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From University Dismissal to Success: Students Sharing Their Stories

Posted by Breanne Markotich on September 4, 2020 in Students

When Christena Langille started the Refining Your Learning Skills for Academically Dismissed Students program, she did not know what to expect. Looking back on it now, it was one of the best things to happen to her.  

The Refining program is a 15-day, online program designed to prepare students for successful return to their program of study. Students learn skills such as note taking, coping strategies, mindfulness, and exam prep techniques through experiential and supportive learning environment.  

Langille shares her experience and the impact it has had on her. 

"When I started the program a few years ago, I felt ashamed for being dismissed. I thought no one else knew what I was going through. But when I walked in the room on the first day, I realised there were other students in my position. No one was there to judge you. Everyone was supportive and wanted to see you succeed. It made going every day enjoyable,” Langille says. 

If you have been struggling academically, it can have academic and financial repercussions, but it does not mean the end of your university career. 

“When I found out I was dismissed, it felt like it was the end of the world and nothing worse could happen,” Langille shares. “Looking back on it now, this program was such a turning point for me as funny as it sounds. It was lifechanging. I got so much more out of it than I thought I would."

"The program taught me about time management, how not to procrastination, the importance of setting a schedule, and it helped me build many of those essential skills you need to be successful. Not just in school, but in life. I carry them with me to this day.” 

Jordan Finner also shares her experience with the program.  

“When I attended the program last summer, it was initially my way back into Dalhousie after being dismissed, but it turned into so much more for me. There are so many things I do now that I would not have if it were not for this course,” Finner explains. 

One of her favorite parts of the program was the group dynamic. “I got to see people in the class build themselves up, which showed me that change was happening in such a short period of time,” she says. “Seeing the people around me improving encouraged me to do so as well.” 

Finner shares the following advice for anyone considering enrolling. “I’ve been in the position where I was out of school and wondering what I was going to do next,” she recalls. “I remember how scary that felt for an entire year not having a plan. It is easy for something to happen and you feel forced to take this program. You may not want to be there or want to help yourself, but soon you will realise it is a bootcamp for school that is professionally built. They know what will work for you."

This program was a lifeline for me. It was motivating and the tools they taught me helped me build a path towards my future goals.” 

Making the transition from high school to university can be challenging. Whether it is due to time management, self-directed learning, or a new learning environment. The good news is – you are not alone. The Refining program helps students to identify roadblocks to their academic success and provides strategies to overcome them. 

If you are interested in taking this program, we recommend speaking with your Faculty or program advisor before registering. 

For more information on the Refining Your Learning Skills, visit