How I found my support network

Posted on

by Desirée, BA(Hons) English Literature

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!

The Farmhouse on Frenchay

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.

Find out more about support at UWE Bristol

Stephanie’s international placement was a life-changing experience

Posted on

Physiotherapy student, Stephanie Joy Evans, talks about her once-in-a-lifetime experience of her clinical placements in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The land of Santa Claus

UWE Bristol’s Study Abroad made the unimaginable my living reality!

Moving to Finland, the land of Santa Claus, to complete two physiotherapy placements was beyond my wildest childhood dreams.

Waking to wild reindeer outside my window and sleeping with the glow of the northern lights peeking through my curtains, was certainly a unique opportunity.

Horse riding through Lapland’s famous woodlands, camping in its wilderness and swimming in its vast lakes; I’ve never felt so close to nature. All this, alongside my degree. I assure you, I can now spell phenomenal!

New opportunities and challenges

Sometimes it’s easy to think that your normal is the only way of life, but this experience exposed me to completely new opportunities and challenges that I never thought I would face.

It’s reinforced the idea to me that diversity needs to be embraced, not just with people, but also in workplace practices.

We can learn so much more if large groups of people collaborate together, sharing ideas and professional opinions, with enthusiasm and respect.

Using this approach, we can make positive changes to healthcare, driving an ambition forward with the goal being to provide the highest quality of care possible to those who need it.

Teamwork drives change, but a team celebrating diversity, strives towards positive change for all – I know which team I would rather be a part of.

Embrace the unknown

This opportunity has urged me to embrace the unknown, welcome change and challenge and to remain optimistic in all situations. In healthcare, these skills are assets to overcome the daily complications that so commonly arise.

My confidence in my ambition to strive forward, to achieve my career aims – to create the greatest possible impact upon those in need – has strengthened.

This experience has given me the courage to believe in myself and my ability to make my goals a reality.

The development of my non-verbal communication skills has progressed to beyond what I originally thought possible. Leading exercise classes independently and motivating individuals through their rehabilitation, without any common language, has advanced my use of facial expressions and body language in physiotherapy practice.

A priceless learning opportunity

This learning opportunity has been priceless and upon returning to my next clinical placement, I plan on progressing my ability of reading and responding to a patient’s body language. I will achieve this by associating a patient’s spoken words with their use of body language, which I can then apply if an absence of language becomes present in my future career.

This opportunity took me far outside of my comfort zone. As an individual with limited international travelling experience, the idea of moving abroad for any length of time was a daunting thought. However, this trip has taught me the wonders of diversity and encouraged me to embrace differing cultural traditions and ways of life.

My appreciation towards planet Earth has grown enormously. My aim upon returning to the UK is to reduce the negative impact that I make upon the planet and to encourage others to do the same, in aid of the whole ecosystem.

Advice to other students: Just go for it!

What are you waiting for?!

Just apply and think about the practicalities and logistics later – filling in that application form will be the best decision that you ever make!

Don’t think you’re not good enough, because you are! Just go for it!

I applied thinking – I would never be chosen – and here I am now, in my third year of university, having travelled for the past three months – funded and everything!

I wish I had known

Unfurnished means no curtains! Turns out the midnight sun literally means the sun never sets, meaning that I lay in broad daylight waiting for the possibility that it might just set – even for a minute! It didn’t, so I lay and watched the birds outside of my window wondering if they ever slept and how they maintained their energy levels!

Once in a lifetime opportunity

My lasting impression from this once in a lifetime opportunity, has been to actively encourage both myself and those around me to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

As long as the experience is approached with optimism, an open mind and a hard-working nature, your personal and professional development will progress far beyond what you could ever imagine.

A truly phenomenal experience that will stay in my heart forever.

How the experience has changed me

This experience made me realise that life is made to be lived and enjoyed, so I’m going to face challenges head on, with a drive to reach my career ambitions.

There are so many people in this world, all with different stories to tell, and I want to work in the most multicultural environment as possible to expose myself to new learning opportunities. I feel like the hospital is the best place to start!

Find out more

Experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students

Posted on

Welcome to our student views blog

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.