Month: November 2014

Strategies for Building Self-Confidence

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This can be a very stressful time of year for students as the semester comes to an end. It is not uncommon for students to have fallen behind in their classes and not know where to begin to tackle the workload and get caught up. At Mohawk College, professors are often way more supportive and flexible than you may think. All you need to do is approach your professors and develop a completion plan.

“All you need to do is approach your professors and develop a completion plan”

Sounds easy doesn’t it!?? Nope, completely anxiety and fear inducing! I am hoping to help you alleviate some of your fears, help you build some confidence and take charge of your education. I love when students approach me in the spirit of getting back on track…I am MORE than happy to help if they meet me half way.

Here are 10 strategies to start building your Self-Confidence:

  1. Think Positively – Focus on what is going well. Don’t worry, the negative will always hang around, you are just creating a realistic balance of positive and negative.
  2. Be Kind and Generous – Offer your time or support to a friend. Paying it forward often helps us feel good about ourselves.
  3. Set Small Goals & achieve them – Just get moving. Your confidence in your ability to accomplish tasks increases as you set goals and achieve them. Start small…”I will contact all of my professors today to book a time to meet and create a completion plan”.
  4. Work on Small Things – After you know what you need to get done to complete your assignments, break your list down into manageable chunks and take reward breaks. Just take one step at a time.
  5. Do Something that You Have Been Procrastinating On! – Sometimes if you just “rip off that bandage”, take on the perceived pain and get started, the task is done before you even realize. Often you are surprised how easy it was and wonder why you put it off. Get moving and gain a momentum that becomes infectious.
  6. Be Grateful – Gratitude is powerful. It allows you to have a more realistic perspective on your current situation. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” – family, friends, your health, the opportunity to be in school and learning, that this school pain is temporary?
  7. Empower Yourself with Knowledge – ASK! Please, Please ASK! We are happy to help. You need to know what is possible and what you need to do.
  8. Do one thing every day that makes you happy – Please take time for balance and reward. Life is not all about work and unpleasant tasks. Create a balance. You will find that you will dread the work less and actually accomplish way more.
  9. Try and catch yourself every time you tell yourself that you can’t or it won’t work – All you can do is try. The answer is alway “no” if you don’t ask. I have always been surprised by how often my professors said “yes” to something I thought for sure was impossible.
  10. Learn something new  – You mind functions better and you can increase your stress tolerance when you give your brain a break from the “same old, same old”. Learn a small new skill, learn something new about your friends/family, learn a new word from a different language…any small thing can offer an inspiring break and take you out of your focus on your current situation. It can help you to gain a healthy perspective.


  • LIST: Create a list of all that you need to do to get caught up and organize by class.
  • PLAN: Create a plan of “attack” – complete the assignments worth the most first or the ones that are due first.
  • CONTACT: Contact your professors to explore extensions, help, if you can still hand in an assignment, etc.

You can always book an appointment with a counsellor to help you get motivated and create a completion plan by calling 905-575-1212 ext. 4605. Feel free to contact me directly as well at . I am happy to help 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Professor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Mohawk College – Fennell Campus – “The Square” – C102

Extra Resource From MindTools: Building Self-Confidence

12 Stress Management Tips

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This is a stressful time of year as we come to the end of the semester. Here are 12 Stress Management Tips that you can try as you attempt to reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing.

When you lower your stress level, you improve your memory.

Try at least one of these strategies today!

Managing Stress Tip #1


Laughter is one of the most effective ways to manage stress.

Psychoneuroimmunology: This science says that laughter can help boost your immune system and make you less prone to colds and the flu.

Managing Stress Tip #2


Being more flexible helps you manage stress by allowing you to try different ways of talking to people and dealing with events rather than acting out of habit or doing what makes you feel safe.

Managing Stress #3

Learn to SAY “NO!” and Prioritize…

Reduce the demands that are placed on you. Are you a “yay-sayer”? : “Sure I’ll do all the work for the group”, “Certainly I can work overtime anytime you need me to.

Managing Stress Tip #4


Set reasonable goals and strive to do your best. Learn from failure but don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. We all make them and the best learning comes from mistakes.

Managing Stress Tip #5


A sure way to reduce your stress is to do less and re-evaluate your commitments. Choose one or two activities that you truly enjoy. Reducing demands on your time, will definitely reduce your stress.

Managing Stress Tip #6

GET ACTIVE: Exercise has a positive effect on your mood and immune system.
EAT WELL: Stress drains your body of energy, consequently you need to nourish it with food that will combat the stress. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc.

Managing Stress Tip #7


On average, adults need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night for a healthy body and mind. We also need periods of rest during the day: a nap or “time out”. We cannot be creative or solve problems effectively if we don’t have a break or chance to just rest. For your brain to work at it’s best, it needs rest.

Managing Stress Tip #8


Don’t run away from difficulties because you feel it’s easier than facing them. Before you begin your school day, reflect on unfinished business and how you will resolve it. Give yourself positive coping messages: “This is going to be tough, but I can handle it.” Try to make a note of times that you have pushed through and were successful. This is where to put your focus.

Managing Stress Tip #9


Find a friend or someone you feel comfortable sharing with and tell them about your day. Talking to other people and getting things off your chest can help improve your body’s physical health. You may learn another way of looking at your stressful situation that is healthier for you.

Managing Stress Tip #10


Caffeine is a strong stimulant that causes your body to be stressed. You’ll feel more relaxed, sleep better, feel less jittery throughout the day and have more energy. Just cut down and see what happens for you.

Managing Stress Tip #11


This involves focusing on what you are doing to change the event that is bothering you. For Example: If you are upset by someone’s behaviour, avoid him or her. If you get angry in heavy traffic, choose a different time to travel. If you don’t like your job/ program, make plans to change.

Managing Stress Tip #12


Sometimes you cannot influence the people or events that distress you. Changing your reaction to these stressful situations can help: For Example: Go for a quick walk at lunch instead of reaching for a cup of coffee to help you through a stressful school/ work day. Decide to focus on the people who are supportive in your life rather than the ones who are not.

Book an appointment with a counsellor to work on any of the areas above. Counsellors offer personal one-to-one counselling to help build your Stress Tolerance and Management skills.

Contact Me!! I would love to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Professor * Passionate Advocate for the Success of Students

Procrastination: Building Stress Tolerance Through Attitude

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 “The best way out is always through”

Robert Frost

“The best way out is always through” is so true this time of year in post secondary programs. Procrastination is a common strategy to deal with feeling overwhelmed with all your academic obligations. Procrastination is a wonderful tool…in the short term. You get to feel a temporary sense of relief by putting it out of mind. The problem is that it just gets worse…way worse! Generally, it will lead you down a path that you cannot recover from, or at least you “feel” like you can’t recover from. Really, the best way “through” is to make a plan to face starting and finishing assignments, studying for midterms and preparing for group projects. When you “feel” like avoiding, “think” about what is the best route to feeling less overwhelmed. That path would be facing it, get moving and work through your academic To-Do list one day at a time (after you have created your semester plan). Remember there are people at the college who want to help you. Talk to your professors, meet with a Counsellor, book an appointment with a Peer Tutor or create a supportive study group.


…think about what you are avoiding. Why are you avoiding it? Are you afraid to get started? Afraid that you will not be able to get it done? Try using the Nike slogan…Just Do It! If you are still having difficulty making a plan and dealing with procrastination, make an appointment with one of the Mohawk Counsellors for assistance. Call 905-575-2211 to start walking through feeling overwhelmed and taking charge of your academic life.


Check out the eLearn module: Stress Tolerance for more strategies!

Here is a wonderful story to help build a stress tolerant attitude: Are you a carrot, egg or coffee bean?

Remember to sign up for the SuccessCoaching@Mohawk College eLearn modules through Self Registration. I have more hints, tips and tricks that can help you stretch and grow in the area of Stress Tolerance. Come on! Join me in this “become the best version of you” journey!

I would love to hear any feedback, questions or comments!

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Counsellor * Professor  @ Mohawk College

Procrastination: Building Your Stress Tolerance Can Help Curb Procrastination

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Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.


You are probably feeling the pressure as we pass the deadline to withdraw from your program or classes. Should I stay in this program or should I leave? Am I doing well enough to pass my classes? This can be overwhelming! However, what I find is that student perceptions of their inability to cope or their fear of failing can make this time of year much worse. Worrying about failing can absolutely freeze you and cause you to procrastinate. The irony here is that the procrastination generally leads to failure….just getting started and producing something to hand in can lead to success.


…try to focus on getting assignments started, or even completed. Try to just produce something, even if you don’t think it is your best work…just get started. Often by producing something, you may surprise yourself and find that you end up with something that just needs to be edited a bit!!! Try and shut your over-analyzing mind off and produce something…read a chapter, make notes, start/complete an assignment…whatever it is, just get going without evaluation.

Even if you are not as successful as you would like on an assignment, at least you made the attempt. Now you have something to learn from and you haven’t fallen victim to procrastination. It is easier to rise from unsuccessful situations than it is to improve upon the perception that you can’t do it at all. Stress becomes more manageable as you work through the to do list. Get going and be nice to yourself!

eLearn Modules…

You can always book an appointment with a Mohawk College Counsellor to help you get back on track and learn strategies to manage your stress and procrastination. Also, you can sign up for the SuccessCoaching@MohawkCollege eLearn modules through Self Registration in eLearn. I have more hints, tips and tricks that can help you stretch and grow in the area of Stress Tolerance.

Come on! Join me in this “become the most Stress Resilient version of you” journey!

Dr. Heather Drummond, Ed.D. (Counselling Psychology)

Success Coach * Professor *Counsellor @ Mohawk College