There’s no sugarcoating it: sometimes life at university can get tough.
From workload to homesickness, it’s no surprise that some students can find themselves in need of some sort of support during their time at university. The student mental health crisis in the UK is becoming more and more apparent, and an increasing number of students are beginning to speak out about their own difficulties whilst studying at university.
Support at York
If at any point during your time at York you should find yourself feeling concerned, you don’t need to worry. There’s no need to face them alone.
At the University of York, staff are dedicated to helping and supporting students to the best of their ability. The vast majority of course tutors are able to offer some level of pastoral care. They help students with any worries they might have regarding their course. Or can effectively redirect you to the right place for help.
There are also different levels of dedicated student support, from College Tutors to the wonderful Open Door and Disability team. They work with students struggling with mental health difficulties and/or have disabilities that require additional support.
Find out more about support services at York.
Although I cannot speak for every student, I can tell you about my own experience with support and wellbeing at the University.
As a student that has had my fair share of mental health difficulties, as well as being Hard of Hearing (HoH), my access to the University’s support and help systems has been invaluable. It’s been an essential part of my university experience.
Having lived with my family at home for most of my life, coming to university was a new and, at first, somewhat intimidating experience for me. I have always been somewhat of an introvert and was never great at connecting with new people. So, needless to say, I had a reasonable level of concern about what life was going to be like living in halls so far from my family. Even though my family were still only under an hour away, the idea of living ‘alone’ away from home was still an intimidating one. How did I make friends? What if I couldn’t fit in? How do I ‘adult’?
Settling in, or not
My first fortnight or so at university was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. I was never a huge fan of clubbing, like a lot of people in my flat were. Being HoH and sensitive to overcrowded and loud environments, it was never really too appealing to me. I often felt like a little bit of an outcast compared to the others and struggled to make friends that I could relate to. Although my flatmates were nice and never excluded me, I never felt like I quite ‘clicked’ with them. This became especially apparent after I turned down their invitations to go out and club during Freshers’ Week. I found myself wandering around campus at nearly 10 pm in the rain and cold, feeling rejected and alone.
The turning point
This is when I had my first experience with pastoral support. A College Tutor from the Goodricke Nucleus (my college hub) found me outside and brought me inside the Wellbeing Hub. They sat me down and spoke to me. It was the first time since I had arrived that someone had actually listened to my concerns and began to help me work through them. When I left the Wellbeing Hub about an hour later, I found myself wondering why I had gotten so upset in the first place. The Tutor had also pointed me in the direction of a number of sources of support should I need it again. It was the calmest and most reassured I’d felt since I’d arrived.
Of course, this wasn’t the only time I accessed support during my time at University. Even now, in the latter half of my second year studying here, I still access a number of support systems at university. My advisor continues to check in on me. Plus, this year, after raising concerns about my ability to hear the invigilator in a large room due to my partial deafness, both the Open Door Team and the Disability Officer for Law have helped me access special measures and arrangements for exams.
Overall, whilst my experience is only one among thousands of students at York, I am thoroughly grateful for the support I have received during my time at York. They have made my experience as a student so much easier, accessible and of a much better quality overall.
Read more blogs about student support at York