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Your Health and Wellness (and How OsgoodePD Can Help!)

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We know what it’s like to feel busy and overwhelmed. Students in the Professional LLM are often mid-career professionals with numerous demands on their time and attention, both in the program and outside of it. At Osgoode Professional Development, we offer many services to support students’ success, including wellness counselling and leaves of absence.

Why Wellness Counselling Is Important

It’s a common misconception that counselling support should only be utilized in moments of crisis. On the contrary, it can be useful to address situations and feelings that are common to us all, including:

  • Adjusting to Canadian academic and workplace culture
  • Culture shock, homesickness, and loneliness
  • Feelings of frustration, anxiety, isolation, sadness, depressive symptomatology, infective coping, anger, and confusion that often occur when a person is adjusting to new culture
  • Ineffective coping including addictions
  • Feelings of worry, insomnia, family problems, loss of loved one, uneasiness, fears, apprehensions, blue moods
  • Exam and paper-related anxiety
  • Self-consciousness in social or academic settings
  • Distorted and negative self-perception about physical appearance or academic aptitudes
  • Impairments/disabilities such as ADD/ADHD

What Wellness Counselling Looks Like at OsgoodePD

iva_keighley_resized_2Our Wellness Counsellor, Iva Keighley, brings a unique perspective as a former practicing lawyer turned counsellor and therapist. Iva meets with students for a myriad of reasons (see above). Today, she shares her story with us so you have the benefit of knowing who is at the ready to assist you, and how her skills and experiences shape her support.

From Lawyer to Therapist – Learn More About Iva’s Journey

I graduated law school in 1995 (University of Belgrade) and started articling with a firm in the city of Belgrade whose practice was primarily focused on private international law in the area of probate law and international estates. I stayed with the firm until September 1, 1998 when I came to Canada to be with my maternal grandparents.

Shortly after my arrival, I connected with the law firm I knew from Belgrade and started volunteering for an immigration and criminal lawyer who eventually offered me a job to work as his legal assistant. It was a great experience that gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the Canadian legal system.

At the time, there were no NCA “bridging programs” for internationally-trained lawyers, and I realized that I needed to pursue an alternative career. I wanted a career that would allow me to help people in a different capacity while staying connected to the legal profession (specifically the personal injury legal area that has always fascinated me). That decision brought me to where I am today. I work with law students at Osgoode and I provide post-injuries vocational evaluation services for law firms.

Having a legal background frequently comes into play in my work as a Wellness Counsellor at Osgoode. Students appreciate the fact that I was in their shoes, that I understand the demands of legal education and pressures related to managing one’s career/personal life while in law school. In my current work, I am pragmatic and solution-oriented. I believe my previous legal training has positively influenced my current approach when assisting clients overcome their personal and academic struggles.

Osgoode Hall Law School - view of atrium inside library

Leaves of Absence

We understand that life can get hectic and that you may need to step back from your degree for a while. Students may request a leave of absence for up to two terms at a time with no tuition payments due. Refresh, recharge, and restart your LLM when you’re ready – just be sure to have a conversation with your Program Assistant to ensure that you won’t miss any essential coursework while you’re away.

How to Manage Your Own Self-Care

Be aware and be proactive. Acknowledge your problems and ask for help. Many students do not seek support due to cultural or personal beliefs, including the fear of being judged as weak.

If you share these beliefs, I am inviting you to reconsider them and seek support when you need it as you do not need to suffer in silence. Asking for help will never be considered a weakness.

– Iva Keighley, Student Success & Wellness Counsellor, Osgoode Professional Development

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At OsgoodePD, we believe in student support and encourage you to make use of the resources we have on offer. We see you, we recognize your needs, and we are ready to assist you in whatever way we can!

If you’re looking to learn more about the LLM and how it can serve both your personal and professional goals, consider registering for an info session. Have an application in progress? Login to continue your application. Applications for the Fall 2021 intake for Osgoode’s Professional LLM close May 1, 2021.


CATHIE GEORGE is a Recruitment Coordinator of the Professional Graduate & International Programs at Osgoode Professional Development.

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