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First year, on film

Getting enough sleep, finding a balance between school work and a social life, and maintaining healthy relationships are all problems first-year students can face in their first year at Queen’s, but thanks to the QThrive video series, students will know they’re not alone.

In a series of 19 lighthearted videos, student actors play out scenarios that first-year students might encounter and provide ways to deal with different situations, ending each video with a list of the resources available to students.

Residence outreach counsellors Freeman Woolnough and Nadia Sawaya Fehr developed the videos.

“We didn’t want the subject matter of the videos to be so heavy that it would turn people off of watching them, but Nadia and I were hearing about very similar underlying problems that first year students are encountering, so we wanted to help them address these issues,” says Mr. Woolnough. “We wanted the videos to be true and honest and valuable to students, and to get our messages and resources across.”

[Residence Outreach Counsellors]
Residence outreach counsellors Nadia Sawaya Fehr and Freeman Woolnough hope the QThrive series of videos will help normalize some of the issues students can encounter during their first year.  

Other video topics include roommates, safe partying, off-campus housing and self-care. One video was released every week throughout first semester to residence dons who would send students the links via email, and was then posted to the QueensUResidences YouTube channel.

“When we were developing the briefs for each of the videos, we had three main goals in mind. Firstly, we wanted to be able to normalize some of the issues first-year students will encounter. Secondly, our aim was to get students talking about these issues. Finally, connecting students with the resources was an important goal for us,” says Ms. Sawaya Fehr. “We hope these videos will be a push to the resources available for students at Queen’s.”

After Mr. Woolnough and Ms. Sawaya Fehr drafted the scripts to the majority of the scenarios, students and staff across campus read them and shared their feedback. The video portion was then shot over three days last summer with the help of student and staff volunteers.

Amanda Marquis, a don in Waldron Tower, provided a student perspective to the process, and helped out with the planning and execution of filming.

“I remember preparing to come to Queen’s for the first time and absolutely scouring the internet for videos and websites about what it would be like to live in residence,” says Ms. Marquis, Artsci’15. “I think that the videos do a good job of giving students tangible resources for their first year.  I’ve found that the videos are easily sharable and are a good way to provide information to my floor.”

To see the entire QThrive video series, follow this link.