Your first few weeks at university can feel quite lonely, especially since you’re leaving friends, family and all your usual comforts behind when moving away. Don’t fear though, as your university is there to help you adjust to life at university.
You may face different issues where you’ll need some expert help or guidance. Universities have a massive chain of support that you can go to for help for both academic and non-academic issues. Your university is not just concerned with your academic studies but also your well-being. Universities want their students to have an enjoyable time at uni and to be able to make the most of it.
Here is a list of some the support universities have to offer:
- Personal tutor - Your tutor is someone from within your department and you may even have a lecture with them at some point during your degree. They are there to sort out any issues you have regarding your course. You’ll have tutorials with them each semester to chat about how you’re coping with the course and work load, talk about exam grades, revision and time management as well as discussing the courses you want to study in the following year. They are there to guide you and give advice.
- Halls of residence support - If you live in student accommodation, you’ll also have a friendly face - often a final year student - who lives in your accommodation block to go to if you have any housing related problems.
- Peer-to-peer mentoring - Some universities also offer a buddy scheme. You’ll be paired up with someone on your degree or someone within the same department who’s recently been in your shoes who can offer you support and advice about things.
- Teachers / lecturers - If you have a course related problem - falling behind with the reading, unsure of how to tackle an essay question or are stuck on a specific part of the course - then speak to your lecturer. They will have weekly slots (‘office hours’) where you can meet with them and discuss your problems in private and be given some one-to-one hints, advice and guidance. Both students and lecturers are often pushed for time at the end of a lecture or seminar so it might be a good idea to drop them an email to arrange a time to see them. They want to help you, so don't be scared to talk to them.
- International support - If you’re an international student studying in the UK there’s a service dedicated to your needs. Contact your university’s International Office to find out what support system is in place for you.
- Student health service - Most universities have a GP centre just for students and lecturers - offering all the normal GP services. Make sure you also register with a local GP when you move to uni.
- Student counselling - There is also a counselling service for students. The move to uni can be really stressful and can affect students in all sorts of ways. It’s great to talk to someone especially as difficulties can occur at any point during your time at university. It’s important to know where you can turn to for help, don’t try and cope on your own.
- Nightline - Most universities offer a nightline service which is often run by trained students. Here you can talk in confidence to someone of a similar age about any problem, no matter how trivial it may seem. Remember: student nightline listens, it does not lecture!
- Multifaith chaplaincy - Universities are diverse places and there are opportunities to attend worships and prayers for students regardless of belief or background. Check out your university's website for information on places of worship on campus.
- Safety and security - Your university will ensure that students feel secure when on campus so there are a variety of safety measures imposed by each uni to achieve this. Most universities have a security team who are visibly seen around campus and are first aid trained.
There may be additional support network strands available at your university that we haven't mentioned here, so make sure you check out your uni's prospectus or website for all the relevant information.