Leveling up at St. Thomas

Academic success while in university isn’t easy. It takes work, determination, and a certain kind of mindset to achieve straight A status.

As a part of its Student Skills Workshop Series, St. Thomas University provides free workshops that offer tips and tricks to help students improve their academic experience. These one hour group sessions cover a range of topics including time management, how to study for exams, and how to prepare for assignments.

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Heather MacDonald, learning strategist at STU offers one-on-one meetings for students. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

Learning Strategist Heather MacDonald holds these sessions every Wednesday and aims to help students help themselves. “Generally I want students to be very confident that they know how to be a good student and I want students to feel like they can achieve anything they want.”

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Stuck in a rut? The Student Skills Workshop series offers ways to boost your grades! Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

Successful students use study techniques and tools provided by the university to maintain the goals they set at the beginning of the school year. They use these goals to motivate themselves to prepare for assignments, find time to study, and organize their schedule. These workshops teach students how to do just that.

“We want to teach students that learning and achieving your academic goals is easy if you know how to take those foundational steps to do it,” said MacDonald.

Alex Jewett, a third-year student, attended her first workshop on Wednesday.

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Jewett attended the Level Up workshop to prepare for the stress of exams. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

“I’m already excited to go and sort of plan and schedule and figure out what’s best for me and try new strategies,” said Jewett.

By applying the strategies provided at these workshops, students can discover their method of success and be the student they want to be.


Originally posted on The Second Year Reports on December 5th, 2016.

Student gets more than she bargained for while renting

With a high school diploma in hand and a new desire for more responsibility, students attending post-secondary must decide where they’ll be living.

There are few options for students when moving to a new city. Living on campus can be expensive but renting an apartment may lead to a slew of problems.

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Mackenzie Boyd has been dealing with the stress of school, work, and an apartment that seems to be falling apart. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

Mackenzie Boyd, a senior at the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage in downtown Fredericton, found what she thought was the perfect apartment in March of 2015. She signed a year lease that would begin August 2015.

When viewing the apartment, Boyd didn’t consider the problems she could face when renting.

After a few weeks of moving in, Boyd discovered that her neighbours smoked marijuana.

“This is a non-smoking building, so I thought that we wouldn’t have to deal with stuff like this,” said Boyd.

After she called the landlord, a notice was sent out to each tenant but nothing changed. The building is supposed to be smoke-free.

“I find that my clothes and furniture have picked up the smell of smoke, but so far nothing has been done,” said Boyd.

Careless neighbors aren’t the only thing that Boyd has dealt with after more than a year of living in the space. The winter months are the hardest. Although she is on the top floor of the building, the apartment remains cold because of drafts that come through the windows and cracks in the walls. Boyd has recently discovered mold in one of the corners of the bedrooms and after notifying the landlord, no one has been in to fix anything.

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The mold has been eating away at the wall causing a draft. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

The mold is her biggest concern. Boyd recently adopted a cat and doesn’t want the mold to affect her health or her own.

This first bad experience hasn’t swayed Boyd from renting, although she is moving to a different apartment when her lease is up in August. This time she’ll be getting a closer look before signing anything.


Originally published on The Second Year Reports on January 19th, 2017.

Village receives much needed updates

A village just outside of Fredericton, with a population of no more than 1300, will be receiving $1.7 million from the federal government and $893 000 from the provincial government for a new wastewater sewage facility.

This is just one of the projects underway for the village. In May of 2016, Chipman, N.B. elected a new village council that included a new mayor, Carson Atkinson, and two fresh faces.

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Lindsey Fraser works with the community and provides a voice for what the people need. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm. 

Lindsey Fraser owns a massage therapy clinic in Chipman and has lived in the village for her entire life. When she ran for a position on the council, her main goal was to create new activities for the members of the community.

“We’re looking to expand our parks and recreation division so there will be more summer sports for children. We’re looking into maybe an outdoor rink for the winter, that can be converted to a basketball court for the summer time,” said Fraser. Since being elected, Fraser has completed projects such as purchasing new playground equipment for the Hamilton Baird Park and improvements to the local Bowlarama, a business that was close to shutting down. Fraser began hosting bowling tournaments each weekend and now they’re a hometown favourite.

For Chipman, losing businesses isn’t all that surprising. In October, the village lost their only bank and only insurance company, but that hasn’t stopped new businesses from popping up.

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Dan Frenette works on innovation within the community and the establishment of new businesses. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm.

Dan Frenette is a local business owner who moved to Chipman six years ago, with his own business. In less than three months, Frenette established his computer repair service and began renting out cheap apartments within the village that had been left vacant for years. Now, he owns a local convenience store and is opening a new Robin’s Coffee Shop on Main street in March. While gaining success with his businesses, Frenette was also elected to the village council. He wants to see continued innovation.

“My biggest achievement [since being on the council] has been bringing innovation and new businesses, encouraging other people to move here, to invest here, but the biggest achievement in a small community is being able to become a part of it,” said Frenette.

With the loss of businesses, spots need to be filled. D’s Diner, a local favourite burned down due to an electrical fire two years ago, and the community was left feeling empty without their home-cooked meals. Since then, the local grocery store Valu-Foods opened a Greco and a Captain Sub, and “The Bear’s Den” opened its doors offering delicious, homemade food.

Although food is always a big improvement, Chipman is also looking for more practical improvements.

“A cab service is something we need desperately and maybe a working service for our seniors who need snow-shoveling done, or a drive to the grocery store. We’re looking to get those services for our seniors,” said Fraser.

From new activities to new businesses, the council is working hard to put Chipman back on the map and although change isn’t something that is always welcomed, improvements are always needed.

Full video:


Originally published on The Second Year Reports on February 3rd, 2017.

Seabuckthorn is on the rise in Chipman thanks to Big Sky Ventures

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of highlighting a local business in my hometown. I had heard many good things about Big Sky Ventures and the week I had an assignment due they just so happened to be hosting an open house that weekend that including wine-tasting and snowshoeing, two of my favourite things.

What a better way to spend my weekend than to drink wine, get some exercise, and get to record it! My family even joined in for the weekend. Below I have attached the assignments I made for my journalism class.

Full video report version:

Text-over-video version:


Originally posted on The Second Year Reports on February 17th, 2017.

Random Acts of Kindness inspires students

Jellybeans weren’t the only things that were sweet at St. Thomas University on Friday. Free treats encouraged students to be kind and positive.

The reason:  Random Act of Kindness day. This citywide initiative aims to inspire people to have a positive attitude when interacting with others. St. Thomas always takes part and every year, there are plenty of smiling faces.

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Monica Rosvall, a Bachelor of Education student at St. Thomas University. Photo: Haley Stairs.

This year, Bachelor of Education students like Monica Rosvall organized the day on campus.

“Although we should be kind everyday, sometimes we forget. We get tired and we get impatient with people but having a day like today just to remind us of it. I think it reminds us that we’re a community and we all have to work together to just bring each other up and encourage each other along the way.”

Random Act of Kindness day motivates people across Fredericton to be kind to one another and to pay it forward when someone does something for them. The Fredericton Community Foundation distributed 20 000 cards across the city. Students were more than willing to pass them along with a smile.

The good will can inspire students like Lauren Hoyt.

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Sweets were provided to brighten everyone’s day. Photo: Cassidy Chisholm

“I got a cookie from someone walking around like handing out things for Random Act of Kindness and it definitely inspired me to do something today, like not just today, but really any day.”

The annual event raises spirits all around Fredericton and makes people think selflessly. The committee aims to remind people that they need to be kind on a daily basis.

The cards are still on display. A reminder that Random Acts of Kindness do not have to be limited to one day a year.