Making the transition from school to university can be very daunting. But the University of York ensures that there are lots of different student support networks in place for students. I was initially quite anxious about moving away from home and living independently for the first time. But within the first couple of weeks, I really felt at home in York. This was partly due to the wide range of support available which can be accessed at any point during your time at university and can really help if, for any reason, you start to struggle.
The Student Hub is where you will find the student support and advice team. They can offer help and advice for a wide range of different areas of student life such as finance, housing, academic progress and underrepresentation. You can book appointments or attend drop-in sessions. The staff are friendly and can be really helpful in resolving any problems that you may encounter at university! If you feel like you need additional financial support, then I would definitely recommend looking at the bursaries and scholarships that York offers.
You will be allocated an academic supervisor when you start university. They will remain your supervisor for the duration of your degree and are a great point of contact for any academic-related issues that you may be having. It is recommended that you meet with them twice a term to talk about how you are progressing but you can also book into their office hours at any point to discuss how the course is going and any potential issues that you may be having.
As a member of the department, they will know the structure and content of your course and are able to give advice. If they can’t help directly, then they should be to signpost you in the right direction and may check up on how you are doing in your next meeting. I’ve found these meetings to be really helpful and reassuring – especially during my first year when I was just settling in! If you have specific questions about module content then emailing your other lecturers can also be beneficial. I’ve found that they are always more than happy to discuss their module and to give assignment tips.
Open Door is a service designed to help students who are experiencing mental health issues. The team is made up of both mental health practitioners and student wellbeing officers so they can offer professional support. A few of my friends have used Open Door and found the service to be really beneficial.
Togetherall is a 24/7 online service that allows students to gain peer-to-peer mental health and wellbeing support with professionals also being on hand. Whilst on the platform, students are anonymous to other users which creates a safe online space for students to talk to and share feelings with others who are going through similar situations. They also have plenty of resources to help those who don’t feel comfortable sharing. The service is free to University of York students.
Second and Third Year Contacts (STYC)
During Freshers’ Week, you will be allocated STYCs. They will help you move in, answer any questions you might have, and show you around the city during Freshers’ Week events. STYCs are second and third year volunteers who are there to help you settle in. I found mine to be friendly and lots of fun, which also made getting along with my new housemates a lot easier. I thought that they were so useful that I volunteered to be a STYC during my second year.
Second and Third Year Mentors (STYM) and College Tutors
STYMs, unlike STYCs, are there to support you throughout the year. They are great to chat to if you want a current student’s perspective about anything or need signposting to additional support. They are there for you to contact as much as you like and as students themselves, are easy to talk to and may share many of your experiences.
You will also be assigned a college tutor to help you settle in. Tutors are another friendly face with who you can ask any questions that you might have. They are key college members and help to organise college events. This makes them a great point of contact for any accommodation or college-related problems.
York nightline is a confidential and anonymous listening service run by students for students. The service is open to emails, phone calls, instant messages and visits. As a listening service, they are great if you want a chat about anything on your mind – big or small. The organisation is confidential, meaning that anything discussed will not be shared. They are non-judgmental, non-directive and non-assumptive. So they do not offer advice but are able to provide information and a listening ear. They also offer free sexual health and sanitary supplies to all students.
Nightsafe is a student group whose volunteers help support students during Students’ Union (YUSU) club nights and other events. They patrol the city centre or event venue offering help and de-escalating any potential conflicts. They are trained in first aid, mental health aid, conflict management, river safety, safeguarding, and homelessness. I’ve seen them on lots of nights out handing out water and their presence makes York feel even safer!
Throughout my time here at York, I have always felt confident knowing that there are multiple, well-established support networks in place. When the unexpected has happened or I’ve felt myself start to struggle, I’ve found that there is always a friendly face to talk to and offer advice. This has greatly improved my student experience!
Read more student blogs about support at York