President Steenkamp: Students, we’re here for you

I often wonder — and worry — about how you are doing, students, especially as you face the ongoing challenges of the COVID pandemic.

It’s been a very challenging 20 months and I wanted to let you know that we are here for you, here to listen, to help and to support you to the best of our ability.

I’ve often said that empathy is the most important quality in leadership. The ability to understand what people are going through. What they are thinking, feeling and experiencing.

And while I still think that’s true, I also know that, during this pandemic, our capacity to empathize has been greatly stretched. We have been empathizing with nurses who are facing burnout, with grocery store workers who are feeling anxious, with loved ones who have been sick or worried, with whole countries that are experiencing multiple disasters.

Whether you are on campus or online, in Canada or in countries around the world, I know you have all been through so much. But I also know just how much you care about each other and the world.

This pandemic has shown us just how connected we all are. What we do impacts each other. Whether we are two meters or two oceans apart, we are in this together.

It’s a lot. Shifting how you work and learn. Financial stress. Academic stress. Juggling family arrangements. Supporting those around you. Bouncing back from stress is getting harder. So what can we do?

Give yourself a break. Take a walk. Say no when you need to. Put a priority on self-care and encourage others to do the same. And reach out when you need help.

I know that many of you have been attending our Student Success workshops on things like managing stress and anxiety, building resilience, self-care and mindfulness. And that students are reaching out for counselling and other supports and then telling their friends that it was really helpful.

This is how we do it.

This is how we get through it together.

I am so grateful you chose Royal Roads. And know this: Royal Roads is here for you.