Stress and Perspective – A Commentary + Update

Benjamin Beelen - VP Academic
Posted on: June 17, 2018

With midterms behind us (well some of us) and the term in full swing, things can begin to feel overwhelming and difficult. I always find that the week before and two weeks after midterms are when I feel the most stressed. Either by not having enough time to do seemingly endless labs, assignments coming out of the woodwork, or just the build up of it all, there is no doubt that things can be stressful.

What I’ve come to realize as an “upper year” student, is that I’m not alone in this stress. During first and second year I felt very isolated with almost any problem I had. I especially found assignments discouraging because I wouldn’t be able to do the entire thing, and then beat myself up for it later thinking that I was below par and that I wouldn’t pass the course. The first step for me at least was realizing that I wasn’t alone and that often the parts of assignments that I had trouble with, many others had trouble with too. In fact I think the phrase “you are not alone” is something that can be applied to many aspects of University life at Waterloo.

Unfortunately the phrase in itself doesn’t mean anything. The fact that others are like you can’t solve a problem; but it does provide perspective. Things can seem extremely overwhelming, and this can and usually will lead to isolation. But something that brought me out of this mindset was the quasi empathy that, yes things are hard right now, but you’re not alone in this difficult time.

Taking a step down from my metaphorical soapbox, time to get to other VPA things. My meetings have started! I’ve attended CEC, CSCx2, EAC, ECC and CWG meetings so far, for acronyms please feel free to ask me because it takes too much space to spread them all out, but they range from PD to Co-op and even O-week.

First off, the soft deadlines idea of new PD’s would be marked, and feedback released after the hard deadline. This is to ensure that students can’t share feedback with others to know what the markers were looking for, and that it gives the TA’s a schedule on when/how to mark things. WatPD is confident that they will not assign questions within these soft deadlines that are directly dependent on the feedback of another question.

Co-op interviews are in full swing. We set a record breaking number on June 5th of ~1600 interviews in a day which is mind blowing. Also some positive news of last semester, 97% employment at the closing of the term! Remember that you can check on these stats by going to the “Co-op Employment Rates” webpage of the UWaterloo website!

Finally some O-week talk, I don’t think I’ll ever write an article that doesn’t have O-week in the body. It is an unfortunate truth that the future of O-week is unsure. Talks are still on the table, but there may be a referendum in the fall that will enact the full fall reading break if passed. Expect more soon.

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