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The Student Learning Commons: A client perspective

Ghezal and Mariam chatting in the SLC consultation space in the Bennett Library
Published by Julia Lane

Interviewer Mariam is a student in the Public and International Affairs Program and a Writing and Learning Peer with the SLC. Fun fact: she speaks fluent French and basic Farsi and Spanish.

Interviewee Ghezal is a mature student in Criminology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She transferred from Langara College, where she studied Criminal Justice.

In this interview, Mariam and Ghezal talk about school, life, and the Student Learning Commons. 

Mariam: So, tell me about yourself Ghezal.

Ghezal: I’m a transfer student from Langara College, where I studied Criminal Justice for two years. I transferred to SFU in Spring 2018 and am aiming for a major in Criminology and a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, or a minor in both. There’s also a lot of other subjects that I want to study! I’m a full-time student, raising two teenagers as a single mother, and working part-time. I also volunteer for many different organizations, such as Amnesty International, the Vancouver Pride Parade, Crisis Line, Hastings Community Policing , and the FASS (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) Mentorship program. I’m also an immigrant: I was born in Afghanistan, raised in Pakistan, and arrived in Canada almost twenty years ago.


Mariam: How did you learn about the Student Learning Commons (SLC)? What motivated you to come?

Ghezal: I learned about the SLC in class and during Welcome Week when I first came to SFU. I was at Langara for two years and I don’t consider it shameful to ask for help. Institutions like Langara and SFU have places like the SLC to help students. Students often take these places for granted and don’t ask for help with their writing. As an EAL (English as an Additional Language) student, I often make grammar mistakes, so I’m always looking for extra support and a second opinion on my writing.


Mariam: What would you say is the most valuable lesson you’ve gained from the SLC?

Ghezal: I’ve been at SFU now for two semesters: Spring 2018, Summer 2018, and will continue taking classes in Fall 2018. I would say the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from the SLC is how to do a research paper - how to outline them and how to check my grammar. All the Learning and Writing Peers at the SLC are so caring, positive, and respectful and they really support students with their writing. The Peers will work with you at your level. My philosophy is that people should live life, inspire and empower others, avoid judging others, and fulfill their purpose in life. I find that the work that the SLC does really aligns with this philosophy.


Mariam: What is your #1 tip for a busy student?

Ghezal: I’m a very busy student and I often have to juggle a lot of work. Given my experience, I would say that other students should have three main priorities. First, they should prioritize their mental health and establish a healthy lifestyle for themselves. Second, students should do their best, while keeping in mind that grades don’t define them. Often times, students face so much pressure, from themselves and from school, that it impedes them from learning and growing. This pressure can negatively affect students’ mental health, which often means that they don’t do as well in class as they could. Every student comes to school with their own baggage and they need to learn how to deal with it. Third, never give up on achieving your goal, whether that be in university or in life in general.


Interview by Mariam, a Writing and Learning Peer with the Student Learning Commons and Ghezal, a student in Criminology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and an SLC client

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