Accessible Classrooms, Accessible Futures

Accessible Classrooms, Accessible Futures

Whether it is straight after high school or later in life, heading off to college can be an exciting yet nerve-racking process. There are so many questions:

  • Where should you go to college?
  • Can you afford to go to college?
  • What degree should you obtain?

Although these are all necessary questions a person must consider, some prospective students need answers to questions beyond these topics. For people with learning, mental, or physical disabilities, the decision to pursue a post-secondary education is a complicated one.

As someone with a physical disability, I had questions of my own. I was a single mom, I was 25 years old, and I am blind. Most people would ask the typical college questions first but not me. I needed to find out if it was even possible for me to attain a degree with vision loss. I lost my vision when I was 22 years old, so I had never experienced school with a disability.

All these questions and concerns can be answered by the Accessibility Supports and Disability Services (ASDS) department at the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC). Despite my fears, I decided to contact them. After my first appointment, I felt at ease. I was informed of all the accommodations and services they could offer me:

  • An educational assistant (EA) to assist me to and from my classes, take notes, and guide me anywhere that I need to go on campus.
  • A tutor who helps me with studying, formatting my written assignments, and tackling my extremely challenging math courses.
  • Converting all my textbooks, class handouts, and assignments into an accessible digital format.
  • Provide me with any accessible technology, like a talking calculator or hand-drawn 3D graphs, and note taking software for my EA.
  • For every exam, they provide me with a qualified reader and scribe as well as a distraction-free room.

The ASDS department is full of an incredible caring, understanding, and encouraging group of individuals. With every challenge I have faced over the past three and a half years, the ASDS staff have been there to help. Thanks to their ongoing support, I am in my fourth year at the college and second year in my program with a 3.88 GPA. If you or someone you know are considering making the jump to post-secondary, and have a learning, mental, or physical disability, I strongly encourage you to book an informational meeting with the ASDS department and bring a list of questions and concerns.

To find more information on Accessibility Supports and Disability Services, visit the Grande Prairie Regional College website: https://www.gprc.ab.ca/services/accessibility/  or phone: 780-539-2017.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Lyndsie Mcleod.

There’s a Mentor to Help

The nursing program is one of the most challenging degrees at GPRC. It was very thoughtful for those in authority to come up with a plan to encourage first-year nursing students voluntarily pairing a mentee (first-year nursing student) with a mentor (a second-year nursing student). I was blessed to be paired with my mentor – Abby Fraser – and within a few weeks, she gifted me with this Anatomy Coloring Book as displayed.

Mentors are there to give us tips on staying focused and with their kind words, they keep us “hanging in there”. Knowing that my mentor is willing to offer great advice and keep encouraging me makes this journey all worth the while. Because they have been in this situation and felt similar stresses as current students, they are in a great position to mentor. Studying at GPRC sure has its perks, some of which are hidden in plain sight. 😊

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Nneka Nwaigwe. 

New 24/7 Mental Health support launched for GPRC students

New 24/7 Mental Health support launched for GPRC students

Dr. Katie Stabb
Dr. Katie Stabb shows the new MySSP App that provides GPRC students 24/7 access to mental health supports

GPRC knows college can be a time of change, adjustment, and stress for students and we are here to offer help! GPRC has partnered with Morneau Shepell to bring its students the new Student Support Program (My SSP)! This exciting new program will serve as a support while juggling studies and personal life demands.

“My SSP is an important addition to GPRC’s student mental health supports. The various format options, the 24/7 availability, and the ability to tailor to individual needs is what makes this program special. Students can access professional support at a time, and in a format that works for them. I’m confident that use of this program will help build resiliency and wellness in our student body and college community,” said Dr. Katie Stabb, Registered Psychologist at GPRC.

My SSP is free to use and personal information is kept private. Students have unlimited access to articles, tools, resources, and dedicated My SSP Advisors/Counsellors that can help them succeed during their studies. All My SSP Advisors/Counsellors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in a counselling field, and are licenced to practice counselling.

My SSP Advisors/Counsellors can help with:

  • Adapting to college life
  • Frustration, concern, or uncertainty about any aspect of your life
  • Worries about upcoming exams or disappointment with academic performance
  • Stress related to procrastination and time management
  • Maintaining balance between home, work, and school
  • Being successful at school and post-graduation
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Stress related to finances and juggling multiple responsibilities
  • Being mentally healthy and much more!

Students may call or chat with My SSP Advisor/Counsellor at any time (24/7) to receive immediate support or to schedule an appointment.

There are many ways to access 24/7 support:

  • Download the free ‘My SSP’ app from your device’s app store (available on Apple and Android devices) to call or chat with a My SSP Advisor/Counsellor
  • Visit the website mystudentsupport.com to access articles, tools, and resources to help you succeed
  • Dial 855.649.8641 to speak to a My SSP Advisor/Counsellor over the phone, 24/7!

This program is confidential within the limits of the law.  No one will know you have reached out unless you choose to tell them.

Stay tuned for more information about the My SSP and reach out to Dr. Katie Stabb in Student Services (H103) if you have any questions or visit gprc.me/mentalhealth to learn more about the on-campus and community supports for students.