Planning for Success as a Mature Student
CUE student Chyvonne shares her experiences as a mature student, and the strategies and resources that helped her succeed in her degree.
Students look for value when they're choosing which university to attend; they expect excellent classroom instruction and a chance to take part in compelling projects and lab work. However, studiousness alone will not always guarantee a job immediately after graduation.
The Government of Alberta recently reported: "70 per cent of jobs are filled by people who heard about them through their networks," and it can be difficult for students to navigate the unfamiliar job market straight from university.
"I believe the CUE student programs changed my university experience. I may have done well, but I would never have been as successful as I am today." – Chyvonne Gazdewich, recent CUE student
"Joining the CUE skills classes were worth it right from the start," stresses Chyvonne Gazdewich, who recently graduated from the Bachelor of Arts four-year program. "We had a list of 10 classes we could take, they were like mini sessions. As a mature student, it had been a long time since I was a student. I had to re-learn how to study, and the study skills classes we were required to take were immensely helpful in giving me tips."
Meeting your mentor
Connecting with a Student Life and Learning staff member who can advise students throughout the program can make a big difference in a student's life.
"I met my advisor, Keely, and she told me what I could expect from the CUE support services and what the benefits would be. Meeting with Keely twice a semester was so valuable to me," Chyvonne says.
Keely would ask questions that made her more introspective, such as: "'What classes do I like, what am I struggling with,' — and she would give me helpful strategies and point me in the right direction. She might suggest that I do extra tutoring, guide me to helpful websites, and put me in touch with people and resources that would help."
Academic skills for university success
The academic skills workshops are open to all students, Keely explains: "The workshops cover time management, study skills, test-taking strategies, writing support, and other topics in their first year — then we move on to working on career development and helping students articulate their goals."
"Keely gave me a different perspective as to why I might be struggling with a class," Chyvonne says. "She would tell it like it is and I could always count on her for constructive criticism. She was dependable without being judgmental."
Build experience through volunteering
Getting involved in campus life is another action encouraged of students. Students invest in their personal and professional growth by joining a club, becoming a Student Ambassador, volunteering, or other campus opportunities.
"I volunteered as Student for a Day, and Peer Coaching — a program that assisted new students through some of their challenges in their first year and boosted their mental health, by helping them feel a sense of community."
The benefit of volunteer time, like peer coaching for students, is "gaining leadership skills and a chance to enhance their resumé, and also the satisfaction that they are helping and empowering other students in their personal pursuits," says Keely.
"For many first-year students it's difficult to start university. We want to help them feel at home and part of the community. Our older students can form friendships with new students and help them through the challenges that they themselves overcame." Keely Cronin – VP, Student Life and Learning
Plan your career journey
In years three and four, students are encouraged to begin career development. Advisors help students in their self-discovery journey through thoughtful career planning and guidance. Some activities include development seminars, career fairs, industry panels, and networking events.
"Networking with people in the education profession taught me what I could do with my undergrad. My goal is now to become an elementary school teacher," says Chyvonne, who is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Education After Degree.
Make the most of CUE's student resources
Chyvonne urges students to benefit from the various CUE student programs. She points out that all students can benefit from resources available at CUE. "I would recommend you immerse yourself in clubs, events, skill-building classes, talks, and as many volunteering activities as you can."
"Learn as much as you can about what's available at university so you can be the best version of yourself!" Chyvonne
PS: Mature students at Concordia University of Edmonton are eligible for the $1,000 mature student bursary, so be sure to check it out!
Get to know CUE student ambassadors