PedNIG Paediatric Nursing Skills Workshop: March 2016

On Saturday, March 05, 2016, I had the privilege of attending the Paediatric Skills Workshop hosted by the Paediatric Nursing Interest Group (PedNIG) of RNAO. The event was held at McMaster Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. A large group of nursing students from nursing schools across Ontario eagerly attended the event, hoping to learn something new about the field of paediatrics. The room was filled with excited and anxious nursing students, waiting to hear from respectable and established paediatric registered nurses, hoping to pick their brains and learn some skills of the trade.

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The day began with open remarks from PedNIG RNAO representatives and executives, outlining the agenda for the day. The line up of speakers and presenters proved to be very exciting for the students, with a wide variety of speakers – from professionals who have been in practice for 20+ years, to new graduates who are all to familiar with the feelings of the students in the room. It was interesting to see the wide rang of experiences come together and speak about Paediatric nursing through different yet similar lenses. Each speaker and presented provided different perspectives and illustrated different ways of approaching this practice through their individualized experiences.

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The morning progressed with starting by learning how to complete a head-to-toe assessment of the paediatric population. We analyzed the process of how to conduct various health assessments in children ages 0-18 years of age, and how to act on complications found during certain assessments. It was a comprehensive review of the anatomy and physiology of the paediatric population that touched on key concepts and skills in paediatric nursing.

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The next session that followed was an overview of medication administration and dosage calculation for the paediatric population. Through this session, nursing students learned about different forms of administrating certain medications with various paediatric patients. We learned about how to assess for any signs and symptoms, how to assess for any adverse effects/toxic effects, etc. We also learned how to calculate the appropriate dosage of medication for paediatric patients depending on their weight and their condition. Students were attentive, actively participating, and collaborative with their peers throughout the entire session.

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The morning concluded by learning about paediatric mental health. This was a very new topic introduced to the practice of paediatric nursing, as mental health – up until recently – was not a standard assessment practiced in medicine. With increasing demands of putting more of a focus on mental health within health care, the paediatric population has proven to be one of the most vulnerable populations for instability in mental health. Through this particular session, we learned why exactly that is and certain influencing factors that affect the mental health of children. We learned what kinds of plans of action and intervention that paediatric nurses can take, in order to ensure that our patient population has a cohesive mental health. We learned about the importance of providing family-centred care and patient-centred care, and how we – as nurses – can play an important role as a source of support for our patients and their families.

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Following the morning’s workshop sessions, a lunch break ensued and afterwards, the afternoon’s session began. The afternoon’s session covered important topics in the field of paediatric nursing such as “Hot Topics in Paediatrics,” covering key illnesses and complications amongst the paediatric population (i.e Asthma, Type I Diabetes, pain). Following the Hot Topics session, a panel of esteemed professionals in the field conducted a Questions and Answers session with the students. This proved to be the highlight of the entire event, as students eagerly asked questions about the field and how to pursue a career in paediatrics as nurse to experienced professionals. Students asked questions such as:

“How do I gain experience in paediatrics as a student?”

“What makes a resume outstanding?”

“How can we maximize our experience in our clinical placements?”

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The panel of esteemed professionals were all too welcoming and eager to answer any inquiries and concerns that the students had. They answered with a high level of efficiency and conviction. The students were very receptive to the replies and very eager to participate in the discussions that were facilitated through the Q&A panel. This last session proved to be the most exciting aspect of the entire event and was a good way to end the day.

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Needless to say, the entire event proved to be very useful and very interactive for both the student attendees and the event hosts. The workshop was able to enhance the professional development of nursing students eager to build a career in paediatrics in a very significant way. The response to the various sessions held throughout the day were quite positive and enabled PedNIG – RNAO to be hopeful for future sessions. The event overall proved to be a huge success and attendees – myself included – left learning something new and feeling one step closer to their goals of becoming paediatrics nurses.

2nd Annual Nursing Networking Night: From Graduation to Occupation

On Monday. February 22, 2016 – 6pm – 9pm – I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Nursing Network Night at Ryerson University – “From Graduation to Occupation”, hosted by the Nursing Course Union and Canadian Nursing Students Association (NCU-CNSA). This event began last year as a way to engage nursing students at Ryerson to be more involved, engaged, and take initiative in their career and professional development. It turned out to be highly successful in 2015 and garnered a lot of positive feedback from attendees. So this year, they announced their second event in order to continue encouraging nursing students at Ryerson to facilitate a smooth transition from graduation to occupation.

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The evening began with a few words of welcome from representatives from both NCU and CNSA. Then we jumped straight into a few words from a representative at Ryerson’s Career Centre, who shed some light on the basics of Networking. She was able to teach us the ins and outs of the process of networking – the do’s and don’ts, and the how to’s. She was also there to advocate and speak for the resource available on campus that is Ryerson’s Career Centre. The Career Centre is a highly valuable resource for Ryerson Students when in the pursuit if a job or to help facilitate an easier transition post-graduation to work and career life. They help students with things like making the ideal cover letter and resume, building your LinkedIn profile, interview tips and practice, etc. If you’re ever in need for great ways to build and improve your professional self, you can find Ryerson’s Career Centre at POD60 (located just below The Hub).

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After the presentation from Ryerson’s Career Centre, a couple of speakers who were Ryerson Nursing Alumni, spoke about their own personal stories and their journeys. They shed some light and inspiration as they talked about the different ways in which they were able to reach their goals of becoming an registered nurse (RN). This portion of the evening was especially helpful for the nursing student attendees as we were able to truly relate to these alumni, knowing that not too long ago, they, too, were in the same situation that we currently are in. Their stories of their journeys were captivating, motivating, and inspiring. It truly highlighted how personal the process is of becoming an RN and how nursing students can better prepare themselves for not just a job, but a long-lasting and fulfilling career.

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After the presentation from the alumni speakers, the evening moved forward to the dinner, graciously supplied by Chipotle.

After dinner was the highlight of the night: the Q&A panel. NCU-CNSA was able to get nursing managers from the major hospitals in the downtown to represent each hospital organization, and answer any questions we may have. The nursing managers and representatives came from Michael Garron Hospital (formerly known as TEGH – Toronto East General Hospital), UHN (University Health Network – comprised of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), and The Hospital for Sick Children. The line up of panellists truly excited the nursing students in the room – the majority of whom eager to work for such established and world-renowned organizations. The Q&A panel was the opportunity of the night to ask any and every question running through every nursing student’s mind.

“What is the ideal candidate for you?”

“What kinds of people do you prefer to hire – internal or external applicants?”

“What are the different kinds of interviews you conduct?”

“Do you hire applicants prior to completion of graduation and/or NCLEX examination?”

“How do you build a strong mentor relationship?”

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Needless to say, the Q&A of highly experienced registered nurses in executive positions within the most renowned hospitals in the country, did nothing short of answering each questions with clarity and efficiency. Not only did they answer questions well to the highest degree, they also offered valuable insight and advice as to how to begin your career as an RN. They were more than generous with their time and their thoughts on how to transition from a nursing student, graduate nursing student, to RN. The panellists were gracious and true role models for each nursing student attendee in the room.

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The night was a great success, as anticipated! Everything went smoothly, all in attendance enjoyed themselves, and nursing students were able to connect with their peers and their prospective employers. We learned how to market ourselves in the health care industry, how to appeal to employers and organizations, and how to prepare ourselves for the near future.

4 Tips To Tackle Stress This Exam Season

Happy end of the term classes to all Ryerson students! Today marks the final day of classes for all students across campus, which unfortunately also marks the beginning of finals week for this semester. Stress levels are high and the campus is filled with scrambling student, all attempting to gather all necessary notes for all of their exams. Professors are finalizing exams and answering a million emails a minute, answering questions from stressed and nervous students. It is that time of the year when everyone is eager to delve into the holiday festivities, but also trying to find the best way to cope with and manage all the stress that comes with finals week and being a university student in general. It’s a happy but tough time of the year. Lucky for you, I have some tips that can maybe help you get through the stress, have you motivated for your exams, and ready for the holiday season!

TIP #1: COFFEE IN MODERATION

We all need our daily fix of Tim Hortons or Starbucks and when you’re a university student, it’s almost necessary. Coffee contains the magic C (CAFFEINE) that helps keep us alert for the day and focused for the lectures/labs/tutorials ahead. It’s especially helpful after an all-nighter spent studying, working on a project, or doing a paper (or perhaps simply getting lost in the world of Netflix…). Coffee is great – in moderation. Students tend to turn this “daily fix” during exam season to a “multiple times a day fix.” This can get dangerous and really impact your health negatively – it’ll send your heart rate through the roof, your blood pressure can be through the roof, your diet will be compromised – a lot can go wrong. Don’t over-do it with the coffee. It’s not something that you need to depend on to do well on your exams – your hard work and effort determines that for you. Limit yourself whenever possible and find other ways to stay away (i.e a cold shower in the morning, exercise, breakfast, etc).

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TIP #2: FIND A DESIGNATED STUDY SPOT

Finding a place to study and actually be productive is difficult. This is especially difficult in the middle of the busiest city in Canada – Toronto – where Ryerson is so centrally located. Luckily, we have the Student Learning Centre (SLC) to cater to our Study Spot Needs. First, it’s important that your study spot include a desk or a table of some sort to support whatever your study materials are. Avoid anything too small – the more space, the more room to support laptop, textbooks, notebooks, phone, etc. Second, try to find a bright space, perhaps anything with a big window or light coloured walls. Studying in a bright space with lots of light does a lot for your visual senses and makes it easier for you to sit somewhere for a prolonged period of time, staring at a bunch of words and/or numbers. It definitely lessens the load. Lastly, make sure your study spot is not confining. This means to make sure that the spot you choose allows you to get up once in awhile and move around. Not only does this gives you a break from sitting in a chair in front of your computer for hours, it also prevents any sores or muscle aches from happening, which comes with sitting still for hours. If you’re looking for the perfect study spot on campus, I definitely suggest the SLC (specifically floor 5! Not too eerie and quiet, but also quiet enough to give you some peace).

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TIP #3: DON’T FORGET YOUR DIET

Stress-eating can manifest in two ways: over-eating or under-eating. Some people can binge on junk food and resort to comfort food during such a stressful time. Some people can be so pre-occupied and busy that they may forget to eat and incorporate proper nutrition into their diet. It is important to find some sort of balance in your diet during exam season. Take comfort in moderation – have a donut here and there, get a Frappucino instead of your regular cup of coffee, get some ice cream. Also, it’s not the end of the world if you miss breakfast or have a late dinner. It is expected that your diet will not be at its healthiest during exam season, but it is important to keep in mind that proper nutrition is the best way to keep the mind and body focused and ready to face the day. An improper diet can actually lead to increased levels of fatigue and stress – which is something none of us need any more of during finals weeks. What we do need is increased brain power, which is something fruits and vegetables offer ample amounts of.

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TIP #4: SLEEP – TRY IT

Sleep deprivation – we all have it. Many students have grown accustomed to functioning on a lack of sleep but this tends to get worse during exam season, when we stay up and spend the night cramming and/or getting last minute things done. As a result, the lack of sleep can lead to even more fatigue, an increased dependence on caffeine, and even worse – the chance of sleeping in and maybe even sleeping through an exam. Yikes! The best way to avoid this is simple, but hard at the same time – get as much sleep as you can. Whether that means sleeping earlier and waking up earlier or taking short naps throughout the day, do what you need to do to get some rest and relax your brain. An overworked brain will only lead to more stress and sleep revives the mind, making it easier to study and tackle exams. Sleep is important and most importantly, it’s so relaxing!

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I wish all fellow students at Ryerson and all other schools all the best of luck during this semester’s finals week! Study hard, study well, and do your best! Surround yourself with positive vibes and do what you need to do to stay focused and motivated. We are so close to a well-deserved holiday break so we’re almost there! Hang in there. I’m rooting for you!

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Some thoughts on graduating

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I am a little sad, a little happy and a lot groggy. I finished my degree.

In the Disability Studies program students complete a year long research project and they present it to their cohort and faculty. Our cohort’s presentations took place recently. There were really insightful moments, topics and so many heartfelt presentations demonstrating that the personal truly is political.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be finished. The build up to the presentations, the nervousness, the anticipation, then an eighteen minute presentation and it’s over.

I recently watched a documentary on the large number of graduates from university programs in Canada who are currently working in dead-end service positions. The documentary claimed there were several factors contributing to this phenomenon. One, baby boomers are not retiring and there are less positions opening up, or new grads are competing against them for the same position. Two, recent graduates are given little to no training in university to prepare them for resume writing or job interviewing and there are no co-op experiences. Three, Canada does not have an education ministry which means there are no statistics kept on what types of degrees universities are producing versus the types of skills that the labour market actually needs.

One women in the documentary who graduated with a history degree said that she felt she would be working in an office wearing heels and a power suit by now. For those of us in the Disability Studies program we have somewhat of an advantage. We are all working in our chosen field. However, I also have an earlier degree that didn’t translate into a job. I have a religious studies degree. You may well question what the hell I was thinking. How would religious studies translate into a job? Well, I wasn’t thinking about a job. I thought about what I wanted to know, what interested me, what I was passionate about. I was privileged to have been able to work my way through that degree with very little debt.

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Two degrees later, and about to enter my masters in the fall I think the overwhelming factor contributing to graduates working dead end jobs is not the boomers, or the lack of training or the lack of an education ministry. (Although, we do need one! I mean, seriously Ontario how many teachers can we produce?) What we need is free education. The woman in the documentary wasn’t working in a dead-end service because she liked it, rather because she was thousands of dollars in debt from her education. We are stifling the creativity of graduates because they are in hock. If we stop people from learning what they are passionate about and future generations focus on employment, what does that mean for the arts, for culture, for philosophy, for music?

Free education will not create generations of entitled citizens. Take a look at the Nordic countries. Education is free, their economies are booming and they consistently rank high in the happiest countries in which to live. Take a lesson, Canada.

You are (almost) there: Do not give up!

Every year when school starts, I feel the pressure to do well in school. First comes the reading week and we get to take a week off before writing back to back midterms. Then we have assignments, presentations and group projects due. At the same time, Ryerson Exam Schedule is released and we get busy with finding our exam date and time, finish any outstanding projects and get a head start on studying for finals. Whether you are fresh out of high school or in your final year, at some point in the semester you will feel that there is a tremendous amount of pressure on you to do well. We all have been there. I certainly have been there many times in my undergraduate career. The key is to figure out what works for you and how to make the most out of your school year early on.Stress free zone

You are not alone – according to a recent survey, over 84% students rated academic performance, saving money and time management to be their biggest worries. If you are having a hard time keeping up with your work, chances are someone else is also in the same position. Do not give up and learn from these university experiences. These experiences will help you develop skills such as working under pressure and meeting deadlines that employers find extremely valuable. If you are having a hard time managing time, stress and preparing for exams, don’t be afraid to ask for help from instructors, fellow students and Student learning groups. For example, FCS Academic Support offers writing circles to all FCS students and these can be of great help when it comes to writing papers and essays. In addition, students can visit Therapy Dogs on campus to help relieve the stress associated with being a student. Follow @RUTherapydogs for event updates and locations. Furthermore, Ryerson Health Promotion Department offers Counselling for Personal Concerns, where students can share what they are experiencing by participating in one of the group or individual counselling programs.

Maintain balance – This simple matter might be the trickiest, but also the most important factor in your success at school. Take time for sleep, meals, exercise and social activities, so you don’t burn out. Taking a break can often help. The first step is to recognize that break is as important as the concentrated work. Work with great intensity and focus, and then make taking a break an integral part of your thinking, planning, and problem solving.

A study done by Berkeley School of Public Health showed that children who have an access to tablets or Smartphone in their bedrooms get less sleep than those who do not have the device with them at night. I thought it was important to note this here because as young adults, it is getting a habit to spend more time on a Smartphone and we may not realize this but small screens (such as Smartphone, tablet etc) are responsible for insufficient rest or sleep and may lead to higher stress levels. Therefore, during the last few weeks of semester if you find yourself in stressful situations, take some time to relax and get a good night sleep to feel better. Hang in there, the semester will be over and summer will be here before you know it.

The Do’s of Applying to Graduate School

This week, my post will be targeted to students in their final year of studies. Some of you may be joining workforce right after your gradation while some of you will move on to graduate studies. Today, I will be writing about some things you should do before you apply to graduate school.

Connect with prospective department: Attend campus fairs where graduate schools send their representatives to answer any questions students may have. There are also alumni panels, workshops and opportunities to get answers to all your questions about applications and funding. While writing your statement of interest, you may be asked to select a supervisor who you think could supervise your thesis/research. Be sure to take some time to read about faculty members who are available to take on new students and whose research interests are similar to yours (most universities will list a short bio on their faculty page).

Tailor your statement of interest to the program:
Statement of interest is one of the most important pieces of documents that will be used to judge whether you should get admission into the grad program. Follow the directions of the perspective department and do not go over the page limit. Include all the relevant details, highlight your skills and include your goals. Tailor it to the program you are applying to and make sure it is free of any typos and well thought out.

Letters of recommendation: Be sure to apply early to give your professors enough time to write your reference letters. Choose a professor whose class you did well in and who knows you. Visit them during office hours, ask questions in class and ask for their opinion regarding the school/program you are applying. Professors can be a great resource as they have gone through the same process. Therefore, start early in the semester to make a good impression of yourself before asking for a letter of recommendation.Scholarship

Scholarship/funding: Tuition for graduate programs is usually higher than undergraduate programs. Therefore, you should apply to any scholarships/awards that may be available to your department. It is also a good idea to look around for part-time work in and around campus and often there are opportunities within the department. Ask prospective supervisors if they are in need of a research assistant or whether there is any funding allocated for projects they supervise. Often there is funding opportunities that are not advertised on websites and unless you ask, you will never know.

If you have decided to pursue graduate studies, make sure you are going to grad school for right reasons. Grad programs often require more work than undergraduate programs. Lastly, if you are unsuccessful the first time, take this opportunity to learn. Request feedback on your application and do not give up.

Tips for Writing an Academic CV

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Most of us have a resume, that handy little document where our life is written out in terms of employment and most of us have a good idea of what should be included. An academic CV is another story. If you are applying for grad school or want to demonstrate your involvement in research projects or are applying for certain awards you will need one. I got some great advice when I started compiling mine; ‘it’s never too early to start, you’ve done more than you realize.’ With that sage advice in mind, here are some other tips to help you get started.

1.Format

There is no one correct way to format your academic CV. It is important it make sure that whatever format you use, it needs to be clear and readable. So don’t mix categories and keep things in reverse chronological order. Most templates start with education, followed by work experience. As you may not have research experience you can add sections for awards, professional memberships, conferences attended and skills. Here are a couple of websites to give you some idea about formatting, http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/cv-templates/1309/academic-cv-template and http://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Academic-Cv-sample.pdf

2. Value the experience you do have

So looking over these templates, you might be feeling discouraged. Chances are you haven’t been published by an academic journal (yet), however, perhaps you have been published in Ryerson Today or a local paper. You may not have presented at a conference, but perhaps you have attended them. Include this information. However, keep in mind that you don’t want to overload your academic CV with information.

3. Length

Which brings us to the topic of length. Unless you have a string of publications to your name, your CV should between one to two pages. After you have the basics, you can plump it up if you need to. However, remember as wonderful as your CV will be, it will probably only be skimmed by the reader so it needs to be clear and concise.

4. Proofread

Like any CV or resume, it’s important, vital really, to make sure that you have someone proofread it. Ask your proofreader to also comment on your fonts and the your organization of your CV. You want to make sure that it is clear at first glance, as a second read might not happen.

5. Share

One of the best ways to evaluate your academic CV is to share with it others who already have one. Find a professor, RA, TA, GA or sessional instructor who is willing to help you with this. Chances are they did they same thing when they first began writing their academic CV.

Good luck!

Employment Opportunities for Nursing Students

As I will be entering my 4th year of nursing at Ryerson University in the fall, myself and my classmates are thinking ahead to a year from now when we will be job searching. Fortunately the nursing job market is quite alive and well, with a diverse range of opportunities as well as new graduate initiatives, so thinking ahead is more exciting than it is stressful. That being said, many nursing students struggle to find employment in the field of nursing during the school year and summer months. As students, we are not qualified to work as regulated health care providers and there only a limited number of health-care related positions that are available for students. I think that the key for students is to apply to as much as possible, and to set yourself up for future success via strong academic performance, effective networking, and gaining experience. Nursing students are lucky in the fact that we are all guaranteed placements, so by the time we are a few years in, we have had the opportunity to network with a multitude of nurses and other professionals. Keeping these professional alliances is key to future success. In some cases, such as my own, placements can turn into jobs. Even if that isn’t the goal or the result of a placement, the experience is nonetheless valuable both for your professional report as well as for your own personal knowledge of preferences.

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So now let’s go back to life as a student. While the post-graduation future looks bright, many people become frustrated that they cannot find employment in the now. My advice is to look beyond the nursing scope, and to broaden goals to the broader field of health and wellness care, or anything that works with people. Health care institutions often post external listings for medical administrative staff. Hundreds of summer camps across Ontario hire counselors each year, which is a great way to gain leadership experience with the pediatric population. By extension, many camps also hire nursing students to work as first aiders in the health centers. It’s up to you to go out and find the positions. Limiting searches to student nurse positions will yield very limited results, however there are options that are relevant to nursing available.

 

Now that summer has begun, I wish my peers who are still looking for employment the best of luck in the search and I hope that this post offered some insight to you. Don’t give up!

Postgraduate Applications – The Reality

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We make life out to be nothing but incremental steps that lead to the big PLAN. We plan to go to school, start our career, find a partner, get married, start a family and live happily ever after. But what about when life doesn’t go according to plan? Do we give up or do we preserver? Do we cry and think, “I’m not good enough” or smile and think “I’ll get it next time”. It all depends on the person. We determine how our life will turn out based on our actions and reactions.

Coming out of university, my plan was to apply for a Masters of Social Work, get accepted, complete the program and eventually become a child therapist. But following the theme of life not always going according to plan, I’m sure you can get the idea where this story is going…

The day had finally arrived. My letter from a university was waiting for me in the mailbox. I excitedly picked it up and carefully ripped it open. I pulled out the letter, unfolded the paper and there it was, staring me in the face. A “Thank you for applying” followed with the ugly word “unfortunately”. I had been waitlisted from the two universities I applied to. With the hopes of potentially being accepted off the wait list, I waited. An acquaintance of mine had also been waitlisted but had later been accepted. There was hope for me yet! But reality began to sink in as the months flew by without any acceptance letters. Eventually I received word that the waitlists from both universities had closed. As disappointed as I was, I had prepared myself for the worst, which cushioned the blow.

Luckily, as soon as I got those waitlist letters (as disappointed as I was) I said to myself, “What can I do to get in next year?” I began talking to other students who had been accepted into the Social Work Masters programs, I began to research top Masters programs both in Canada and in the states. I was keeping my options open and would apply to more schools the following year. I decided I would be proactive and refused to give up. I had a GPA in the high 80 percentile. I had great references and lots of experience. So what was keeping me from pursuing my goal? One thing I noticed was I needed more volunteer experience. So I began my quest for volunteer work in the social work field and ended up volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society, AIDS Committee of Toronto, the Ryerson Student Union Sexual Assault Crisis Line and Sick Kids Hospital. Not only would this increase my chances for my next Masters application, but it also brought about great practical and rewarding experiences.

I decided to share this information with you because students need to understand reality if they wish to continue their education after their undergrad. I was an individual who hadn’t planned for not getting in. I thought, “With good grades and good experience, of course I’ll get in!” But this isn’t always the case. And it could be a number of different factors such as being too specific with stating your interests on your application essay, not having enough work/volunteer experience, not having a high enough GPA etc. But think about it, there are TONS of people that are the perfect candidate and out of over 800, only 140 applicants are chosen (in my particular case anyways). The decision of your acceptance could be that yours happened to be on the bottom of the pile of great candidates. There are many reasons why this might happen, but the point is, don’t give up. Keep at it, get more experience, increase your GPA but above all, stay true to yourself and continue to learn through your experiences. If you don’t get in the first year, try again the next! I know that I will continue to apply until I receive the acceptance letter, whether it’s this year or five years from now.

Plans can be tricky because plans can change and thus we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. But plans change and that’s reality. I try to maintain a view of “everything happens for a reason” and maybe I wasn’t meant to get in this year in order to gain more experiences and learn how to cope with rejection. YOU get to choose your path. When faced with rejection, will you stand still or fight even harder next time?

Winning.

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Appealing a grade is never pleasant and often viewed as an unproductive, tedious process. However, with accurate justification and timely submission, it is possible not only for you to overturn your grade, but have your professor’s teaching reevaluated by the school to ensure the mistake(s) made is not a reoccurring factor. Welcome to Winning Your Appeal 101.
! Most people will tell you that the first thing to do once you receive a failing grade (one that you believe to be inaccurate) is to contact the professor and schedule a meeting to review the debated grades. This is true, although, there are several other tasks to be done. After you have established contact with your instructor, I recommend obtaining a course grade appeal form, found by clicking here. Once obtained, complete the form and select one of the five grounds of appeal. Regardless of how the conversion with your instructor goes, it i wise in all cases to still submit an appeal. Once you receive a failing grade, it is wise to automatically submit an appeal, knowing that it is possible to withdraw an appeal should your instructor, in fact, overturn the failing result.
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There are five grounds of appeal under which a course grade can be filed under:
A) Medical
B) Compassionate
C) Course Management D) Prejudice
E) Procedural Error
Filing under medical grounds is wise only if a medical emergency or incident occurred in your life within the semester that affected your ability to perform and do well in the course under which you received a failing grade. Remember, documentation is needed not only from the medical practitioner but the Ryerson Medical Form as well. Click here to obtain a copy.
Filing under Compassionate grounds is another option. You can select this as your reason for appeal if unforeseen circumstances occurred in your life during your enrollment in the course and affected your performance. However, if these circumstances that occurred were not addressed by you to your professor or program director upon your discovery (whether now or before), this could affect the appeal decision.
Filing under Course Management grounds is possible only if the instructor has deviated away from the policies listed within the Course Outline, a mandatory document each instructor must provide, whether hardcopy or online, at the beginning of the course. If you feel that the instructor has not properly followed the guidelines, you may have a case. Note: It is extremely important that you keep all coursework you have completed as this will be cross referenced with the course outline to confirm your claim of a grade appeal.
Filing under Prejudice grounds is the most infrequent reason for appealing an grade, due to the significant amount of proof needed by a student in order to file under this reason. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, for race, gender or any specific reason, it is mandatory that you consult with your student union first. I also recommend talking to the Ryerson Ombudsmun person, located within the RSU Student Centre as well. Both sources will give you an accurate answer as to whether or not you have sufficient proof to file an appeal under these grounds.
Last, Procedural Error are unique grounds under which many an appeal has been filed under, has won. Students can select this option if there is evidence that the course instructor has not followed correct procedure in either grade evaluation, grade submission or grade calculation. Not keeping an up to date grade score sheet (including previous grade adjustments) counts. Handing back assignments three weeks after its submission with no time for reevaluation before finals is another example. As long as there is proof of this, appeals filed under these grounds are usually granted.

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It is important to remember that all course grade appeals must be filed within your school department first. Be conscience of deadlines. Truth or not, an appeal submitted after a deadline will not be considered. I still recommend following up with the professor and hear their thoughts on your case. Some are reasonable. Others are not. It is also a good idea to bring the matter to the attention of your program director as some may be able to advocate in your favour. Regardless, remember that you must, absolutely must, file that appeal. If you have taken as course as part of Ryerson’s Continuing Education and are appealing a CE grade, the appeal must be filed within the school as well.
School can be challenging at times, just know there are avenues of opportunity with every obstacle. Better to have and not need that need, and not have.
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