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Fostering community with student blogs

Revitalized peer blog program offers advice and strategies to Queen's students.

Graphic featuring four Queen's students
With four regular bloggers, students can get to know them, follow their academic journeys throughout the semester, and learn how they are navigating the student experience during a global pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented changes and challenges to the way that students are learning and creating community. Student Academic Success Services (SASS) in Student Affairs has introduced a revitalized peer blog program so students can connect to share their experiences and advice.

The weekly blogs are developed by four SASS peers from different disciplines and years, ranging from a PhD psychology student, to a first-year Engineering student.

“We have a diverse team of students from communities across Canada who discuss how everything from mental health to identity to software glitches have changed their approach to academics. They also offer strategies and useful tips to their peers along the way,” says Ian Garner, Outreach Manager for SASS. “We hope that readers are able to gain a sense of community, and of shared successes and challenges, by reading the stories.”

Although peer blogging is not new at SASS, the format has changed this year to focus on continuity of experience. With four regular bloggers, students can get to know them, follow their academic journeys throughout the semester, and learn how they are navigating the student experience during a global pandemic.

To date, bloggers have discussed topics including productivity during exam season, motivation and resilience in remote learning, and embracing change and self-care.

“I hope the blogs have helped others who are struggling with the same things we are struggling with,” says Liyi Ma, a first-year Engineering student whose most recent blog detailed the difficulties of focused productivity. “It’s comforting to feel like we’re struggling together, rather than struggling alone.”

Students can read the weekly peer blog posts on the SASS website and catch the new posts through the SASS Instagram page.