Award Recipients’ Insights: Sarah Chmielewski and Support

Sarah is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award from Salad King and Ryerson’s International Student Support

It’s a huge honour to win the Excellence in Mentoring Award. This award means a lot to me because I’ve been recognized for doing something that I truly love to do, which is mentoring and guiding students throughout their time at university. As a graduating student, I’ve had a lot of experiences at Ryerson – both good and bad – and I feel so grateful that I’ve had the chance to use those experiences to help others. During my first year at Ryerson I was living alone in a new city, didn’t know anyone, and was struggling to figure out how to balance my academics, making friends, and adjusting to my environment. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to have anyone to guide me or support me during my first year, and it really took a toll on me. But it also made me realize the importance of having a supportive network of friends, family, professionals, and other students.

Through my not-so-great experience of feeling secluded and lost during my first year, I learned what other students needed in order to feel welcomed and included. I feel that the lessons I’ve learned from my time at Ryerson have enabled me to connect to students so that they feel they always have someone to turn to; I strongly believe that if I’d had someone do the same for me, my first year at Ryerson could have been so much better. I am now incredibly lucky to have the chance to help other students feel involved and connected during their transition to university life; every day I strive to do my best to ensure that whatever struggles students face, they will always have someone to come to when they need it.