The fall term at the Castle is now well underway and for our students, it is an exciting time to dive into campus life and get to know the people who will be a part of their professional, academic, and personal lives, not just for the duration of their time at the Castle and Queen’s, but perhaps even beyond.
The process of orientation and helping students to navigate the adjustment period at the Castle is overseen by our dedicated team of Student Services staff. Working closely with other campus partners, Student Services play a major role in shaping and enhancing the student experience for the better.
Orientation Week at the Castle builds the foundation of the Castle community and introduces the students to the support networks and processes in place to help them learn effectively, overcome adversities, celebrate successes, and grow as individuals. Students Services staff run various drop-in sessions, workshops, and seminars each year.
‘Inclusive Community’ was an interactive workshop on the first steps in building an inclusive and tolerant community on campus, while ‘Getting Involved at the BISC’ was a more specific information session so that students could learn about the opportunities to volunteer in the local community, and how they could get involved in various committees, clubs, and student governments. There was even a chance for students to break the ice while displaying their artistic flair. An instant classic, ‘Paint Night’ had more than 100 drop-ins and proved to be a very fun way for students to get to know each other while painting, sketching, and generally making a mess!
For the first time this year, our students went to the PGL Activity Centre in nearby Windmill Hill. The site is one of the U.K.’s leading outdoor education providers, delivering inspirational learning through outdoor adventures and group activities. Working in small teams, and where possible, directly with their roommates and floormates, this was a great opportunity for the students to work together to traverse high ropes, solve puzzles, and accomplish a series of brain-stretching tasks. Planning, teamwork, and communication were the keys to successfully completing the physical challenges.
“We’re doing this with the goal of building supportive friend networks that will be used throughout the year,” says Sam Kilgour, Assistant Student Enrolment & Services Manager. “We hope the activity is something students can reflect on when they need assistance, or are offering assistance through the year, creating a community of support.”
A major highlight of fall orientation was the keynote address by Greg Bavington, Queen’s Sc’85, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. Greg gave a thought-provoking presentation to the students on the subject of resilience in the face of adversity. He told them not to be afraid of failure, but to instead look at every setback as an opportunity to take another path, learning from the experience and growing as a person. His words of wisdom are sure to inspire the students to do great things with their time at the Castle.
If all this talk about orientation has left you feeling nostalgic and perhaps even a tad jealous of the exciting opportunities that lie in store for our new cohort, we encourage you to visit our Facebook page. Tell us what you miss, or even better, what you are most looking forward to seeing, or doing if you plan to return for the BISC’s 25th Anniversary in June 2019. We would love to hear from you!