By Chloe, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing.
Student Chloe, talks about what inspired her to run 27 miles in March for the charity, Mind. She shares how this has helped her to become more aware of her own mental health and how she hopes to inspire other students to talk about mental health and find their own coping strategies. Keep reading to find out more.
Deciding on what to do and whether to do postgraduate study can be difficult for anyone. It’s a big step. To provide some perspective on postgraduate courses, I am writing my experience of this and hopefully will give you some help and ideas about what you could do for your postgraduate study.
Life is a bit strange at the moment. Things have been changing very quickly recently. It’s an adjustment for all of us, but don’t worry if you’re finding this a lot to process. It’s normal to be feeling scared, anxious or apprehensive, as there is a lot going on in the world and it can feel overwhelming.
But all this isn’t necessarily happening for the worst. It’s important that as many people as possible can stay healthy and safe, but there are positives to gain. The most comforting feeling through all this is that we are in it together. Society is gaining a sense of community and togetherness, (the weekly clap for the NHS is so heart-warming) and this is just the start of us seeing the beauty in a very hard time.
Learning how to control fear and anxiety is crucial and it is important to remember that no amount of fear or worry will help or change aspects of the universe that are out of your control. A time like this makes me realise what I took for granted in my life before, and will therefore make me more appreciative of afterwards. And I feel very grateful for having the chance to realise this.
Life for the foreseeable future may be very unusual and uncertain. Nevertheless, these are my tips for staying happy and healthy during lockdown.
Keep some structure and routine to your daily life
For me this starts with a good sleep routine. Whether it’s trying to wake up early to make the most of my day, or pushing myself to go to bed earlier to get a longer, better-quality sleep. I like to start the day with making herbal teas, tidying my flat, doing some yoga and taking time to make a delicious breakfast. I’d also recommend getting dressed every day, even though you won’t be going anywhere! Getting ready in the morning whether that means just getting dressed or putting makeup on, makes me feel more productive and good about myself.
Limit your time on social media and reading the news
The news will more often than not focus on the negatives of what’s going on in the world and it can feel overwhelming. I began to get hooked on reading statistics, yet I found I was a lot happier when I checked the news less. It is still important to be aware of what is going on in the world, but limit yourself to only checking the news as frequently as what works for you, without making you fearful.
Document how you’re feeling
This is a significant global event that we are living through. Writing down your day to day life and keeping some sort of diary of what you have been up to, can do wonders to making you feel a whole lot better. Especially if you are struggling. Find what works for you best, whether it be writing, vlogging or something different. Try different times of the day – I find that writing just before I go to bed really helps me wind down and clear my mind.
Try and focus on the positive things
This crisis is helping me learn new things about life, such as what I took for granted in life before and what I will appreciate more when it’s over. Life is on pause so take this time to reflect and take a step back. Think about where you are in life, what you want in life, what you want to do more of and what you don’t do enough of. Make a plan for when life returns back to ‘normal’.
Learn something new
Learn an instrument. Learn how to do the splits. Learn how to curl your hair or do the perfect eyeliner look. It could be anything! Take this time to do all the things you always wanted to do, but ‘never had the time’ for. I’m learning yoga at the moment which has been great for keeping up my fitness whilst staying indoors and its helping me with mindfulness and meditation.Whatever you do focus on your health and make self care your top priority.
Go for a walk or exercise
No matter what your reason for leaving the house, remember to stay safe and follow the government guidelines. If you can safely enjoy a few minutes outside however, whether it’s to go on a run or a walk then do. Sometimes a bit of fresh air and sunshine can do wonders.
I hope some of these tips and ideas help you to stay happy and healthy in this peculiar time. If you need more support, UWE Bristol has many health and wellbeing services that operate online and are there to help you.
The process of writing an application can be daunting, but it’s all about seeking opportunities which will develop your skillset and enhance your CV. Thinking about jobs is often scary, but it is important to gain experience which sets you apart from future candidates. Remember – you don’t need to know what you are going to be doing in ten years’ time, just arm yourself with experience and skills to widen your opportunities later on.
During my time at UWE Bristol I’ve worked as a Student Ambassador, volunteered for a charity and recently started working as a Student Content Coordinator. For all of these, I’ve had to complete an application to be shortlisted and it got me thinking, what makes a good job application?
I’ve rounded up the top tips which have helped me in the past that I hope will help you with your next application too!
Decide where and what to search for
Since studying at UWE Bristol, I found the UWE Job Shop and Infohub Vacancies valuable tools when trying to find volunteering and work experience opportunities. The site offers a range of vacancies which will enhance your knowledge and employability. I found a volunteering vacancy as a Social Media Coordinator at Sue Ryder, which allowed me to explore an area I had little experience in, but always wanted to try. I discovered that the position held more responsibilities than I had anticipated but led me down more avenues to explore.
But what if you don’t know what to apply for?
Identify your skills to you find the right role for you
If you identify what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, you will discover an umbrella of paths to explore. By researching these key skills, you will find out what job titles surround your interest and abilities – which will create a direction for your job hunt.
Once you’ve found an opportunity try to understand the role
Once you find a role which interests you, ensure you understand what the advert is asking of you. Are there particular skills or qualities the job requires?
Make a list
of what the job requires and make a list of examples of when/how you have done
this. Source key skills you have exercised on your degree, for example, communication,
team work and time management. By doing this you will uncover core transferable
skills which are crucial for all jobs. Never under estimate the experience
and qualities you have, as everything you do holds significant value.
Learn about the company you are applying to
When completing an application, it is important that you show a level of understanding and knowledge of the establishment you are applying to. What do you like about the company?
Showing that you have an interest and an awareness of the company will demonstrate initiative and engagement, which counts for a lot!
Remember, there is no harm in trying and there is nothing to lose when applying to jobs. Even if you don’t get the role, it’s all good experience so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities and keep working towards your end goal.
Support is something we all need from time to time. UWE Bristol has provided me with a range of support both when I was struggling academically and adapting to university life. I found support from all angles, from academic support to personal support, I have used PAL, tutors, student advisors, info and visa hub as well as the career advisors.
Moving away from home
Moving to a new place where everything is new, can be quite overwhelming. That’s why the more support you get the better your experience will be. In whatever area you might need help, there will be a support system available for you because UWE Bristol knows how stressful it can be at times with these big changes.
Here are a few aids I have used in the past, and will continue using when I need it:
Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)
This is a scheme where students from the year above help the newer students. For example, they will provide you with tips on how to cope with the work load but still have fun. They can try explaining some topics in a simpler way than lectures to give you a better understanding. PAL helped me from the beginning to the end of the year as it gave me a student perspective on the work load. I was then able to divide and conquer, and created myself a successful schedule. They also gave great tips based on the mistakes they had made. This really helps you settle in as you can ask them where things are or the questions you wouldn’t want to ask your lecturers. You can almost say they are like your academic lifeline.
“You could say that the PAL team are like your academic lifeline. “
I personally think that tutors were and are the best academic support for me. This is because they know your course, can give you advice on how to improve but also assist you on things like your coursework or exam preparation. Plus, they will know who to contact, if you need extra help and more.
My email account once got hacked right before my three main coursework assignment deadlines. Because of this I had to deactivate and block my account. However, this meant I still couldn’t login and that caused me to panic. I contacted the info hub who then contacted IT and within one visit they got the hacker completely out of my account, helped me resubmit my courseworks and taught me how to prevent this happening again. I couldn’t be more happy once I left the IT offices.
I have used many of the support services and resources throughout my time at UWE Bristol and I plan to continue using them because they are so good and are there for us!
“I am so glad to have chosen UWE Bristol. ”
They have helped me so much, through various situations and I felt like my transition from sixth form to university went much smoother because of it. I am so glad to have chosen UWE Bristol.
Moving away from home to start university is an exciting experience. Everyone is ready to make friends, join societies, meet new flat mates and learn as much as possible, to make the most out of this new stage. However, some of us can find it a bit more challenging, but asking for help when we need it is always the right option.
What support is on offer?
At UWE Bristol, student mental health and well-being is considered a priority. Because of this there are a great variety of support options available. They can work face to face, online, or even over the phone. Many of them are available 24/7, allowing you to feel heard and understood anytime.
As someone who came from a whole different country, as well as dealing with anxiety in past years, support and counselling were the first things I looked up when enrolling for my degree. Fortunately, the Wellbeing Centre provided everything I needed. For me, therapy was divided into six sessions and spread throughout the whole year.
In terms of staff, the university provide experts and professionals whose job is focused on attending our needs. For example, you can choose whether you want to be counselled by a man or a woman; and you can switch therapists so you can find someone whose clinical advice can fit your needs. Everyone has been trained to be understanding and non-judgemental, providing us with useful tools to deal with the challenges that we might face.
The right support for me
The first thing I did was speak to someone at an Information Point, there’s one on every campus. They will point you in the direction of the right type of support for you. Because I wanted to speak to a counsellor, I needed to fill out a registration form, provided by UWE, which assessed what my needs were and gave an initial idea of what we’re dealing with.
The therapy sessions that I experienced lasted around an hour and fifteen minutes, and took place in Felixstowe Court, which is a cosy and relaxed environment. When the six sessions are over, the therapist who has been working with you, is also able to refer you to other experts, outside the university.
A different option, is contacting the Out of Hours team at UWE. It is run by a minimum of two members of the university staff, who have also been trained to listen to you. The service is considered Out of Hours because it works from 7pm to 6am every night. Again, this choice of support can be used over the phone or in person. Whichever you choose, there is always someone ready to listen down at the Farmhouse on Frenchay Campus, a space specially designed to be used as a safe place for students to relax and socialise, maybe even grab some tea and a nice book!
Other resources encouraged by the university are Kooth, an online platform of counselling created specifically for young people and students and if you’re really distressed, UWE crisis text line, which can be accessed by texting ‘UWE’ to 85258 anytime.
At UWE Bristol we offer a wide range of different types of mental health, wellbeing and academic support. For Desiree, counselling through the Wellbeing Service was the best option, but this won’t be right for everyone. But, that doesn’t mean that you won’t need some help from us whilst you’re here, and that’s ok.
You may need support with your studies and this can be accessed through a variety of sources including your Academic Personal tutor, faculty staff and our peer to peer support system (PAL). You’ll also have access to student support advisors and a wide range of additional support services such as our disability service and UWE cares. No matter what your worries are there will be someone here to help you thrive at university.
All of our support is accessed through the Information Points, which are located on all campuses and are the first point of contact no matter what your question or concern might be. That makes it nice and easy for you.
Elizabeth tells us about being a PAL leader. What it is and how it’s helped her make friends and grow in confidence. PAL stands for Peer Assisted Learning and is a scheme where students support each other throughout their studies.
Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I have been a PAL leader throughout my second year here at UWE Bristol. I used the PAL scheme during my first year and found it a really good way of helping me settle in and get to know people. It was good to talk to people who had been through it already and learn from their experiences. My brother had also been a PAL leader before me and so it was something that I really wanted to get involved in.
As an academic PAL leader I run a range of study support sessions. These are timetabled and group based and can be attended by students from all years. I run workshops to help students with academic skills and guide them to get any other support they may need. Other PAL leaders run sessions to help with emotional resilience and careers and employability. We make the sessions fun with interactive activities and games, so they’re a great way to get to know people.
We get to design the workshops based on our own experiences, along with help and support from staff and the senior PAL leaders who are in their third year. We find that workshops are particularly busy just before exams where we talk a lot about coursework and how best to prepare.
Being a PAL leader has really increased my confidence. You are responsible for making sure you get to the sessions on time, sticking to deadlines and deciding what to talk about. I’ve also developed my presentation and organisation skills and used work based tools such as power point, which will look great on my CV.
I’ve made lots of friends through being a PAL leader. It’s a great way to widen your circle and get to know new people. You get to talk to staff around the University which is a great confidence boost and it’s great fun as well. I really want to become a senior PAL leader next year and would recommend getting involved in this scheme either as a leader or for the great support and advice it offers you.
Choosing where you want to spend the next three years of your life – or longer – isn’t easy. So you need an opinion you can trust. You’ll want to hear from the students who actually study here.
Our eager team of students have joined together to tell you about their experiences of living and studying at UWE Bristol.
Through a series of podcast, blogs and short films they’ll tell you about the whole university experience in their own words. From the clubs and societies they’ve joined, to living in Bristol and the accommodation and facilities on offer here. Find out how they felt about coming to university at the start, the challenges they may have faced and the advice they have to offer.
Keep an eye out for regular posts and articles designed to help you experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students and give you an insight into what it’s really like to study here.