Meet Lorie Atkinson, SGS Wellness Counsellor
“I like when graduate students are surprised how helpful it has been to do these sessions,” says Lorie Atkinson, the newest addition to the SGS Wellness Counselling team. Last fall, Lorie joined Sean Martin in 63 St. George, meeting about 100 graduate students in all stages of their programs before the Winter Break.
Having gained a wide range of experience with different populations within and outside Canada, Lorie is happy to focus on what she calls a “very resilient” and “motivated” graduate student population at U of T. Graduate students are engaged in the process of not only acquiring new knowledge but also creating it, she says. For some students, the realization that research is “organic and not linear” can be frustrating; for others, the feeling of being “pulled in several different directions” with personal and academic responsibilities can seem overwhelming.
How can counselling help? For Lorie, it’s about helping to make life’s challenges more manageable: maintaining focus on achieving smaller goals first, sorting through priorities, setting a schedule. It’s about talking through what went wrong so there is an opportunity to practice doing it better. It can also involve moving away from the language of “should.”
“There can be a lot of ‘shoulds’ in the lives of graduate students,” Lorie says, “like ‘I should be studying, not taking a break.’” Learning about “self-care and how to find balance between work and personal responsibilities” can get students through their challenging period—and these lessons are useful well beyond graduation.
Lorie says that progress can come quickly with a combination of guidance, strategic thinking, and engaged listening on her part: “It’s amazing to see students bounce back once they see a pathway.”
Here’s how to access graduate wellness resources and services at SGS:
- Graduate Wellness Counselling at 63 St. George Street: Call the Health & Wellness Centre at 416.978.8030 and indicate your interest in receiving counselling as a graduate student. Your initial appointment will include an assessment by a professional, and you’ll be directed to the service that is right for you.
- Graduate Wellness Workshops at 65 St. George Street: Consult the list of upcoming topics on the SGS website. To register, call the Health & Wellness Centre at 416.978.8030 or contact your intake counsellor/clinician. Registration is limited to 15 participants, so be sure to register early. If you have accessibility accommodation needs, please advise during your registration.
Not based on St. George campus? Both U of T Scarborough and U of T Mississauga offer wellness counselling services to graduate students. Learn more: UTSC and UTM.
Looking for more Wellness services and resources across the tri-campus and in the Toronto community? Visit the Graduate Student Wellness Portal.
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