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Some students struggling with academic calendar changes

Tempers may have cooled since the conclusion of the strike, but many issues still linger as students pick up the pieces of their education.

Faculty councilors for Law, Nursing, and Engineering say their students were hit hard by the three-week break, leaving them struggling to meet graduation and work deadlines.

As of last Friday, the revised academic calendar, omitting the March reading week, has been finalized in the Senate. The Student Union’s faculty councilors, however, still have concerns that their students’ term might be irreparably affected.

Oliver Gorman-Asal, Law councilor, said that some of his students’ schedules will be nearly impossible to manage.

“Some students have interviews or meetings they’ve committed to across the country that are scheduled for reading week,” Gorman-Asal said. “At the same time, we have a huge proportion of our students that need to start work on the first of May or they might not get called to the bar on time.”

For graduating nursing students, who watched their limited number of clinical training hours slip away day by day, there is now a glimmer of hope. Their term has been extended by a month, giving them the opportunity to write their June exam. But to James Smith, President of the UNB Nursing Undergraduate Society, this compromise comes with a price.

“We are required to pay an extra month’s rent in some cases, and left with about 3 weeks less to prepare for the CRNE exam – only one week to study,” Smith said. ”But I feel that this is the best way for the term to be salvaged.”

Laura Carr, the nursing faculty councillor, said her students are disappointed with how their education was bartered with during the strike.

”I get the sense that both sides of the bargaining table did not understand the full negative impact that affected the UNB Nursing students,” she said. “They chose to ignore options that may have ensured some stability with our future.”

As for the engineering faculty, councilors say that they’re just satisfied to get on with their education. While many students considered withdrawing during the strike, that was never an option for engineers.

”Our courses are so specific to our degree, it would be hard for upper year students to change schools because we’re a professional program,” said Elizabeth Calvin, engineering councilor.

“Most of our courses are prerequisites for the next semester, which makes transferring courses hard because other schools may not have the same eight-term setup.”

Fellow engineering councilor Kelsey Morrissey said she’s just happy classes are back in.

“I have no negative feelings towards either party,” she said. “It was a difficult situation for everyone involved. At this point I’m just happy to be back in class and able to continue to work towards my degree.”

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