WEST WINDSOR – In an ongoing effort to support and engage students during this time of social distancing and isolation, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) hopes to ease the transition with a series of virtual seminars to address issues of stress, anxiety, and time management in a remote learning environment.
The new series is fully staffed with live counsellors, advisors and success coaches from the West Windsor Campus and the James Kerney Campus in Trenton. Prior to the COVID-19 health crisis, face-to-face meetings were the primary method of meeting with students.
“These are tools not just for students, but for us as human beings,” said MCCC Senior Counselor Tricia Mayers. “This is a new way to connect with the Mercer community. The webinars have been created in response to what is occurring right now.”
The seven-session series was put together as a collaborative effort involving college Enrollment Services, the Counseling Department, the Center for Retention and Completion, and the Educational Opportunity Fund. The program consists of a month-long offering of topics focusing on subjects that include academic support, time management, and study skills, while underscoring the mindfulness and anxiety associated with the current pandemic.
Mayers explained that even though the students aren’t physically on campus, there is a whole virtual world available with living and breathing professionals waiting and wanting to help. The webinars are live events that the MCCC community can join using the Zoom interface. Student participants may ask questions and interact with the facilitator or success coach, or ask questions privately via chat room.
After the webinars, students have more opportunities to ask questions and, if necessary, connect via email or phone to set up an appointment for a private conversation with a counselor. Each webinar will be repeated twice during the month with live facilitators. There will be recordings of previous webinars for those students who may have missed the live interface. New webinars may be available during the months ahead.
Mayers said that by being determined and focused on things they can control, students can gain the momentum needed to keep going.
“Our goal is to teach skills such as time management and effective study habits to develop the focus, and therefore the determination and confidence, to navigate through the unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable,” Mayers said. “We tell students to be determined to grow and learn new things about yourself, and to try to be a better person than you were before. And remember, you are not alone. Mercer is really here for you.”