You got this, Sask Polytech

September brings the promise of crisp leaves, cool temperatures and an energetic back-to-school vibe. No matter your age, the anticipation of a new academic year can mean new people, new classes and new routines. All that new can be stressful. 

This year, we’re all feeling the stress. Whether you’re a student, an instructor or supporting staff, you’ve come through a period like no other. And it’s not over quite yet. New rules and requirements with COVID-19 have been added to our September prep. We’re figuring out what it all means—for each of us as individuals and collectively as a place of learning. 

While we can’t change what’s going on around us, we can make decisions and act in ways that will help ourselves and each other to come through the Fall 2021 term with positive feelings and the satisfaction of success. Here are a few suggestions on how to do this as we approach our second academic year in a pandemic. 

Be kind. 
We have all been looking forward to a renewed sense of normal that comes with getting back to school and work, though things aren’t exactly back to normal. Remember that each of us are doing our best. Take a breath before reacting. Your instructor or student might have a sick child at home. The person helping you behind the plexiglass barrier might not have heard you the first time. Your student might have misunderstood where to find the course materials. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, including yourself! As Rick Hanson, psychologist and author of The Practical Science of Lasting Happiness, says, “Kindness to yourself is kindness to others. As your own well-being increases, you’re more able and likely to be patient, supportive, forgiving, and loving.” 

Be well.  
Staying home when you’re sick and getting vaccinated are an excellent start, but wellness goes beyond keeping germs at bay. How can you increase your own sense of well-being? Learn more about the four dimensions of wellness at saskpolytech.ca/wellness, and delve into the wellness activities, supports and resources available. Add a new wellness activity to your schedule and see where it takes you. That fitness class, mindfulness session, or walk outside with a classmate or co-worker can make the way you approach the rest of your day that much better. Find something that works for you? Spread it around. Your friends and family might need a wellness boost too. 

Be inclusive.  
We’re all in this together is a catch phrase heard throughout the pandemic. Let’s make sure that’s true. This fall, we welcome international students from different cultural backgrounds who have travelled far to seek out a Sask Polytech education. We welcome new Indigenous students. We welcome LGBTQ2S+ peers. We welcome the differently abled. As we come together for a new year of learning, take time to get to know your classmates and colleagues. Appreciate the diversity within our classrooms and hallways. We are stronger when we come together. 

Be bold. 
Embarking on a new path takes courage. This year, we’re all charting new territorywhether you are in your first year of a program or are a seasoned instructor or staff well into your career. Know that your success is a lodestar that guides Sask Polytech, and that the health, safety and security of all our students, faculty and staff are a top priority to ensure our collective success. 

Stay safe. Stay hopeful. You got this.