With the completion of my last final exam this past Friday, my time at York University and at ACMAPS have come to an end. Being a work-study student with ACMAPS for the last year has been an amazing experience. Not only have I learned so much about York in general, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many of the great mature and part-time students who come through the ACMAPS office. Like many others, I found that my experience as a mature student at York University became so much better once I was involved with ACMAPS. In fact, the one thing I tell any mature or part-time student I meet is to connect with the office and take advantage of the services and events that are available to them. With all the experiences and opportunities I’ve gained from working at ACMAPS, I thought that it would only be appropriate if for my last blog post, I shared five things I’ve learned from working at the ACMAPS office.
1. Attend the Mature Student Orientation: I have to start by admitting that I did not attend orientation when I first started at York University. In fact, I did not know what I missed out on until I took part in the ACMAPS Mature Student Orientations this past Fall. By going to orientation, you get the opportunity to learn about the services and resources available to you as a student at York University; you meet other new mature students; and you get help navigating the campus before your classes begin. Getting detailed and relevant information on York University will help smooth your transition into student life. I kick myself thinking about all the time and effort I could have saved if I had attended orientation and learned all the things I needed to know before I started school. Learn from my mistake and attend orientation.
2. Take pride in being a mature student: Being a mature student is tough, but it is also an amazing accomplishment that not everyone can follow through with. If you’re a mature student at York University, you should be proud. You are part of group of amazing students with the skills, maturity, drive, and life experiences necessary to succeed. You should be proud of your commitment to education, and of your strength in going forward with a non-conventional path.
3. Participate: One of the most common concerns I have heard from mature students is how difficult it can be to meet other mature students. Not only are mature students outnumbered by more traditional students, but conventional lecture formats and a commuter culture also make it hard to form connections. If you are looking to make new friends on campus, one the best ways to do so is to participate in student life. Attend orientation, join a student club like YUMSO or SASP, join the Mature Student Facebook group, go out to some of the events on campus, or even work or volunteer on campus. Put yourself out there and you are bound to meet other great students like you.
4. See an academic advisor: Academic advising is critical for staying on track to graduate. The popularity of our ACMAPS academic advisor is evidence of how beneficial students find meeting with an advisor. Advisors can help you strategically plan your time at York University so that you can meet the goals you want to achieve. During my time at York University, I met with an advisor in my faculty at least once per semester. The advisors were great in helping me choose courses, demystify the petition process, and identify what my next steps would be after I finished my degree.
5. Need help? Just ask!: At York, there are so many resources available to mature students, that if you ever need help with something, you only need to ask. ACMAPS is particularly great because of its commitment to support and advocate for students during their academic experience. The staff, peer mentors, and volunteers at ACMAPS are all amazing at helping students. I encourage all mature students to take advantage of the services and support available to them at ACMAPS.
Working for ACMAPS as a work-study student has been an amazing experience, and I hope more students utilize the great services and supports available to them at ACMAPS. If you have any questions or comments about ACMAPS, feel free to contact the office!