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25 years

Piles of handbooks, tons of information to memorize, exam stress, and as if this was not enough, the pandemic hits and disorganizes normal life and learning. Students graduating secondary school in 2021 had to face more than their fair share of challenges. To lend a helping hand, SWPS University developed a unique online course “Matura 2021”, preparing students for their secondary school leaving exams. From September 2020 and June 2021, our experts were helping student through all phases of the preparations for their high school finals and getting ready for university studies. However, the course did not cover any school subjects, such as math, biology or geography. Instead, we focused on methods, tools, and techniques conducive to learning, such as study planning, time management, and coping with stress and various emotions.

Problem

Secondary school finals are not just about studying

Passing high school final exams successfully requires more than just learning what is included in the core curriculum. Students must also manage their time, use techniques supporting effective learning and concentration, and be able to cope with stress and fluctuating emotions. Unfortunately, these competencies usually are not part of the school curriculum. There are no classes on memorizing techniques, time management and study planning. Schools do not teach children and teenagers about emotions, and how to cope with them in a healthy way. In the core curriculum, there is no information on crucial matters, such as mental health, coping with stress, and taking care of one’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

Over the past year, the pandemic has been an added stress factor, which has disorganized everyone’s lives, and impacted the whole teaching and learning process. Students had to review large parts of material on their own. Moreover, online learning was not conducive to concentration during classes. Isolation, fear and uncertainty, resulting from the pandemic, have strained psychological resources of young people.

Solution

Matura 2021 - online course helping students prepare for secondary school finals

To fulfill the unmet student needs, SWPS University developed a ten-month online course to support young people in the significant moment of their lives – the time of taking final high school exams and choosing a university and a program of study.

Przemysław Staroń, psychologist, winner of the national 2018 Teacher of the Year award, and top 50 nominee for the 2020 Global Teacher Prize, who specializes in education and working with young people, was the leading expert on this initiative. Michalina Mruczyk was the co-creator of the course. She also hosted the online meetings. Additionally, over the months, students had an opportunity to meet: Sławomir Prusakowski – business psychologist, Marta Młyńska – psychologist and educator, Dr. Agnieszka Mościcka-Teske – psychologist and psychotherapist, and Professor Adam Bodnar - lawyer and Poland’s Commissionaire for Human Rights.

Over the months, during online live meetings, experts from SWPS University have been helping students to:

  • make decisions related to their post-secondary education
  • choose best universities and study programs aligned with students’ predispositions and interests
  • use effective time management techniques
  • apply effective learning and memorizing techniques
  • cope with stress and difficult emotions
  • take care of oneself and one’s wellbeing during the difficult time of the pandemic.

For us, every online meeting provided an opportunity for meeting young people, talking with them, and answering their questions on issues that mattered to them. Over 8,000 high school students participated in the course.

Why?

We think it is our responsibility to support children and youth

For over twenty years, SWPS University has been providing a space where young people can find answers to different problems inherent in adolescence, and where they can develop their interests, and acquire new competencies. We support young people in their personal and professional development. We also help them build valuable relationships with their peers, teachers, and parents – always ensuring that they feel safe and understood.

Every year prior to the pandemic, our lecturers would meet with secondary school students during hundreds of meetings per year organized in collaboration with SWPS University. We traveled to classrooms and auditoriums across the country. We invited students to visit our campuses. While carefully listening to what they had to say about their interests and fears, we shared with them professional knowledge and experience.

Przemysław Staroń

Przemysław Staroń

is a psychologist, co-creator and the leading expert of the “Matura 2021” course, winner of the national 2018 Teacher of the Year award, and top 50 nominee for the 2020 Global Teacher Prize. He is a teacher, trainer and a lecturer at SWPS University. Przemysław Staroń was recognized by the European Commission for establishing the Order of the Phoenix, an organization inspired by the Harry Potter books, focused on building cross-generational ties between young people and seniors in local communities. Over the years, he tutored over 50 students participating in annual national philosophy competitions. He is a founder of #utrzy, a space for creative teaching in a high school in Sopot, and has been called Professor Snap by his students. Przemysław is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Irena Sendler award for “Fixing the World”, the 2019 Polish Business LGBT+ Diamond Award, and the Person of the Year Award for “excellent behavior”, bestowed by Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish national daily newspaper. He specializes in working with teenagers, adults and senior citizens. He coordinates and co-develops multi-generational projects as well as projects supporting development of youth, unemployed, disabled and inmates. He also provides creativity training sessions and consultations for business.

258 michalina mruczyk

Michalina Mruczyk

is a psychologist, educator, and co-creator of the “Matura 2021” online course. As a psychologist she works at the Spark Academy, supporting primary and secondary school students. She graduated from SWPS University with a degree in clinical psychology. Her previous collaborations with SWPS University included running workshops for teenagers. She volunteered at the Psyche Soma Polis Association, an organization that promotes healthy lifestyle and supports people suffering form chronic diseases and mental disorders. Her interest in psychology is rooted in the need to better understand other people. She is not afraid of any challenges. In her spare time she travels, reads, exercises, cooks, and volunteers.

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