Mount Royal gears up for a fresh semester

After an atypical 18 months, faculty and staff welcome students to campus

Two Mount Royal University students walking outside next to the Faculty of Arts building.

The resilience and flexibility shown by students who continued their education during the COVID-19 pandemic set an example for new students joining the University during a time of continuing change.

Welcome, or welcome back!

The past year and a half has been uncharted territory for the Mount Royal University community. Several semesters of online learning provided challenges — and opportunities —  to students and faculty used to traditional classes. The resilience and flexibility shown by students who continued their education during the COVID-19 pandemic set an example for new students joining the University during a time of continuing change.

Over the spring and summer, Mount Royal’s New Student Orientation (NSO) has conducted campus tours, information seminars, social activities and more. The dedicated NSO team helps first-year students feel more confident entering a new chapter of their lives.

"Student life is the best life. There may be some challenges along the way, so prepare to be flexible and ask for help. You got this," NSO coordinator Kaylene McTavish says.

While NSO acts as a supportive guide, students are ultimately responsible for staying on track and choosing what parts of campus life they want to engage in.

“Have the confidence to know that you can reach your goals. Believe that you have it in you to navigate the process and that you have what it takes to get connected and achieve academic success,” McTavish says. She urges those who couldn’t participate in real time to check out the recordings of NSO’s virtual seminars and welcome livestream.

While NSO is designed for first-year students, second and third-year students new to in-person campus life might want an introduction to Mount Royal, too. Welcome Week, taking place from Sept.13 to 17, is open to all students. The event features guidance, information and support to any returning students eager to explore the campus’s many resources and services.

Finding where you belong in a new environment can be tricky. While some students made friends virtually, others may still be searching for meaningful peer connections. Clubs are a great way to connect with students with similar interests and to explore new hobbies. Be sure to also keep an eye out for events hosted by the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU) throughout the semester. 

A time of adjustment

Since the beginning of the pandemic, MRU professors, faculty and staff adapted to the new reality, working together to create a safer environment, and have demonstrated the same effort in preparing for the Fall 2021 Semester.

"We are thrilled to welcome students back to campus with new health measures and an expectation that we will continue to adapt to the current situation. Faculty and staff have worked hard to make sure our programs and services are ready and available to help students enjoy the vibrancy of campus life,” says Mount Royal President and Vice-Chancellor Tim Rahilly, PhD.

While the buzz of seeing friends, meeting new people and exploring university life is exciting for some, others might be more hesitant to see what returning to campus will look and feel like. Wellness Services is equipped to support students through webinars, workshops, counselling, mental health services and medical services.

In this time of transition, the Mount Royal community can look out for one another, and come together to provide a safer environment, says Dr. Janet Miller, a psychologist with Wellness Services.

“Bring kindness to campus,” Miller says. “We’re coming out of isolation, and being on campus together will be awkward and mistakes are inevitable. So let’s be kind in our community and make campus a place we want to be, because we know we’re taking care of each other.”

Sept. 10, 2021 — Katherine Sharples

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