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Student Success Week Spotlight: Haylyn Agacer

As part of Student Success Week, we are featuring UM students who have a story to tell about their experiences navigating the challenges of student life.

February 27, 2024 — 

Haylyn Agacer is a fourth-year student in the Bachelor of Arts Advanced program double-majoring in Film and Classics, who was born and raised in Philippines before moving to Canada in 2010. Haylyn is an Admissions Assistant at the Admissions Office as well as a Charge Ahead Mentor for the Student Transitions and Success Centre, where most of their time is dedicated to meeting with students, listening to their challenges, providing suggestions and advice regarding academic success, and connecting them to various campus resources to help them throughout their journey at the university.

Haylyn Agacer | Charge Ahead Mentor/Addmissions Assistant, Student Transitions and Success/Admissions

Haylyn Agacer | Charge Ahead Mentor/Addmissions Assistant, Student Transitions and Success/Admissions

Has anything unplanned or unexpected happened during your studies? How did you handle it?

When I first started university, the initial plan was to pursue a degree majoring in English and a minor in Film. I remember this vividly, as I had sought advice from an academic advisor in the First Year Centre on how to achieve this goal. Sadly, due to the sudden lockdown mid-semester in Winter 2020 (aka the pandemic), my grades came out subpar and I could not achieve the pre-requisite requirement to take upper-level English courses. However, I couldn’t take a break from my studies as, at that time, I had just been laid off from my job and I was on student loans—meaning if I took a break from my studies, I would not be able to afford to handle the repayment for the loans. Despite my worries, I took a different approach for the next school term and took courses that had piqued my interest, which would have had nothing to do with my degree at that time.

This decision was a blessing in disguise, and I took a course that completely made me change my career path. This course, unexpectedly, gave me the motivation to continue pursuing a degree in university and restored my passion for learning.

We all have uncertainties about our future. What is your tip or trick for handling the unknown?

As someone who handles things as they go, I have a tendency to tackle one problem at a time, and if multiple arise at once, I prioritize depending on the urgency of the matter. If I can’t handle the issue by myself, I seek help from peers, mentors, friends, family or someone who I know would be able to help me get the best possible solution in the end. I have never seen any shame in asking for help and others shouldn’t either. Two heads are always better than one.

What helps you balance all the aspects of your life as a student?

Calendars, agendas, planners, or whatever item that can be used to track your day-to-day are heaven-sent. When balancing five courses while having multiple other commitments such as work, clubs, volunteering, campus events and personal life, having a visual representation of your daily life is so useful. If you use digital calendars, setting up a reminder on important tasks, deadlines, etc. is an absolute lifesaver for those who have the tendency to forget due dates for their assignments, tests and such! Trust me—I’ve been there, and even if it takes a while to arrange everything, setting up a calendar to keep track of your schedule is so convenient.

What message do you have for new or returning sudents when it comes to being successful at the University and in life?

Attend workshops. There are a variety of workshops that are hosted by different offices on campus that can help you, not just as a university student but also as a preparation to enter the workforce.
Career Services offers workshops on how to build your resume, setting up a LinkedIn profile, interview preparation, and many more!
The Academic Learning Centre hosts workshops on academic success, such as midterm preparations, writing skills, etc.
Student Experience and Development offers workshops on growth mindset, leadership development, balancing being both a student and a staff, and much more.

These workshops have helped me become more aware of my role as a university student, my potential as a leader and how I can utilize the skills that I have gained throughout my time in university to strengthen my capabilities when I enter the workforce.

What do you find most exciting when you think of the future?

Pursuing a master’s degree. It is definitely far off into the future, but for someone who started attending university without a well-thought-out end goal, knowing that I’ll get the opportunity to further my studies beyond a bachelor’s is a blessing in itself. I do, sometimes, consider pursuing a second degree in Art History before that but that is a whole other rant that can be saved for another day.

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