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Jumpstart the school year with advice from SAIT students

Continuing students share their personal insight on how to be successful at SAIT. 

Excitement and anticipation fill SAIT’s halls as the school year begins, and continuing students share advice with new students to help them towards success. 


The best thing for new students to do is ask instructors questions, explained Sheldon Pon, a SAIT Business Administration student in his final semester. 

“They’re always more than happy to help me, even if it might seem intimidating in the class room in any way, usually one-on-one they’ve been really great and helpful.” 

Some students avoid stopping by their instructors’ offices for help, but Pon recommends going anyway, even just to ask for general advice. 

“One instructor specifically, I have a really great relationship with because I had gone to his office to ask questions.” 


First-year students should start building a social life on campus right away, explained Pon. 

“Just dive right in. Go out of your comfort zone a little bit; join clubs, get involved, volunteer.” 

Alex Sutherland, also in his last year of SAIT Business Administration, said he found that meeting new people can be difficult at first, but in the end it is well worth the effort. 

“Just try. Most of the time people are going to be really friendly, really accepting, and you’ll be really thankful you did,” Sutherland said. 

With so many clubs and activities on campus, “if you try something and you don’t like it, you’re not stuck with it.” 

There are a variety of clubs, which connect students with similar hobbies, faiths, educational interests, and lifestyles. 

During the previous school year, he participated in student government by helping a friend campaign, “and that was a blast.” 

Sutherland said that new students should explore SAIT’s campus. 

“[There are] lots of things to see and do, just wander around and look.” 

From SAIT’s the Butchery, the Market Place, to the Odyssey Coffeehouse, the campus is filled with unique places to visit. 


Deanna Balla is a wife, mother of three, student, business owner, and the President of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. The honour society invites students achieving a 3.8 GPA average or higher in one semester to join. They offer volunteer and mentorship opportunities. 

“Jump on board as soon as possible, because of the opportunities that it has for all members,” Balla stated. 

The mentorship program is available to everyone, and not limited to members. 

For students who are new to campus, don’t have friends yet, or just need support, the president explained that that the mentorship program can “help them get going in the right direction.” 

SAIT also provides support through academic coaching and counselling on campus. 

“There’s all kind of help. Get help and don’t be afraid to try something new.” 


Time management is a key part of being successful in post-secondary, explained Balla. 

“I believe that you should just buckle down and get your years at college done.” 

She advised that students make their grades and schoolwork a priority. 

As a mother and business owner, Balla said she understands the growth and difficulties faced by students. 

The most important thing to remember, according to this experienced student, is to “believe in yourself, know your limitations and be able to say no.” 


Shivam Patel is a continuing student enrolled in SAIT’s Bachelor of Applied Technology Petroleum Engineering at. 

He said he had a lot of questions about the courses when he first started at SAIT, saying he should have “talked to students that were [in the program] before.” 

Patel said he urges new students to talk with alumni and second-year students when possible, as they can be helpful in adjusting to the programs. 


Through SAITSA’s Club Expo, Patel connected with other students. 

He first heard about the SAITSA Peer Support Centre (located at NJ 105 in the Senator Burns Building) at the expo, and has since found the centre to be a valuable place of support and community. 

“It’s a good thing to know about.” 

Knowing what opportunities are available for students was important to Patel, he said. He suggested that all students check out SAITSA’s office, located at V204 in the Campus Centre, to connect to services and to learn about student government and clubs. 

“There are lots of things at the SAITSA office. Get to know everything about them, the elections and clubs and everything.” 

Students can also connect to services, events, clubs, and other students on the SAITSA App, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. 

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