Advice from Mount Royal's Future Alumni Award Winner
Varsity athlete Marnie shares her top tips for a great university experience.
Every year, Mount Royal University (MRU) recognizes alumni who have done amazing things in their careers and communities with the Alumni Achievement Awards. An award is also given to a current student who has made significant contributions to MRU and the wider community.
For 2021, the Future Alumni Award recipient is Marnie Garner, a Bachelor of Education - Elementary student, varsity athlete and avid community volunteer.
We caught up with Garner to talk about her university experience and the advice she has for future students.
Like many students, Garner is no stranger to a busy schedule. She has learned to successfully juggle university coursework with playing high-level basketball — all while maintaining a solid GPA.
She says the secret to success is being organized and managing your time in a productive way.
"Sunday was my day off. I'd make lunches for the week, plan what needed to get done and make sure I finished all my assignments. Organizing the little things when you have free time will go a long way," she says.
Time management isn't always easy, but it's worth it. Find a rhythm that works for you, whether that's setting aside specific times for studying or meal prepping for the week ahead.
As a student athlete, Garner has first-hand experience with the benefits that come from taking part in campus life. She shares that being on MRU's basketball team helped her build a community and connect with lifelong friends.
Garner encourages new students to explore their options and get involved with an activity that interests them.
"That same community I found playing basketball can be found in university clubs and recreational leagues. It's so easy to meet people when you're doing what you enjoy!"
Mount Royal's Students' Association has a ton of student clubs covering a wide range of interests so you can easily get involved and start making connections.
Volunteer your time
Despite a jam-packed schedule, Garner still finds time to give back by volunteering on a regular basis — and she encourages others to do the same.
Volunteering looks good on a resumé, helps build community, and can even give you a look into which career choice might be for you. For Marnie, volunteering for a program where she mentored young girls helped her feel more confident about becoming a teacher.
"I always knew that I wanted to teach, but my time spent volunteering really reaffirmed that I'm pursuing the right profession," she says.
Contact your university to learn about on-campus or community volunteer opportunities to help get you started.
Ask for help
While Garner has found success in her current program, she admits that she used to struggle with academics. Asking for help and utilizing university resources made a huge difference and allowed her to feel more confident in her studies.
"I have been able to use Access and Inclusion Services throughout my time at Mount Royal," she says. "MRU's small class sizes also helped make it feel more individualized and all of my professors have been approachable and flexible with my learning needs."
If there's something holding you back from making the most of your learning, like exam anxiety or struggles with note taking, there are university resources to support you. Education is not one-size-fits-all, so get curious about the help that's available and take advantage of the supports that fit your learning style.
Congrats again to Marine for receiving the Future Alumni Award!
Check out all the MRU Alumni Award winners