SALS teaches Durham College students success

Nicky Patel (left), manager of the Student Academic Learning Services, hopes students will take hold of their own academic success with SALS. Photo by Justin Stewart


The end of the year is close, group projects are due, exams are coming up, lots of tests and assessments are happening in class, and many students are stressed out. On top of that there’s the whole thing about the completion of the semester and trying to find a summer job so that you can come back to Durham College next year or for those who are graduating, finding a full time job. Getting stressed yet?

Nicky Patel, manager of the Student Academic Learning Services, (SALS) says you might be.

“This time of the year it is particularly evident that students are coming in, they’re highly stressed and it’s all end of the year stuff,” she says.

SALS is a dedicated place only for Durham College students to go for a quiet spot to learn. It has tutors available and workshops that teach time management skills.

“We see students all year round struggling with lots of things, mostly time management and being organized enough to complete their courses and be successful in their programs,” she says.

If you’re panicking because the work is piling up and you think to yourself, ‘what can I do?’ SALS may have an answer.

“Take things like test and exam workshops,” says Patel. “Take one of these and it’ll teach you to get better marks in your exams.”

The SALS workshop teaches you how to study and get the highest marks, says Patel.

But don’t be fooled, she says. SALS is no miracle cure for low grades.

“There’s always the possibility of improvement but it really depends on the student and how much work they’re willing to put into it,” says Patel.

This is where the SALS tutors come in. Paul Fernandez, a peer tutor and electronics student, helps his peers by teaching them in a way they can better understand.

“As tutors we are taught not to teach new material. We’re simply told to reiterate things taught in class and re-explain things,” says Fernandez.

He says being taught by a student helps students feel more comfortable because they can empathize with the struggle and “be a little bit more real with you.”

“A lot of the time students don’t take the time to start their assignments right away,” he says.

As advice for students struggling to keep up with school, Fernandez suggests to take some time even while you’re studying to relax. But he suggests to start studying early.

“If something is really frustrating you, you know watch the game and crack open a beer,” he says.