First Year Student Support Project

The First Year Student Supports (FYSS) Program was created to work in partnership with professors to deliver wellness resources to first-year students as they navigate university life. This project aims to help students learn of resources that are available to them, build capacity for students to recognize their peers as key support resources, utilize faculty members and the vital role they play in helping students access support. Professors and instructors will be equipped to respond to trends related to the student life cycle through sharing appropriate resources.  

The way the resources are distributed is based on the Student Life Cycle. This cycle outlines the different student stressors and experiences at each month of the year. The U of A offers a plethora of resources and going through them all can feel overwhelming. Using and theming our resources to follow the Student Life Cycle, will streamline the resource navigation process for students.


Resources for 2021-22

February 2022: Social Connection

Augustana

January 2022: Physical Well-being

Augustana

December 2021: Self-care and Rest
November 2021: Resources for Academic Support
October 2021: Mental Health Check-in Resources
September 2021: Building Social Connections

Past Resources

September: Social Connection

Theme: Social Connection - starting a new school year 

Asset: Presentation slide that can be included in online presentations or added to eClass

Student Life Cycle: 

  • Making friends and fitting in, becoming familiar with surroundings.
  • Adjusting to a different learning environment - new courses, increased workload and new methods of evaluation.
  • Adjusting to less structure than in high school, the self-discipline needed to study.
  • Questioning choice of university and/or academic program.
  • Feeling homesick, getting along with roommate(s).
  • Experiencing new-found freedom and testing self-imposed boundaries.
  • If living at home, an expectation that life at home will change too. 
October: Mental Health Check In/ Financial Wellness

Theme: Mental Health Check-In/ Financial Wellness - personal check-in

Student Life Cycle:

  • Preparation for university exams begins (mid-October to mid-November).
  • Time management - unaware of the self-discipline needed.
  • Surprise and disappointment at lower marks, not seeing the same results as in high school.
  • Difficulty making choices about maintaining relationships with family and friends while starting a new life and new friends, juggling home and school commitments.
  • Financial stress and discovering the need to budget.
  • Maintaining part-time employment off-campus.
November: Academic Supports

Theme: Academic Supports - reaching out for support

Assets:  Two slides to include in online presentations. 

Student Life Cycle:

  • Increased academic stress due to an accumulation of work.
  • May become sick or physically drained.
  • May see increased alcohol consumption, increased loneliness.
  • May question intellectual abilities, thoughts of not returning to the university next semester.
December: Self-Care

Theme: Self-Care - personal wellbeing

Student Life Cycle:

  • Preparations for final exams; workloads can feel overwhelming.
  • Students may bury themselves in their studies.
  • Worries begin about the next semester, course selection, etc.
  • Financial stress due to holiday spending, tuition fees due shortly.
January: Physical Wellbeing

Theme: Physical Wellbeing - exercise and nutrition

Assets:

Student Life Cycle:

  • Excited to see people on campus and start new courses.
  • Students in residence may be homesick after returning home in December.
  • Thoughts about where to live next year, applying for positions on and off-campus, searching for summer employment.
  • Inability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, indicated by weight loss/gain and stress level
February: Connection

Theme: Connection - reducing social isolation

Assets:

Student Life Cycle:

  • Anxiety about studying/preparing for mid-terms.
  • The Winter Blues - mood is affected by bad weather, lack of energy and enthusiasm.
  • Worries about admission into desired academic program for 2nd year.
March: Burnout

Theme: Burnout - overwhelm

Assets:

Student Life Cycle:

  • Concern about completing work for courses, pressure to do well on final exams.
  • Concern about housing and employment for next year if this has not been secured.
  • Questioning program, and ability/desire to return to university next year.
April: "Stressed but strong"

Theme: "Stressed but strong" - resilience

Assets:

Student Life Cycle:

  • Concern about marks and academic results for the year.
  • Anxiety about the year ending, going home, finding summer employment.
  • Concern about gaining entrance into a different program.
  • Regrets about missed opportunities such as friendships, leadership or job opportunities.
  • Relief that exams are over and excited about taking a break from academic life.
May - August: Various
Many students, such as those participating in co-ops, taking spring/summer courses, and working part-time, may follow a different timeline. All materials, information and resources are available year-round so feel free to use whatever works best for you and your class.