Jaria Aljoe

Navigating Academic and Social Transitions

Happy Fall Semester Start!
I’m new here, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jaria Aljoe, and I have the privilege of serving as the Assistant Provost for Student Management. I work with other service departments such as the Heckman Center, Student Financial Services, and registrars, as well as faculty and staff to help students become the best possible versions of themselves. The last year or so has not been easy for many of us for a number of reasons. More specifically, the major changes and transitions in the UB community may have left many of you feeling a number of emotions: anger, fear, exasperation for some — hope and optimism for others.

If you are like me, change can be incredibly challenging. While the changes we have faced over the last year and a half may look and feel different to us, I think we can agree a break from the constant change is needed. As we prepare to continue, or for some of you to begin, your post-secondary educational journey, I would like to share some tips on navigating academic and social transitions.

We Need Each Other
As cliché as it sounds, the statement “we need each other” is incredibly true, especially when navigating academic and social transitions.  Part of my role is overseeing the amazing work at the Heckman Center, including academic advising, career services, civic engagement, student leadership, student support services, and tutoring and learning. All of these areas are designed to support your academic and social success at UB. You don’t need to figure out how to navigate these changes on your own: there are so many people in the Heckman Center and throughout the UB community who are rooting for you to succeed! We are here to help support you, but we cannot offer assistance if we do not know there is a problem. When you face difficulties that might hinder your academic and/or social success, make sure you communicate early and often with your faculty, advisor, or someone you trust in the UB community before the problem becomes too big.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
When working with a therapist about a year ago, one of the things I found most comforting was her telling me, “It’s okay to not be okay.” As the eldest child in my family and the first person in my household to complete a graduate degree, I thought I had to be mentally and emotionally strong at all times. Allow me to remind you, it’s okay to not be okay! There are plenty of challenges outside of school that can make it difficult to juggle academics, social life, romantic life, work, and so much more. The important thing is to recognize when you are not feeling your best mentally and to make sure you seek healthy emotional support. Check out our counseling services and all the great resources they have to offer.

Look to the Future
Transition means to change from one thing to something else. The middle of the transition can feel incredibly uncomfortable. You’ve got your support system, you are taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally, and now it is time to look toward the future. In the middle of a transition, it may be difficult to remember why you started school in the first place. At those moments when you feel like just giving up and walking away, I need you to remember why you started your educational journey. Celebrate every single accomplishment on the way to finishing your degree. Did you pass an exam? Celebrate! Do really well on an oral presentation? Celebrate! Made a new friend? Celebrate! Got offered an internship in your field of study? Celebrate! It may seem silly to constantly celebrate these “small” accomplishments, but every small celebration is a boost of motivation on this journey.

Wishing you great success,

Jaria C. Aljoe, Ed.D.
Assistant Provost for Student Management