The Student Success Exchange

The Student Success Exchange

By David Ip Yam
Welcome to the Student Success Exchange, a series of deep conversations about real student stories between a Student Affairs Professional and the students he serves. Hosted by David Ip Yam, the idea behind this podcast is to learn from the experiences of students who are striving and persevering through post-secondary education. Discover how they define success, make sense of their journeys and the skills they use throughout the process.

This podcast is for anyone interested in hearing about real student stories: students and their families, educators, faculty members, and administrators.
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Deanna Paolantonio (Phd) on Combining Personal, Academic, and Career Experiences Into a Fulfilling Pursuit
“Two weeks after being accepted into the PhD, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes [...] the auto-immune form of diabetes [...] That last chapter [of my student journey] was about Deanna finding her own resilience.” - Deanna Paolantonio (PhD) Deanna Paolantonio is a proud alumnus of York University. Dr. Paolantonio completed her doctorate in dance studies in 2018 after a long academic career as both an undergraduate and masters student at York. Deanna’s experiences allowed her to combine her interests in dance, dance education, body image, and type one diabetes. Moreover, it was through researching,writing, and defending her dissertation at York that Dr. Paolantonio was able to create the foundation for her non-profit dance workshop D-Dance Inc. In this podcast Deanna outlines how her time at York contributed to her own success cultivating a career path that is fulfilling both professionally and personally. Tags: Post-doc; research; dance; teaching; building a new relationship with my body; thesis; masters; PhD; bridging theory and practice; resilience; health; wellness; well-being; community work; arts-based education; confidence; knowing oneself; purpose; listen to your body; help-seeking; time management Connect with Deanna: Facebook: D-Dance and Deanna Paolantonio Instagram: @dea_bug and @ddance_inc Twitter: @DDanceInc1 LinkedIn: Deanna Paolantonio Connect with her through D-Dance: Website: www.d-dance.org Email: ddanceinc@gmail.com Recorded October, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
49:49
February 25, 2020
Glenn Singh on Returning to School, Getting Involved and Being First in His Family to Attend University
“I’m privileged to be able to attend University [...] this is not a given, this is a privilege and I am thankful everyday to be able to come to school [...] I wake up feeling so thankful for this opportunity to learn.” - Glenn Singh Glenn is a first generation Canadian who is in his fourth year of studies at York University majoring in social work with a minor in political science, with the intention of pursuing graduate studies. Glenn also has the distinction of being the first in his family to attend post secondary school. This is something he takes pride in. Identifying as a racialized male, social advocacy and equity are important to Glenn. Glenn identifies as a feminist and is passionate about animal rights. Tags: mature student; social work; first generation student; transfer student;student leadership; student involvement; commuter student; time management; student governance; mindset; being resourceful; privilege; energy management; forgiveness; self-care Connect with Glenn! LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/glennrsingh2020 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glennsinghjr Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/trini_glenny/ Recorded October, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
31:20
February 18, 2020
Althea Parala on Valuing Every Interaction, Race and Student Leadership
“My high school was predominantly white. There were a few pockets of racialized groups. I didn't realize it at the time [...] the microaggressions that we had experienced and how that affected the leadership opportunities that we were given...” - Althea Parala  In this episode, Althea Parala discusses three distinct and contrasting educational journeys. We begin with her past in a Catholic high school that was attached to a covenant, then we discuss how that compares with her self-affirming undergraduate student leadership experiences, and we end off with a discussion about her feelings of imposter syndrome (despite evident success) in her Masters in Higher Education, specializing in Student Development and Student Services. Currently, she works at York University focusing on peer mentorship programming. (When out of the office and school, Althea enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and eating her way through Toronto’s food scene, all while likely fighting the urge to book a flight to explore new cultures.) Get in touch with Althea: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/altheaparala/ Recorded November, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
53:46
February 11, 2020
Mujtaba Ahmed-Hassan on Racism, Self-Confidence and Making Social and Professional Connections
“I started to enjoy learning. I started to learn about (social) issues I didn’t know about. I started to see the world around me not just the superficial world I knew.” - Mujtaba Ahmed-Hassan In this episode, Mujtaba shares what it was like to be a cis African-Canadian male that grew up in challenging socio-economic circumstances. While he faced many difficult obstacles, he can confidently say he is living his best. In addition to serving as the senior don of an on-campus residence, he takes pride in being a student, friend, son, writer, creator, and more. Tags: stereotypes; economic hardship; family difficulties; racism; privilege; race; ethnicity; intersectionality; self-confidence; residence life; social work; competition; mastermind; network; mindset Get in touch with Mujtaba on Instagram: mujtaba5204 Recorded December, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
56:33
February 4, 2020
Jasmine Hector on Life as a Varsity Athlete, Time Management and Making Difficult Decisions
“Surround yourself with things that will push you further. And from a health perspective, ask yourself if you can do all these things and still be happy and wake up with energy in the morning without experiencing any kind of burnout.” - Jasmine Hector In this episode, Jasmine discusses her life as a varsity athlete and her transition to pursue another passion and career interest. Jasmine unpacks how she went about this change and the circumstances surrounding the difficult decision. This move ultimately brought her closer to the person she is becoming and had hoped to become. Tags: Varsity; athletics; family illness; first year transition; career development; health education and promotion; time management; energy management; self-care; self-discovery; health; recovery Get in touch with Jasmine on LinkedIn. Recorded November, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
52:28
January 28, 2020
Joy Panjaitan on Perfectionism, Family Pressures and Learning Beyond the Classroom
“I had to be honest with myself. I had to ask why perfectionism was so important to me.” - Joy Panjaitan In this episode Joy discusses the pleasures and challenges of being a creative student. She also unpacks some unexpected family events and internal pressures which led to her decision to extend learning beyond the classroom, to cultivate resilience, and to grow as a student, designer, and person. Get in touch with Joy LinkedIn:  linkedin.com/in/joysotera Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heyitsjoy Tags: design; specialization; general education; career development; third culture kid; work experience; year off; perfectionism; parental separation; counselling; career development Recorded November, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
36:59
January 21, 2020
Kabi Moulitharan on Overcoming a Difficult First Year and Focusing on Fulfillment
“Sometimes you need to shift focus. Write everything that makes you happy.” - Kabi Moulitharan In this episode, Kabi discusses his journey through student leadership. Currently the Team Lead of York’s RED Zone, he has led initiatives to assist incoming students with their transition to York. But wait until you hear about his own transition to University. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Listen to how he overcame his lowest points in University and what he learned from the journey. Get in touch with Kabi: Instagram or Twitter: @_Kabi23 LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/kabi-moulitharan-b7400819b?trk Tags: first year transition; fitting in; self-doubt; program change; student engagement; boundaries; self-care; fulfillment; student leader Recorded November, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
33:35
January 14, 2020
Carli Gardner on Mental Health, Disability and Mentorship
“It’s OK to struggle. I was so embarrassed by my past, but I think it makes you a stronger person to have had struggles.” - Carli Gardner In this episode Carli Gardner unpacks the challenges which influenced her before and during the process of finding the right “fit” for herself at university. Listen to learn what it was like for her to struggle with mental health & disability and how she became a passionate student leader who engages students of all ages and abilities. If you like this episode, please support by sharing it with someone else. Tags: transfer student; mental health; disability; program change; sense of connection; meditation; taking risks; student leadership Recorded October, 2019. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
53:11
January 7, 2020
Liam Bekirsky on Leadership Development and Overcoming Old Beliefs About Being a Student
In this episode, Liam shares his story of when he felt like he didn't fit in and that grades were the most important markers of success. This changed in University when he invested in bilingual co-curricular and curricular education which propelled him in new and ever-expanding personal, academic and professional directions. This episode is loaded with student success ‘hacks’! Liam talks about how he came out of his shell and his views on dealing with procrastination, time management, aligning co-curricular and academic lives, and making group work ‘work’. He also shared how his linguistic identities have influenced his identity development and so much more! Thank you, Liam! Recorded August, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
1:00:13
April 19, 2019
Haya Abu Mealek on her Refugee Experience and Queer Identity
In this episode, Haya shares her journey as a 3rd generation refugee woman and former accountant, who at the time of this recording, had just settled in Toronto and completed her first year in Gender and Women’s Studies. This episode is loaded with perspective! Haya talks about her coming out story as a queer woman in Canada, what her experience as a refugee taught her about life, the importance of feeling included on campus, integrating new and different academic and social cultures, and building relationships with peers and faculty members. She also shares insights about being productive, knowing one’s life purpose, taking care of one’s mental health, and so much more! Thank you, Haya! Recorded July 12, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
42:54
January 30, 2019
Angelo on Queer Identity, Student Leadership and Mental Health
In this episode, Angelo shares his journey as a queer man, immigrant to Canadian, student leader, and education student. This episode is loaded with critical thought and personal narrative! Angelo, talks about the connection between his academic interests and his personal views, navigating a mental health diagnosis and associated challenges, growing through extra- and co-curricular programs, having on-campus jobs, and developing professional skills. Angelo also shares insights about vulnerability, self-care, knowing one’s limits, seeing failure as a step towards success, and so much more! Thank you, Angelo! References made in the episode: peacebypeace.ca and voilalearning.com Recorded July 11, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel.   Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
40:19
January 30, 2019
Jennifer Chweiri on Being New to Canada, Developing Passion and Becoming a Leader
In this episode, Jennifer shares her experience as a multi-lingual and international francophone individual who moved to Toronto and developed a passion for learning, psychology, leadership and helping people. This episode is loaded with passion and inspiration! Jennifer talks about changing her academic interests, developing her identity as a leader, focusing on extra- and co-curricular impact, overcoming her shyness, and staying motivated and balanced. She also shares insights on fearing failure, procrastination, personal reflection, life purpose and so much more! Thank you, Jennifer!   Recorded on July 11, 2018.  Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
49:41
January 30, 2019
Diane Hoffmann on Being An Introverted Student Leader and Building Self-confidence
In this episode, Diane shares what it was like to be involved in student life and going on an international exchange program as a person who sees themselves as more reserved and introverted. Diane’s story is loaded with powerful reflections! Diane shares strategies for being involved, making friends, building self-confidence, seeing oneself as a leader, navigating the imposter syndrome, managing stress and combining academic and co-curricular interests to maximize learning opportunities. She also shares insight on developing self-awareness, self-acceptance, going beyond one’s comfort zone, and so much more! Thank you, Diane! Recorded on July 11, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
40:49
January 30, 2019
Austin Jafri on Overcoming Socio-economic Barriers and Finding Leadership
In this episode, Austin shares his inspiring story growing up without his biological parents through challenging socio-economic circumstances and becoming the first in his family to go to University. Austin’s drive is inspiring and his story raw! He talks about the challenges and triumphs of balancing extra- and co-curricular commitments, part-time work, academic demands, making connections, and mental/physical health. He also shares insights on inclusion, resilience, resentment, goal setting, gratitude, being yourself and so much more! Thank you, Austin! Recorded on July 5, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
44:00
January 30, 2019
Lys Jecrois on Dealing With Addiction and Finding Community as a Mature Student
In this episode, Lys shares her inspiring story as an out-of-province mature student who left her job after 8 years to dive into full-time studies at University. This episode is loaded with vulnerability. She talks about what it was like to find community among younger students, to adjust to new academic and financial challenges, to navigate an alcohol dependency, to practice self-care, and to develop new levels of self-awareness. She also shares a whole host of insights about student success! Thank you, Lys!  Recorded July 4, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
48:28
January 30, 2019
Nadia on Finding Her Academic Passion and Developing Self-Awareness
In this episode, Nadia shares her story growing up as a multi-lingual individual who was eventually drawn to the field of academia, specifically to study linguistics. This episode is loaded with insights! Nadia shares how much her time in University influenced her appreciation for empathy, curiosity, relationships, mentorship, authenticity, lifelong learning, saying “no”, and having love for what you do. She also shares how she deals with instability, stress, self-doubt, perfectionist tendencies and so much more! Thank you, Nadia! Recorded July 3, 2018. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by musician Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
43:00
January 30, 2019
Gelila Mekonnen on Being a First Generation University Student
In this first episode, Gelila shares her story growing up with a single mother and as the first in her family to attend university. This episode is a fantastic kick-off to the Student Success Exchange! Gelila talks about learning to think more critically about the world, finding and building community through involvement in student life, and being a person of colour in the post-secondary system. She also shares insights on navigating unexpected challenges, surrounding herself with support and role models, and so much more! Thank you, Gelila! Connect with Gelila on: LinkedIn | Twitter: @gellilla | Instagram: @heytheregelilah Recorded November 2017. Hosted by David Ip Yam. Music by Jose Miguel. Disclaimer: This podcast does not endorse statements made by guests. This podcast is not endorsed by any organization. Views expressed on this podcast are opinions of the speakers only. If you think you need support regarding mental health, addictions and well-being, please consult a professional and/or a helpline like Good2Talk.
43:54
January 2, 2019