the academic strategist, you can discover what areas you may need to develop and what strengths you already have that can facilitate your learning and overall success. Working with the academic strategist at MHC you can develop “executive function skills” such as time management, goal setting, organization, test preparation, note-taking, communication, how to be resourceful and more.
Who is academic coaching for?
All students can benefit from academic coaching. It is a free student support service offered to all MHC students. Coaching techniques are often effective for a wide range of students, such as first-year students who are transitioning from high school to college, student-athletes striving to balance school and sports, those who struggle academically, individuals diagnosed with learning disabilities, and high achieving students with extraordinary goals. Meeting with the academic strategist is useful:
How do I make an appointment?
To book an appointment with the academic strategist call 403-529-3819.
Drop-in service is also available in the Vera Bracken Library at the Student Success Centre:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
11:30 – 1:00 PM
What should I bring to my appointment?
The sessions are free! Just bring any questions or concerns you may have. It is also helpful to bring your agenda/planner, class schedule, work schedule, class syllabi, class notes, and study materials.
My goal as an academic strategist is…
My goal as an academic strategist at MHC is to provide academic coaching that will empower students to manage their work and themselves so they will be successful at MHC and beyond. My wish for students is for them to have a positive learning experience by tapping into their strengths and helping them identify what habits they are engaged in on a daily basis that work for them and where do they need to make some adjustments.
It’s a new year and for both our new and returning students, the Fall semester can be a time of challenges and triumphs. To make sure that your year starts off right, we have a few tips from our VP Internal, Evelyn Schottner and our Health and Wellness Coordinator, Jaycene Mock.
Hi Everyone! Evelyn here – I’m your VP Internal. You can come visit me to help with all sorts of academic issues if they arise for you. I’m here to help guide you through academic appeals, discrimination issues, and general student rights. I really believe that the College should be a place where all students feel safe and included, and that’s really what my position — and the Students’ Association in general — is all about! I also want to remind students really quick that there is an important date coming up: November 21st, 2018 is the withdraw date. This means that this is the last day to withdraw from a class and have it show up as a “W” on your transcript instead of a failing grade. I would highly recommend talking to your academic advisor prior to this date to weigh out your options if you have a class or classes that you’re struggling in. Other than that, feel free to pop into the SAMHC office or email me at SA_Internal@mhc.ab.ca with any questions you might have! Have a great year everyone!
Changing gears just a little! Jaycene here, your friendly neighborhood Health and Wellness Coordinator. The Fall semester is just kicking off and already I’ve seen a few very stressed-out students. Taking care of yourself can sometimes fall off to the bottom of your priority list when life gets busy but reminder: self-care should always be a priority! As cheesy as it sound, it’s true that you can’t take care of anything if you have not been taking care of yourself. This looks different for each of us, but below is one of my favorite infographics from the masters at Buzzfeed! If you have anymore questions or need anything, again please feel free to pop into the SAMHC office or email me at SA_HWC@mhc.ab.ca. Also come out to our Stress Less Events on September 11th and 12th in the Den 😀
Starting college can be an exciting and overwhelming time for students. Here are some tips to consider when preparing for the semester ahead:
Time Management – Get organized with your class schedule and plan to create a study schedule that works for you. Be aware of what distractions may be time vampires — such as social media — and eliminate them so you can make room for more valuable ways to spend your time. For help with time management, see the Academic Strategist … me!
Be Resourceful – Resourceful students are successful students. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, so be open to reaching out for help. You will most certainly face challenges, and knowing where to get help when you need it is key to managing those challenges effectively. Find out what services are available on campus, and consider introducing yourself to MHC support staff early on. Here is a link to the services available: https://www.mhc.ab.ca/Services
Attend Orientations – There is a lot of valuable information given at student orientations. Be sure to attend those that apply to you and take detailed notes so you can refer to them later. This can be a good opportunity to meet instructors and fellow students, and can help you get connected.
Self-Care – Starting classes can be overwhelming, so looking after yourself should be a priority. Consistent, healthy habits create consistent positive results. Proper sleep, exercise, time with friends, music, and time in nature are all examples of self-care practices. Identify what activities and habits work for you and be sure to add them to your schedule.