Congress Weekly

OMNIVOX SURVEY AND MENTAL HEALTH: Congress Weekly – October 30th, 2020

Written by Catherine Pepin
Edited by Emma Westenberg

On October 30th, the Congress appeared different and mysterious… with their festive disguises to celebrate Halloween! For two hours, the costumed members gathered virtually and discussed important topics notably: Mental Health and Well-being.

Without further ado, the Congress would like to thank the Associate Dean, Penelope Kostopoulos, and the Academic Dean, Eric Lozowy, for joining this weekly meeting to discuss the results of the Omnivox Survey that was conducted a while ago.

Omnivox Survey Results: The Facts
The meeting first began with Penelope Kostopoulos presenting charts depicting the results of the Omnivox Survey, regarding Academic Life during Block 2. In this compilation of data, they discovered that 77% of the Student Body responded to the survey, and that 54% of first year students participated as well. This said, the administrators were very pleased and thankful for this high rate of participation from the Student Body, because such gathered information is crucial to forming guidelines for future sessions.

The results from September 2020 were compared to the ones from the May 2020 survey conducted last semester. First, Mrs. Kostoloupos presented the students’ results regarding their engagement in their studies. Through this comparison, the number of students who had “low” or “very low” participation decreased from May to September, while the number of students who had an “average” or “high” participation increased. In the meanwhile, the results decreased slightly for “very high” engagement from March to September. However, most importantly the percentages of student engagement at Marianopolis College were distributed as following for September 2020 (this semester):

The Survey also asked if students had factors in their lives that could limit them from fulfilling their basic needs for their studies. On May 2020, 528 students said they had no limiting factors, contrarily to 614 students who said they did. As of September 20, the number of students who said they faced such issues decreased to a total of 507 students. In the meanwhile, 1,108 students answered they had no limiting factors regarding fulfilling their academic purposes.

The Limiting Factors were categorized into elements to discover which specific factors troubled them the most. According to the results, the most highly ranked factor was psychological ones. More specifically, students also mentioned that other limiting factors to their studies were of academic, biological, family, financial, medical or of other nature. The distribution of percentages for the answers chosen for each limiting factor are as following:

The Dean and Associate Dean Ride The Positive Train
After presenting these results mentioned above, the Associate Dean announced that she was thrilled to see positive results from the students. From these results, the Dean and Associate Dean believe that students have increasingly become more confident in succeeding their semester. In fact, Mrs. Kostopoulos specified that the percentage of responses for each chosen answer was the same for both first years and second years. The two administrators therefore announce that their ability to offer a higher level of online support must have helped the students greatly.

They recognize that weekly mios, student guides and office hours have been helpful for the students. Thus, any strategy related to time management was rated as very helpful for the students as well. The Associate Dean claims that aspects that worked well for the students have been shared with the faculty such as calendars, study groups, study guides, 1 on 1 office hours and recording lectures. However, they both realize that apparently group work has been ranked as least helpful for the students. Therefore, Mrs. Kostopoulos and Mr Lozowy are looking more in-depth to understand how virtual team work has been rated least favorable by the students.

The Dean and the Academic Dean would like to let their hard-working student body know that they are proud of their increased level of engagement and confidence. This conclusion has proven to both administrators that their students are capable of coping with difficult times by adapting conveniently to their own advantage.

The Associate Dean would like to spread the word that Academic skills office hours are very helpful for students. Every week, for 4 hours, this workshop allows students to develop their study skills conveniently. The organizers were proud to witness that the students arrived with more questions in mind and left with fewer questions to think of. Mrs. Kostopoulos and Mr. Lozowy believe that the Congress has been doing a good job trying to offer opportunities with their organized activities and workshops.

As quoted Eric Lozowy regarding activities for the students: “It is important to create opportunities for students to display their creativity, intelligence, empathy, humanity and other strengths.”

Overall, both administrators are glad that the students are slowly adapting to the online platforms and are committing to their studies.

Good Survey Results, but… what About Mental Health?
After the optimistic speech of Mrs. Kostopoulos, Tristan Boucher had an important remark to make. In fact, he specified that many students have reached out to him saying they are not okay mentally, thus, not stable. However, the more problematic issue is that the College’s counselors are overwhelmed. The demand of counsellors has increased considerably during this online reality despite the addition of a new counsellor, Amanda.

In fact, if we go back to the given results of the survey, 68% of the students, with limiting factors, said that Psychological issues were their greatest obstacle. Most specifically, at least 345 students struggle mentally to cope with this virtual reality. Tristan admits that he is looking to see if there are better strategies to implement to help these struggling students to be more at ease with their mental health, which is not an easy task to accomplish. As Misha Fotovati explained for students: “They are Marianopolis students for a reason. No matter what you throw at them they are capable of facing it. However, the way they face it might not always be good for their mental health.”

In fact, it is very important to balance workload with self-care! It is good to work hard, but taking a 15 minutes walk outside, drawing or committing to other activities is a good thing too, and will never be a waste of time!

Make Your Voice Heard!
Do you have any question, comment, or suggestions to pass to the Congress? Feel free to ask them by using the link below:

Another Upcoming Survey on Omnivox
The Associate Dean also mentioned that another survey, similar to the one recently conducted, will be sent out at the end of the 4th Block this semester. The Dean and the Academic Dean are looking for honest answers. In fact, the more honest the answers from the student body, the more they will obtain a true representation of the student body landscape regarding online teaching.

Les Impatients, Coming Soon!
Prepare your agenda! Anne Lin announces that Les Impatients are offering a talk session to provide important information about stress and coping. This informative event will occur on Tuesday, November 10th from 12:45 pm to 2 pm. In this event, Les Impatients will speak of mental health, offer coping strategies, introduce their fun artistic workshops… all this while offering the opportunity to network while releasing stress.

Editor’s note:
We know that the online experience is not easy for everyone. We all miss the presence of people and are missing the activities we could have done in-person. So please, check in on your friends and other people to make sure they are okay. Do not be afraid to reach out if you want to talk. We are all in the same boat. Mental Health is important, so be sure to socially interact through social media and find other activities instead of working all the time. Doing also what is good for you mentally will NEVER be a waste of time. Believe in yourself! You can do this!

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