In the run-up to spring exams, University of Toronto students participated in the second annual “Night Against Procrastination” – only this time the study-focused event hosted by Academic Success paired virtual and in-person content to better connect with students.
Held at the end of March, the evening’s events included skills-oriented workshops that focused on motivation, managing time and – yes – procrastination. There was also a workshop that drew on the Anishinabek medicine wheel as a teaching tool to help students work through their learning process.
Virtual study hubs – where peer mentors helped students set study goals for the following two hours – were scheduled throughout the evening. Refreshments were available at Robarts Library, as well as puzzles and games.
“The end of March is a really hectic time for students,” said organizer Jonathan Vandor, learning strategist, peer programs. “This event showed that, although U of T is a vast and complex space, there are still opportunities to connect and find community.”
At the Night Against Procrastination, students were asked to share messages to inspire and encourage others (photo by Deepam Patel)
Staff at U of T Libraries provided ongoing guidance on citations and research throughout the evening. That included a 12 a.m. session called Midnight Magic that saw librarians offer a hands-on overview of the search process. There were also snacks and giveaways on site.
Vandor said the “casual mentorship” of volunteers was among the evening’s highlights. For example, work-study students who served as peer mentors engaged with students while handing out snacks and beverages.
“Juggling multiple exams and managing energy levels and projects at the end of the year is really challenging,” explained 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 event’s success provided a proof of concept for future hybrid efforts that similarly envision bringing together virtual features such as study hubs and workshops with in-person gatherings that take place in a common meeting place such as Robarts.
Academic Success plans to run the program again in November, and is currently planning other ways to use hybrid formats to engage students.