MCCC’s New Live Webinar Series Offers Personal Support and Primes Students for Success


West Windsor – The abrupt transition from physical campus to virtual learning has much of the Mercer community feeling oddly alone and looking for answers. In its ongoing effort to support and engage students during this time of change, the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) student support area hopes to ease the transition with a new live webinar series to launch this week. 

The new series is fully staffed with live counsellors, advisors and Success Coaches from the West Windsor and James Kerney campuses and was put together as a collaborative effort among Enrollment Services, the Counselling Department, the Center for Retention and Completion and the Educational Opportunity Fund. The program consists of a month-long offering of topics focusing on subjects such as academic support, time management and study skills while underscoring the mindfulness and anxiety associated with the current pandemic. The series has no official name but could very well be called “We Are Here for You.” According to Senior Counselor Specialist Tricia Mayers, students are encouraged to participate as are faculty and administrators or anyone else in the MCCC community looking for guidance, reassurance and camaraderie. “These are tools not just for students, but for us as human beings,” Mayers said.

Prior to the novel coronavirus health crisis, face-to-face meetings were the primary method of meeting with students. “This is a new way to connect with the Mercer community,” said Mayers. “The webinars have been created in response to what is occurring right now.”

Mayers explained that even though the students aren’t physically on campus, there is a whole virtual world out there with living and breathing professionals waiting and wanting to help. “We wanted to make sure the students didn’t feel that we weren’t here to connect with them. Using the technical resources we have on hand, we created these webinars so they can be informed, educated and connected,” said Mayers.

The webinars are live events that the MCCC community can join using the Zoom interface. By clicking on the link, the participant will get a passcode and enter a virtual room where the webinar takes place. Student participants can choose to have cameras turned on so they can be viewed in small boxes during the webinar. Participants may ask questions and interact with the facilitator/Success Coach throughout the webinar. There is also a chat room where students can have discussions or ask questions privately. 

Mayers explained how the webinar experience will allow students who may feel isolated and lost to actually connect with other students in the same situation. Mayers said, “We will be touching on events that are happening on a daily basis. We wanted to be there for the students.”

The webinars were created in response to the extraordinary circumstances in which we are all living. Mayers described that a typical scenario may be a student who has family members affected by the virus and/or he or she may be lost in a 24-hour day ‘looking at four walls’ trying to figure out how to negotiate time between family, life stressors and studying. “Some students are accustomed to going to the library and have never done a virtual seminar,” said Mayers. “For some students, this will be a herculean change.” 

The webinars will each be repeated twice throughout the month with live facilitators. There will be recordings of previous webinars for those students who may have missed the live interface. New webinars could be available during the months ahead.

Flexibility with timing is important. “Certain students may not be thinking about studying for finals at the time that a live webinar takes place,” said Mayers. “But two weeks from now the student may suddenly think ‘I really have to get this together’ -- we are still here when that reality sets in.”

After the webinars, students have more opportunities to ask questions and, if necessary, connect via email or phone or student portal to set up an appointment to discuss things further privately with a counselor.

Mayers said that in the current environment the most prevalent question posed by students is when is this going to be over, when will things get back to normal so they can get back on campus. Mayers finds herself battling with the same questions. The guidance she can provide to students or anyone who may find themselves feeling anxiety and uncertainty right now is to remember a simple phrase: “My determination must outweigh my present situation.”

Mayers said that by being determined and focused on things you can control students can gain the momentum needed to keep going. “Our goal is to teach skills such as time management and effective study habits to develop the focus and therefore the determination and confidence to navigate through the unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable,” said Mayers. 

She continued, “Be determined to grow and learn new things about yourself and to try to be a better person than you were before. Do not leave everything to coincidence. And remember, you are not alone. Mercer is really here for you. We are here.”

Webinars are available via computer or smart phone. Downloading software is not required. The first live webinar entitled “Is it going to get better? I’m in the dumps, where am I going?” will launch on Monday, April 6. Six additional topics will be covered. The schedule for the month of April includes:

• “Study Habits for Virtual Learning” on Tuesday, April 7 at noon
• “Blackboard Basics for Students” on Tuesday April 7 at 1 p.m.
• “Relationships and Stress” on Monday, April 13  at 10 a.m.
• “SMART Goals Will Get You There” on Monday April 13 at 1 p.m.
• “Is It Going to Get Better? I’m In the Dumps, Where Am I Going?” on Monday, April 22 at 1 p.m.
• “Time Management” on Wednesday, April 15 at noon
• “What Can I Do? What Can I Control? I’m Stressed” on Monday, April 27 at noon

For a complete listing of webinars including dates, times and links, please go to the Student Support Webpage at and scroll down to “Virtual Student Support Webinars.”

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Michael Geisert, student support clinician for Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) West Windsor campus and James Kerney campus hosts the Student Support Webinar entitled “What Can I Do? What Can I Control? I’m Stressed” on April 6. This webinar is the first in a series of webinars that offers MCCC students, faculty and administrators live access to counsellors, advisors and Success Coaches throughout the month of April. The webinars focus on academic support, time management and study skills while underscoring the mindfulness and anxiety associated with the current health crisis.