Lindsay Terry is a Learning Strategist at the ASC. Her previous roles at U of T include working as a program assistant for the Mentorship Resource Centre and as a peer mentor with First in the Family. This week, she talks about the importance of finding a mentor and about the value of honoring process as a student. Read her full bio here.
What inspired you to become a Learning Strategist?
It inspires me to work with students one-on-one and learn a bit about their journey. I’m still really close to my experience as a student because I graduated just last year. Working with students individually means there is room to tailor strategies that reflect their own preferences for learning. It also means there’s room to interact with the student as a whole person.
You mentioned that you didn’t think that you would graduate when you were an undergrad student? Why is that?
I struggled to learn how to excel, and how to produce what was expected of me. It wasn’t until the third year of my undergrad that I was introduced to a missing piece of my puzzle: a mentor! Her name is Dr. Marianne Stenbaek, and her research really resonated with me, and was so impactful, in fact, that it ended up informing the direction of my graduate degree. With her guidance, opportunities started opening up for me and gradually my belief in my ability to do well increased.
How did you find your mentor?
I approached her with the question “so, I’ve never taken a Canadian Studies course before, do you think it’s alright that I start with this 400-level course?” and she responded saying, “I’ve never taught a Canadian Studies course before, so let’s try this together.” I was already exploring informal education across the Arctic, but never with a specific focus in Canada. Essentially, she really acknowledged my passion and mirrored it back to me.
Would you say your greatest struggle as a student was not being able to find a mentor?
Yes. This and learning how to thrive in such a competitive environment.
What other ways helped you overcome this challenge?
Reframing how I thought about education was a good start. Within formal learning environments like U of T, we’re rarely prompted to consider the value of process in our learning given the series of deadlines and emphasis on assessment. Having had the experience of learning within a deeply experiential model in Nunavut, I began to see how the very process of coming to knowledge carries as much value as the knowledge itself.
I’ve thought about how I can extend this thinking to working with students in my current role, and I think that recognizing process in learning can take a very practical shape when we consider for example the stages of writing. The very nature of producing an academic paper requires that we consider (the often arduous!) process of coming to knowledge by virtue of gathering sources, mapping out what you intend to explore, and so forth.
Lindsay is available for one-on-one appointments to talk about learning strategies that may work best for you. Please visit http://asc.utoronto.ca/Individual-Appointments.htm for more details.