CORNER BROOK, NL –
There is no doubt that students at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) have risen to the challenges associated with an online learning environment.
It’s been just over a year since the onset of the pandemic when CNA made the move to online program delivery and its students continued to excel.
When it came time for students in the Executive Office Management program at Corner Brook campus to plan their traditional professional development day, they knew it would need to evolve in order to thrive. Gone was their ability to hold in-person sessions with face-to-face presentations.
As a testament to how adaptive CNA’s students are, they pivoted and planned a full-day, online event with the focus shifting to ways to combat the stressors of an online learning curve. Over the course of seven weeks, 19 students in the program worked collaboratively to develop an agenda that consisted of special guests, both locally and globally.
The Stress-Free Wellness Day focused on the importance of wellness, movement, mindfulness, breathing and grounding through activities, such as chair yoga and the power of positive words.
“All of these topics are transferrable and easily incorporated into our professional and personal lives, especially during COVID times and during a lockdown,” explained instructor Robin Regular. “Students, especially in this cohort, experienced a sudden loss of class community because of the global pandemic. As an instructor, I hoped these sessions would give them additional life skills to add to their professional toolkit.”
Regular says planning and execution of the event provided the students with hands-on, practical application of the professional skills they have developed. These newfound abilities will help them transition from college life to successful entry into the workplace, while at the same time, exposing them to empowering, successful entrepreneurs.
For student Kaylie Decker, the highly anticipated event surpassed her expectations.
“I did not realize how impactful Stress-Free Friday would be. Every single person who attended came out of this experience feeling happy, thankful, and hopefully more confident in themselves,” Decker said. “This is an event that I will never forget. My entire class opened up to each other as we happily shared memories of the past … To keep the morale in a classroom we need to work together. This event allowed us to accomplish something together, and that is priceless.”
Decker says she was able to recognize through these sessions, that although she has a mental illness, she is unique, not flawed.
“I got emotional a couple of times ... This day taught me to take a step back and re-analyze life. I now feel as if life really is not that bad if you stay positive and believe in yourself.”
Kaylee White says she also gained a new, positive outlook, which is something she admits to always struggling with in the past.
“This event has helped me in so many ways, starting with having a different look on my life, and a different attitude towards myself and others,” White said. “It has helped me to be more positive, stronger, and taught me new ways to manage stress.”
While expectations for Courtney Janes were initially lower than White’s and Decker’s, she quickly embraced the teachings, especially the concept of writing down three good things that happened each day to change a person’s mindset.
“When the group brought up having a life coach and yoga I thought to myself that we’re probably only going to get a few tips on how to manage life in a better way, or learn on how to do a few simple breathing techniques, but we came out with much more,” Janes said. “We learned how to not be so negative about ourselves. By the end, I think that this event was a good way to show that there are many ways to have a stress-free work environment either at home or in a workplace.”
Meanwhile, Regular couldn’t be happier with the results of the training and the feedback from all participants.
“I have to express how proud I am of these students for showing amazing initiative and motivation during these challenging and changing times,” said Regular. “This has proved to be an incredible learning opportunity for all involved! It is so relevant to the emerging trends in today’s business and education sectors during the global pandemic.”
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic