By Sharday Mosurinjohn
September 7th 2012
Getting to know a new campus can be like acquainting yourself with a small city – within the new city you’re also trying to navigate. Attending this year’s Graduate Students Welcome and Resource Fair, hosted by the School of Graduate Studies, Student Affairs, and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students was like being handed a map highlighted by a local and marked up with all the best spots to visit. Thirty-seven booths represented a range of academic resources, activities, Kingston community groups, as well as safety and security services (for a full listing, visit the SGS Orientation website).
A “Strategies to Success” information session bookended the morning on either side of a welcome from Principal Daniel Woolf, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, and SGPS President Matthew Scribner. Principal Woolf emphasized the value of research at different levels, from the local community and beyond, urging incoming students to keep an image of their work’s broader purpose in mind. Dean Tierney focused on the importance of becoming embedded in a strong support system, and outlined how Queen’s has committed itself to fostering such a system by referencing the numerous resources visible at a glance around the room. Finally, Matthew Scribner announced Jennifer Reid as this year’s recipient of the Graduate Support Award, joking as he accepted the angular statue on her behalf that its sharp corners represented the suffering of graduate students everywhere as well as the palliative role of a good Grad Assistant.
As students mingled and circulated amongst the many booths, from the Ban Righ Centre for mature women students, to IT Services (“We’re the biggest thing no one knows about”quipped Campus Computer Sales and Service Manager Keith McWhirter with a grin), to the Peer Support Centre and SGPS Peer Advisor Program,they also had the opportunity to collect stamps to fill a card which would enter them in a competition to win prizes. Possible winnings included a $200 flexi food voucher to use on campus or a $100 gift certificate to the Campus Bookstore.
The closing “Strategies to Success” session left students with a way to think about their own academic responsibilities, including an easy way to remember citation rules with Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Sandra den Otter’s trick: “Any time you use more than three consecutive words!” Presenters also gave the audience a sense of the recreational opportunities open to them (beer tasting and coffee “cupping” being among them), and an overview of academic support networks such as the Writing Centre, Centre for Teaching & Learning and the Expanding Horizons Workshop series.
The jam-packed two-hour session gave new grad students the perfect crash course to not just survive, but thrive, in the coming academic year.