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Students find community online and IRL in Night Against Procrastination hybrid event

Students studying in a library.
Photo: Yan Krukov on pexels.com

Posted on April 29, 2022

By Kirsty Clarke

On March 31, Academic Success hosted a successful Night Against Procrastination for the second time. This was the first one at U of T to combine virtual and in-person events (last Fall the event was entirely online), and students participated with enthusiasm.

Events included skill-building workshops, focusing on managing time, motivation and—yes— procrastination. There were also Study Hubs scheduled throughout the evening, to provide both community and accountability from peers to students working on completing their own specific tasks. Library staff provided ongoing guidance on citations and research throughout the evening, including Midnight Magic, joining librarians online at midnight for a hands-on exploration of the search process. There were also snacks and giveaways on site.

The evening was open to all students on the St. George campus, and organizers estimated that about 2/3 of the participants were undergrads, the rest graduate students (participating strongly in the Study Hub sessions).

“It’s been a really long two years,” noted organizer Jonathan Vandor, Learning Strategist, Peer Programs, “and the end of March is a really hectic time for students. This event showed that although U of T is a vast and complex space, there are still opportunities to connect and find community.”

He mentioned the value in this venue of the ‘casual mentorship’ of volunteers, including work study students serving as peer mentors and storytellers, who would engage with students to ask about how they were doing, while handing out snacks and beverages, for example. In a video made that evening, students offered advice to others on how to manage their workloads.

“Juggling multiple exams, and managing energy levels and projects at the end of the year is really challenging,” said Vandor. “This helped students connect to their goals, build their own skills and motivation, and reconnect with others in person—there was a real appetite for that.”

The success of this event provided a ‘proof of concept’ for hybrid events for the future—including both online features such as Study Hubs and Workshops and in-person community in a common meeting place (in this case, Robarts Library). Academic Success will run the program again in November, and is currently planning other ways to use hybrid online/in-person events to engage students even more deeply in the U of T community.