Madison Olsen

“Having launched a company last year, I get asked the question ‘what advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?’ regularly.  My main advice for someone is to always have tough skin and an open mind.  As an entrepreneur, you AND your idea receive constant criticism and critiquing.  It’s important to have tough skin and take criticism without letting it impact your work ethic, vision and business.  However, it’s also important to have an open mind and constantly be reaching out for help from people more successful than yourself and to be able to learn from those people and be able to apply those lessons for your own business.  Have an open mind to those who have walked before you in order to build you as a person and your company.”

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Bell Let’s Talk Day Ask a Therapist Questions

During the Bell Let’s Talk Day Event held by the Wellness Education Peers at Brescia, Michelle Lau, the BUCSC’s Wellness Commissioner, collected anonymous questions from students- questions which they have always wanted to ask a psychotherapist. The purpose of this event was to break down some barriers or concerns students may have about seeking therapy as well as to get a better understanding of resources that are available to them. The questions were answered by Sheldon Hill, a psychotherapist at Brescia. Here are just a few of the questions and answers- all the questions asked at the event were answered by Sheldon, and they can be found here!

Who is the psychologist at Brescia that I can go talk to?

Dr. Gilby is a private practitioner and psychologist who comes to Brescia to meet with students. She can provide short or long term therapy and she is based out of Ursuline Hall. Her rate is $100 per session, which can be reimbursed through the student health plan (up to $750.00). You can book an appointment with her by emailing rgilby@uwo.ca .

How do you know if you’re mentally ill?

If you’re seeking a diagnosis, I’d encourage you to attend a family doctor at Student Health Services and explain your experience. It is difficult to consider if our experience falls into mental illness because we are unable to contrast our experience to that of others. Sure, you can talk to friends about their experience and yours may sound more severe, but when it comes to experiencing emotion dysregulation or unhelpful thinking patterns, it’s difficult to compare those to others. A doctor would be the best place to start if you believe you have a mental illness.

Does it get easier or do we get better at managing?

This is a much more opinion-based, anecdotal answer as this question seems a little philosophical. Does life get easier? Not really – life tends to come in waves with times of ease and challenge coming and going. Life is complex and life as a student can be chaotic.
Can we get better at managing? Absolutely. One hundred percent. As we continue to learn about ourselves and expectations from others, we develop new skills and acquire new knowledge. If we remain engaged and open-minded, we are able to become better at managing challenges. Sometimes this means managing on our own, but it also means leaning on our social supports – friends, family – when we need to. And with time, those supports become stronger, more solidified and reliable.

These are only a few of the many questions students had. Sheldon was kind enough to answer each one, and all questions and answers can be found in this Google doc. Whether you are looking for your question, or you just want to know a little more about mental health services at Brescia and Western, Sheldon’s answers are a worthwhile read. Please take a look!

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Reading Week Staycations

Although many people look forward to spending time away from London during reading week, many students stick around for the break. That doesn’t mean a boring week spent in the dorm, though! London has plenty of fun options on offer. Here’s a quick list of some great London activities for the break.

Watch a Game

If you’re spending time in London over the break, it is a great chance to show some school spirit. You may be too busy to go see a game during a school week, but reading week is a great time to support the Mustangs. The hockey and volleyball teams are playing at home in the upcoming week; you can find details here.

Go on a Food Tour

London has a great food culture, and reading week is a great time to get out and experience it. This is a great chance to go out to that one place you’ve had your eye on for a while, or go searching for someplace entirely new. The best part is that London has so many options, that you can make a food tour that is scheduled just to your tastes. This website is a great place start planning your personal food tour.

Game Night with Friends

London is full of fun places to spend time with friends, especially if you’re the competitive type. Places like the Rec Room and Palasad are ideal for hanging out and having fun. For more laid-back vibes, little places like Chil and Carboard Cafe are nice places to spend an afternoon. Whatever you choose, be sure to bring one or two friends along with you!

Hit the Trails

London is known for its natural beauty- It’s called the forest city for a reason, so why not go take a look at what it has to offer? Western students may already know about the trails near campus, like by the Thames on main campus, and in Medway Forest behind Brescia. However, reading week is a great time to explore more of London’s trails. You can find one that piques your interest here.

Whatever you do and wherever you are this reading week, the BUCSC wishes you all the best!

Mikaila Hunter- BUCSC’s 2019-2020 President

This year’s race for the BUCSC president was marked by immense student engagement and participation. After an extraordinarily well-attended presidential speeches event on January 30, polling opened for 2 days, and the students made their voices heard. Finally, on February 6, Mikaila Hunter was announced as next year’s BUCSC president. Here is a brief introduction to Mikaila and her campaign platform, as well as a look at what students can expect from next year’s student council.

Hunter is a 3rd year food & nutrition student with a minor in political science. She has been involved with Brescia’s councils since first year, when she was a floor representative on Clare Hall’s residence council. The following year, she served as the BUCRC’s president, which also led her to her position on the BUCSC as residence representative. This year, she is the BUCSC’s president, and may now look forward to holding the same position next year.

Hunter’s campaign was popular with voters because of her student opportunity-focused platform. She focused on a continuation of the initiatives she has begun this year, but also expressed new goals to serve particular student groups, such as international students and clubs members. Additionally, she focused on improving accessibility for students by creating a mental health policy for student council positions and offering student services such as tutoring in more languages. Another great focus of the platform was student feedback-based research for how to improve the BUCSC’s services.

Hunter’s four-point platform focused on tutoring and work opportunities, accessibility in the classroom, student wellbeing, and student involvement, but this year’s campaign season directed the focus toward a major issue for Ontario’s students; the OSAP cuts upcoming in the next school year. Hunter has already worked to respond to the OSAP changes by bringing concerns on behalf of students. The changes also mean uncertainty for the student council, as funding has become far less assured in the coming year. During her campaign, Hunter assured students that she would seek to maintain the services that student council offers irregardless of budget changes.

Although Hunter will have one term’s experience when she is the BUCSC’s president next year, she will face changes and new challenges. The student body’s vote of confidence in her favor is certainly a signal that Hunter will be a capable leader for the BUCSC next year. Students may look forward to seeing her lead council and fulfill her campaign’s goals in the 2019-20 school year.

Presidential results

BUCSC Student Awards

The BUCSC is proud to support Brescia’s students in many ways; that means hosting social events, providing resources, and advocating for students, among other services. However, one of the BUCSC’s services that is often overlooked is the BUCSC awards. These awards and their monetary support are a way for the BUCSC to express thanks and recognition to Brescia students who exemplify Brescia’s excellence.

Awarded annually to honor students who embody the spirit of Brescia, the awards seek to recognize students with a wide variety of experiences and contributions to their community. The Spirit award, for example, focuses on involvement at Brescia, while the Francolini Memorial award is for students whose community involvement is specifically outside Brescia. A new award for this year is the Shiloh Roberts Compassion award, which recognizes an international student who embodies compassion in their community. There are plenty of awards, and each recognizes different values and lived experiences. It is well worthwhile to look at the awards to see if you would be a good match for any of them.

There are 19 awards available this year, and students may apply for more than one award if they wish. There is a lot of variety, so it is important to look through each award description and determine which ones for which you are a good candidate. Then, all that is left to do is fill out the applications, which are quite quick and easy to fill out online. They are available, alongside the award descriptions and requirements, at the dedicated BUCSC webpage. Applications close on February 13, so now is a good time to get started on applying.

Brescia students are defined by their bold leadership, dedication, and compassion, and that is something to celebrate. The BUCSC wants to recognize the students who best exemplify the Brescia spirit through their involvement with the Brescia community, and who positively impact the people around them. These awards and the monetary support they provide are a thanks and an encouragement for students who embody the best Brescia has to offer.

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Dear Brescia Blogger…

“Dear Brescia Blogger,

I’m a first year student and after a semester of work I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t like the program I’m in. I took similar courses in high school that I really liked and excelled at, however my current courses are really hard. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that I have to memorize and understand. I feel left behind by my peers and I am struggling to find motivation to keep up with my studies. I need advice.

Sincerely,
Seriously Struggling”
Dear Seriously Struggling,

This is totally understandable position. Many people have experienced this, even people in their last year. University is about self discovery. You come here to learn not just about the program you are in but also about yourself. If you ask any advisor, your first year is about having those 5 credits, all different courses, no more than 1 credit in the same courses. This is because in your first year you’re more likely to change your mind than any other year. During high school, I absolutely hated the subject that is now my program in university. Once I got to university, by pure chance I was put into this course, but after the first semester I realized I loved it. So, my second year I changed my program to this program. As a recommendation, at least course and program wise, I would say book an appointment with your academic advisor, through the Hive, or the online booking website. Here, you can talk to your advisor about your current program and discuss your options. Or, if your have an idea about what program you would like to switch into, they can discuss that program in detail with you and about how to switch over to that program.

However, the second part of this question was about your lost love of the program, and how you’re struggling. One tidbit of advice from my perspective: even when you love your program, you can sometimes hate it with a passion. When you finally pick your program, you search for something you love but also will challenge you, just keep this in mind throughout the year when it gets this hard.
I think the best way to overcome struggles with your program is to use the resources Western and Brescia give you. You can even find resources within your classes; your peers are your friends. You can start a study group, where you can find help with your big questions, and you might find you are able to answer some questions others have. Teaching others is a great way to learn the material for yourself. Through Facebook groups, creating study groups is surprisingly easy. Alternatively, you can always talk to your professor, who is there to help. If you are just looking for review or follow-up, I recommend finding things you don’t understand or questions you have about prior assignments and ask about them during office hours.

My last piece of advice is to take a step back from time to time and examine where you are in your university career. You may find that you love your program, but you’re getting bogged down by the coursework. Maybe the program you had your heart set on when you entered university is just not the best fit. Whatever the case, you need to take time to examine your situation and determine what your next move should be. After all, university is also for learning about yourself; struggles like these are part of that journey, and working through them in your own way is helping you build your future.

All my best,
The Brescia blogger

3 Steps for Improved Mental Health

An article by Melissa Jacobs, first year English literature student

Following Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday of this week, everyone has mental health on the mind. Brescia’s Let’s Talk event has sparked conversation on campus, to help raise awareness about mental health. Now is a great time to look at how you can better cater to your own mental health. Here are three steps you can take to achieve more improved mental health.

1. Plan your Supports
One of the most important things to do for your wellbeing is to have a support system in place. A strong support system is crucial. This can include friends, family, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, wellbeing coordinators at your school, teachers, crisis phone numbers etc. This can also include places that you feel safe and supported in, such as: your bedroom, a library, a favourite store or a friend’s place. Reaching out to these people and visiting these places can make a world of difference, whether you are in crisis or not. Make a list of all the people and places you can turn to when things become too overwhelming. Stay tuned to the end for an extensive list of resources available to you on and off campus.

2. Prevention Planning
Taking care of yourself is imperative in improving your mind and your body’s resilience. The more you practice taking care of yourself the easier it will be to handle the stress that will inevitably come your way. Self care is vital in prevention planning. When you are well rested, nourished, hydrated, and hygienic, it will allow you to better handle any triggers you encounter on a daily basis. You will also be able to bounce back faster after difficult events in life.

3. Contingency Planning
Okay, you have followed steps one and two, now what? Now you plan for the worst. Having a plan that allows you to take care of yourself in life’s most challenging moments is extremely helpful. Personally, I like to keep a small travel pouch of essential items with me at all times. Inside this emergency kit could include: numbers to your support system, a cue card of any coping mechanisms that work for you, a stress ball or putty, essential oils, tissues, eye drops, headphones, a small object that inspires a sense of calm, a journal and pen to work through thoughts, chocolate, candy, gum, a facial spray, prescribed medication, etc. This is where you can get creative for your personal needs and cater to them accordingly.

Following these steps is a huge step in the right direction. If you are ever feeling that you are in crisis, you can always use Brescia’s mental health resources or call SERT at (519) 661-3300, or the Coast Crisis Line is open 24 Hours: 905-972-8338. Above all, be sure to take care of yourself and do not be afraid to reach out.