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Keep the Momentum: Supporting Students toward Semester’s End

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With the transition to full remote instruction and the end of the school year quickly approaching, students may find themselves feeling short on both time and motivation; however, the student, faculty, and staff leaders at Buffalo State College remain committed to providing support and encouragement to students who may need that extra push to reach a strong finish.

Academic Success, for example, has a number of initiatives aimed at promoting student success, such as virtual Bengal Study Nights, which will be held Wednesday and Thursday, December 9 and 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. to help students prepare for finals academically (tutoring, final exam reviews, study tips), physically (stress relief), and emotionally (games, opportunities to socialize virtually). Additionally, academic advisers are providing outreach to students that appear with “red flags” in the Bengal Success Portal and to offer help in registering for the spring semester.

“Put yourself in a place where you feel confident to do the work. Stay motivated; we’re almost at the end.”

- USG President Jennifer Mauk

United Students Government (USG) is also doing its part to uplift and support students who may find themselves struggling. USG President Jennifer Mauk said the organization is working on a mental health survey to check in with students and also promoting  services the college offers to help students. As a student attending classes entirely remotely while working part time, Mauk empathizes with students trying to balance the pressures of academics with other areas of their lives.

“Being part of an organization gives you a large platform of people to lean on, people who are in the same situation,” Mauk said. “There’s a swarm of students who are going through the same thing who might know how to help you differently.”

Aside from peer-to-peer networks, she also recommends relying on the support available from academic groups. Say Yes, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and the Honors Program, for example, are all doing regular check-ins with students and addressing concerns as they emerge.

In addition to outreach to undergraduates, the college also has various resources and support groups for graduate students who face unique challenges in pursuing their postbaccalaureate studies.

The Graduate Student Association recently launched its “Gab with Grads” series, a virtual safe space in which graduate students can discuss a range of topics with peers and special guests. The first forum, “A Conversation of Justice,” held November 19, featured Vice President for Student Affairs Timothy Gordon and Chief Diversity Officer Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney.

“Remember why you started, and don’t get too caught up in the journey. Focus on the destination.”

- Graduate Student Association President Amiyah King

“The Grad School is working tirelessly to make sure that graduate students have opportunities on campus to engage with one another, despite not being able to be physically present,” said GSA President Amiyah King. “I understand we all have other responsibilities and  maybe didn’t prioritize social interaction whenever we were on campus. Right now, however, I think it’s imperative that students try to engage with their peers, teachers, or classmates, even for just 15 minutes a week.”

For both graduate and undergraduate students, one of the most important things to consider is keeping the end goal in sight. While challenges may arise, the college community is filled with supportive groups and an abundance of resources that can aid students as they navigate the last few weeks of fall 2020.

“As another grad student, I want to encourage my peers to stay focused on the end goal,” King said. “Remember why you started, and don’t get too caught up in the journey. Focus on the destination.”

King also encourages graduate students to connect with fellow students in GSA through social media to give and receive support. Similarly, Mauk encourages undergraduate students to take advantage of the services that USG and the college provides and to remain vigilant in achieving their goals while remembering to practice self-care.

“Focus on yourself and make sure you’re taking the time to look at what you need,” Mauk said. “Evaluate what’s going on and put yourself in a place where you feel confident to do the work. Stay motivated; we’re almost at the end.”


Photo by Bruce Fox, Campus Photographer