Equity January blog post

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by Equity

Happy new year and welcome back – we hope you’re settling back in!

We’re starting the year with our very first Equity blog post to keep you updated on upcoming Equity activities and events.

Have a read and share it with your friends to help grow our Equity network. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

What is Equity?

Equity was designed to help Black, Asian, and minority ethnic students enhance their personal and professional skills. By participating in Equity, students have the opportunity to develop the confidence and abilities they’ll need to succeed at university and in their chosen profession.

Equity also allows students to experience a safe space and sense of belonging by conversing with fellow students on lived experiences, whether being on the same course or around race and racism.

We also share specific opportunities for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic students, including mentoring and coaching sessions and work-based learning activities such as internships and placements.

During my first year in university, I was a part of the Equity programme which helped me develop a sense of belonging.

Nazifa

Upcoming Equity events

Wednesday 16 February – ‘Networking to succeed’: webinar and watch party with Bobbi O’Gilvie

This will be a guided discussion and watch party of the original networking workshop from March 2021, with added insights and a live Q&A with Bobbi. Bobbi is a coach from Ready to Blog and Director of Startup Grind Bristol, a global community of over 600 cities helping business people to connect.

Bobbi’s work is focused on building people’s confidence in reaching their goals, especially around networking, an area which Bobbi is always working to improve on.

The aim of the webinar is to give students the courage to look for people to connect with by signing up for zoom rooms and networking events and then put into practice some of the networking tips and tools discussed in the session.

To find out more about the webinar watch this short promo from Bobbi. And if you’re interested in attending, sign up by filling out our short registration form.

Please note this webinar is only for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students to provide a safe space for discussion.

Missed previous Equity webinars?

You can catch up with past webinars on our Equity webpage. Past themes include looking after your wellbeing, led by speaker Vanessa Maria and self-realisation and success led by poet and award-winning journalist Sayo.

Coming soon

Soon we’ll be sharing information about Equity student committee social events on our social media platforms and towards the end of the year we’ll share details on our Celebrating Culture Conference in collaboration with the Students’ Union.

The skills I developed during my time with the Equity programme are strong leadership, excellent verbal and written communication and teamwork skills.

Bassmala Elbushary

You might also be interested in…

Strive internship programme 2022

Strive is an exciting paid summer internship programme providing the opportunity to get ahead and work with market leading businesses.

Employers include, Avon and Somerset Police, Bristol City Council, Encounters Festivals, Hargreaves Lansdown, Intellect Books, True to Nature, West of England Sport Trust, UWE Bristol and many more.

To apply you must be:

  • UK domicile Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic student.
  • Be living or studying in the region, or have graduated from University within the last 12 months.
  • Be available to work full-time from June 2022 for a minimum of four weeks.

To apply just send in your CV and cover letter to striveinterns@hl.co.uk by Monday 31st January. Successful candidates will be invited to share their internship preferences in terms of sectors, roles and/or organisations.

Feel Good February

The Feel Good February team are looking for a 30- 60 second recordings of ‘what feel good means to you’. You can include any feel good theme (relax, try something new, get active or eat well) or if you’d like to share your general/personal approach to health and wellbeing that’s good too!

Just send your video to Stephanie.Todd@uwe.ac.uk by Monday 7 February.

We’re here to support you and if you have any questions or ideas for Equity please feel free to contact us at equity@uwe.ac.uk.

Essay mills, ghost writing and contract cheating

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When your assignment deadlines are approaching many of you might receive spam emails from companies offering ‘advisory’ or ‘example’ essay services to help ease the pressure of deadline hand ins. Paying to use one of these services however is known as contract cheating.

What is contract cheating?

Contract cheating is where a student pays someone else to write an essay for them and then submits it as their own. For example, a student might submit an assignment brief to a website, along with the deadline and decide what grade they would like to receive and will then pay accordingly. As with other assessment offences such as plagiarism and collusion, this is taken extremely seriously by the university and can have implications when a student is being assessed by an employer for professional suitability.

Contract cheating is becoming a real worry as it undermines the genuine efforts of other students. In addition, the companies or essay mills offering these services target stressed students with spam emails during the busiest hand in periods. There have also been examples of students being blackmailed by the companies for additional fees after assignments have been submitted. It is also likely that such activities will soon be criminalised in the UK.

The key therefore is to help the university identify these companies and the promotional emails they send out and to make you aware of the support options available to you should you feel as if there is no other alternative.

What to look out for

As mentioned, the company might claim that you’ll only be paying for a model or example essay but in the same breath guarantee the grade you ordered. When challenged, many of these companies state they never expect students to submit the essay. They might also quote testimonials from happy customers to try and normalise the service to suggest it isn’t cheating. They might also list clients from top universities to show it happens everywhere.

What to do if you’re feeling the pressure

We want to raise awareness and make sure that you know the options available to you so that you never feel the need to use one of these companies and jeopardise your experience of university. If you receive one of their emails do not respond and simply forward it to us via email. Our specialised team will block these emails from getting to students in the first place.

More importantly though, if you are feeling overwhelmed remember you can speak to one of your tutors if you have concerns about your course; we also have a wealth of study tools and wellbeing support to help you manage your deadlines, discuss your worries and get back on track.

Your January Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good Team

Happy New Year – we hope that you have a nice break over the holidays!

January can seem daunting with covid, the cold weather and the typical ‘blues’ after all the festivities. It can also seem stressful if you have any exams or deadlines upcoming this month.

Here at Feel Good, we want to help you get back to your studies in the healthiest and most positive way possible and help you manage with any stress that you may have.

Try to get a good amount of sleep

Having a good night’s sleep helps you focus throughout the day. Try to aim to have 7-8 hours of sleep. It can seem challenging when thinking of assessments, perhaps try having a bath or shower before bed, a hot drink, reading a book and putting the phone down earlier on in the evening. There are also some apps that help you relax such as Calm or Bloom.

Get organised

Having a planner and writing down tasks can help when it seems that you’re balancing a lot. By seeing what tasks you have can help you realise how to complete them more effectively. Having an organised revision schedule always helps manage stress, but also keeping a tidy and organised room will help too. A good tip to try and maintain this is to tidy your desk and room when you first get up and get ready for the day. By having a clean environment, it can help reduce stress and help you focus on the main task of studying.

Give yourself a break

As important as studying is, it’s important to take a break. Find 15 minutes (#Find 15) to go for a walk, watch your favourite programme, exercise or make a nice meal. You need to take regular breaks so that you don’t burnout. There are many walking routes around all the UWE Bristol campuses. But if you are studying from home, try and look up local routes for you to have a break and explore.

Keep talking

If you are feeling overwhelmed after the holidays, it’s ok to not feel ok. But it’s important to communicate to friends, family or our staff here at UWE Bristol so that they can support you through this time. Your lecturers are here to support you too if you’re feeling stressed about an assessment or anything else. Our health and wellbeing services are always here to help too.

Coming soon…Feel Good February!

Something to look forward to, Feel Good February is coming up!

If you’ve not engaged with Feel Good February before, it’s filled with exciting activities both online and in person (subject to change from advice from the government). The month will be split into weekly themes of relax, try something new, get active and eat well. Each week will be full of things for everyone to get involved in, so keep checking the Feel Good pages for updates! Plus, keep an eye out for the Feel Good February giveaway!

Your December Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good Team

This time of year might seem all glitz and glam, but that often isn’t the case for everyone, so it’s important to look after your wellbeing and to keep in touch with your friends and family.

Here are some of our top tips to help look after your wellbeing during this time:

Talk about your feelings

When things are difficult or if you are feeling down, it is always a good thing to try and talk to someone. Message your friends, family or even speak to the university about how you are feeling.

Talking about how you feel always helps. Another idea is to write things down as it can help if you are feeling anxious. And remember that UWE Bristol are always here for you with a number of support options available to you if you need them.

Look after your health and wellbeing

Even though it is cold, it is important to try and stay active. Perhaps go for a short mindful walk around campus or around where you live. Try and not just walk, but take in what is around you, breathe in the fresh air and look at the different colours of the leaves on the trees.

Keeping active and being mindful can help you relax and improve your wellbeing. If you are more into activities rather than walking, sign up to get a free MOVE membership card from the Centre for Sport.

Be kind

Being kind helps give you a sense of feeling good since you have done good, which helps improve your wellbeing. This year, try volunteering some of your time. You can always look on the UWE volunteering page for current volunteering opportunities, or you can contact local homes or charities.

If you can’t give your time why not donate some old clothes to the salvation army or blankets to animal rescues. Many charities also allow you to buy presents or packages for specific causes, like the Hartlepool Giving Tree where you can presents for children.

Treat yourself

This time of year, is for giving, but don’t forget to also treat yourself. This could be from binge watching that TV show, watching Christmas movies, buying that thing you have wanted for ages or eating a little too much (as we all do this time of year).  Giving yourself a treat will help boost your mood and will make you feel happier.

Events to look out for

There’s always something going on at UWE Bristol especially during the festive period! Keep your eye out on the UWE events diary and The Students’ Union What’s on page for updated events and activities to get involved in.

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for all things festive Feel Good!

Your November Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good Team

Hello November! Well hasn’t that come around very quickly.

We hope that you are all settled in and finding your feet. However, if you are not feeling ok, it’s ok! You have to remember that you’re not alone and others are also feeling the same way.

Being at university can feel like a lot sometimes and it can become overwhelming, especially when you start having deadlines. But don’t feel like you need to tackle the stress and worry alone. It’s important to get in touch if you feel you need some help or support – our kind staff here at UWE Bristol are here to help you.

It also doesn’t help that the days are getting shorter leading to people suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or the ‘winter blues’. Symptoms can include lack of energy, change of appetite or feeling sad, low or hopeless.

If you feel that you are suffering from this, here are some tips to help manage and overcome the winter blues:

Keep active

Even though it’s cold outside, make sure you get out during the day to get as much daylight as possible. Exercise is a great mood booster so whether it’s a short walk, run or going to the gym or a class, it can really help get those endorphins flowing. Why not make the most of this year’s free MOVE membership and try a class?

Eat well

When the days get shorter the amount of vitamin D we get from the sun decreases which is why many people feel the symptoms of SAD or generally feel unwell through the winter months. Make sure you’re getting vitamin D in your diet instead, by eating foods like oily fish, or by taking daily supplements.

Some people also find that they want to eat more during winter or snack more regularly. If that’s how you’re feeling, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet whilst also allowing yourself a treat!

Try something new

Try to take up a new hobby, whether it’s writing a blog, sewing, juggling or making banana bread, as it will give your mind something to concentrate on that you enjoy.

And finally…talk about it

Just talking to someone about your feelings and worries can make you feel better. Speaking to friends and family can work well as they know you best and can often give you the support you need.

But if you don’t want to talk to family or friends and are finding something difficult, don’t suffer in silence. Take a look at our wellbeing support options and find the help that you need. From counselling through the Wellbeing Service, to same day support and self-help, there’s always somewhere to turn.

Your University Health Centre

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by Lucy, Patient Services Manager at the University Health Centre

Did you know we have our very own doctors’ surgery right in the heart of Frenchay Campus?

It’s open to all UWE Bristol students, no matter which campus you’re studying at. You can stay registered with us for your whole time at university, which means you won’t have to worry about finding another doctor as you move in your second and third year. Plus, as we work in partnership with The Old School Surgery in Fishponds, registering with us means you’ll be automatically registered with them too. Effectively you’re getting two doctors’ surgeries for one!

It’s easy to register online and registering now means that we’ll be able to get your records from your previous GP so that we’re ready to treat you if you need us. It also means you won’t have to worry about going through the registration process or finding a walk-in centre when you actually need to see a doctor – you can just book an appointment with us without all the extra hassle.

And don’t worry – you can still see your previous GP if you go home for the holidays. You’ll just need to see them as a temporary patient. It won’t affect your registration with us in Bristol and you can easily re-register with them if you move back home once you’ve finished your course.

So why register with us?

We’ve got a great team based at the Health Centre, made up of GPs, nurses and same day Urgent Care Practitioners. We also have Mental Health Nurses, who are available to assist you with any concerns or support you might need whilst you are studying at UWE. We’re a friendly bunch and you can talk to us about anything – trust us, we really have heard it all before!

We offer all of your standard GP services, including appointments, blood tests, travel vaccines, sexual health advice and free chlamydia screening kits. We can arrange your MenACWY vaccination, which protects you against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia, if you didn’t have it before you arrived – and we really recommend that you have it. We also work in partnership with the University’s Wellbeing Service, offering you support for your mental health such as counselling appointments. We’ll also refer you to other services in and around Bristol where required, to make sure you get all the medical help you need.

Remember that some common minor health concerns like coughs, colds, hayfever or an upset stomach don’t need to be seen by a doctor, unless they last for more than a week. Pop in to talk to your local pharmacist for advice – they’re experts who can recommend certain medications that you can take without a prescription. If the doctors’ surgery or pharmacy is closed, you can call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice.

If you’re an international student our healthcare system may be different to what you’re used to – don’t worry, we’re here to explain everything you need to know. Most services such as GP consultations and emergency treatment are free for everyone. You may need to pay for prescriptions, dental treatment and sight tests – although most students can get these at a reduced cost or free (just collect a HC1 application form from us or from the UWE Information Point). Doctors’ surgeries don’t provide eye tests or dental check ups – you can find an optician or a dentist through the NHS website.

Remember, we’re here to help you so that you can get on with your studies and fully enjoy your university experience – so register with us now!

Your October Feel Good Focus

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by the Feel Good team

What a welcome! We hope that you’re settling into university life here at UWE Bristol.

This month’s Feel Good Focus includes different recipes for you to try at home, more ways to get active, ways to relax and new things to try!

Eat well

Now we are fully into autumn, it seems to be that time of year where we fancy ‘cosy’ kind of meals. Especially foods packed with vitamins to help us now we will have less sunlight and to help build are immune systems. Here are a few of our favourite winter recipes!

Meat: Spiced Chicken, Spinach and Sweet Potato Stew

Vegetarian: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Vegan: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Get active

Even though the weather and cold can be off putting, it is important to try and stay active. UWE MOVE are kindly offering free MOVE passes for all UWE students normally costing £40 – how great is that!

The MOVE pass allows you to have access to a variety of weekly sessions such as meditation, badminton, touch rugby and more. It’s a great way to get active, clear your mind, improve your health and to make friends along the way.

You can view the timetable online or you can book through the Bristol Sport App. The sessions are flexible and all about having fun.

Relax

Starting a new course or a new year of studies can feel intense at times. Just remember to put some time aside each week for yourself. Your mental and physical health is the most important thing. You can watch that Netflix episode or you could check out what events The Students’ Union at UWE are running.

Tackling loneliness

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Loneliness is something that everyone feels at some point in their lives and each of our experiences are individual to us. To find out more about loneliness and what can cause and contribute to it, take a look at Mind’s website.

We’ve pulled together some information on how to build connections and meet others. We hope you find this useful and remember, you can always reach out for support if you need help.

To find out how to access any wellbeing support you need, visit our wellbeing support information.

Tips to help with loneliness

Watch this short video from Mind for tips to help you with loneliness. 

Connect with others at UWE Bristol

University events

Take part in UWE Bristol events. The University hosts a wide range of activities throughout the year, from Feel Good to workshops and socials.

MOVE

This year MOVE membership, usually £40, is FREE! There are over 40 activities to get involved in – from football and hiking to Zumba and yoga – and it’s a great way to get active and meet new people!

The Centre for Music

The Centre for Music is open for members. Join them for music software tutorials, music lessons or music masterclass events. It’s free to become a member and it’s a great way to learn new skills and meet new people.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to meet others, all whilst doing something great that makes you feel good. You can take part as little or as often as you like, and you’ll meet people whilst helping your community.

Connect with others through The Students’ Union

Events

The Students’ Union at UWE host a range of events to keep you connected to fellow students.

Societies

Get involved with The Students’ Union at UWE societies – it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests, learn new skills and most importantly, have fun!

The Discord networking platform

Join the Discord networking platform to meet and chat to other UWE Bristol Students online.

Hallslife

If you live on campus, HallsLife is here to help you feel at home at UWE Bristol. Throughout the year they organise events and competitions that you can get involved with. This is a great way to meet others living in halls accommodation.

Connect with others in the community

Meetup

Meetup is a great way to meet other people in your local area (events and group sessions are currently online). Browse groups by interest (like health and wellness, film, technology) or search for groups near you. Millions of people use Meetup and there should always be likeminded people nearby.

Time outdoors

Time outdoors provides a list of activity clubs in your local area, such as walking, running, climbing and cycling groups.

FriendMatch

FriendMatch works like a dating site, but matches people up with new friends rather than dates. Meet new friends near you, or connect with others around the world. There is a small fee of £4 per month to use the site.

Do It

Volunteering is another good way to meet other people. Search opportunities near you using Do It, the national database of volunteering.

Find support in the community

Befriending

Sign up for an informal weekly phone chat with Changes Bristol Befriending Service. Befrienders are trained volunteers who are happy to listen to you speak about how you’re feeling, what challenges you’re facing and how you’re coping.

Student Space

Student Space offer free, confidential, one-to-one support by text, webchat, phone and email. They’re there to help with whatever challenge your facing whether it’s loneliness, mental health, studies, money, relationships or isolation.

Mind’s online community

It’s a powerful thing to connect with someone else over shared experiences. Side by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard.


#SpeakUp

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We want to create an inclusive campus where diversity is celebrated, antisocial attitudes and behaviours are challenged and any type of harassment, assault and discrimination are not acceptable.

And we want you to #SpeakUp if you see or hear something that’s not right.

We want you to be an active bystander.

What does it mean to be an active bystander?

This means being able to recognise when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and choosing to challenge it and safely intervene. If you hear people make racist comments or see someone touch a part of yours or someone’s body without consent, call them out.

Be an individual who’s aware that someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening, and then actively challenges it.

How can you challenge inappropriate behaviour?

You should only intervene when it is safe to do so and the golden rule is your safety comes first. Here’s how you can challenge behaviour:

Direct: Let people know that their actions or language are unacceptable, explaining why it is not OK.

Distract: Indirectly intervene. For example, interrupt, start a conversation with the person to allow their potential target to move away or have friends intervene.

Delegate: If you spot a situation that worries you, find someone to help. This could be a more senior member of staff or someone in authority.

Delay: Wait for the situation to pass and check in with the individual. Take action at a later stage when you have had time to consider. It is never too late to act. One way of intervening is to report it through Report and Support.

Raising awareness online

Students have created some very short video-animations to prevent sexual harassment and relationship abuse within the university community. The aim is to raise awareness of areas such as consent, unwanted touching and groping, social media use and misuse, intimate partner abuse and humiliation ceremonies. Feel free to share them with friends and on social media.

Report anything you experience or observe that’s not right

You can report online any incidents that you’ve experienced or observed around bullying, anti-social behaviour, discrimination and hate incident, physical violence, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence abuse or health and wellbeing concerns.

How I settled into University life

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by Salma, BSc(Hons) Architecture

I’ll never forget my first trip to get groceries. I had just arrived in Bristol and as I was heading to Lidl, I may or may not have walked into random strangers’ backyards trying to get there. It was also my first-time using Google Maps and my, what an invention!

People who don’t see the need to use maps and rely solely on signs scare me.

Luckily as I got to know my flatmates, we started going grocery shopping together. Soon, what seemed like an hour-long walk felt like nothing. It started out with a simple text in our group chat that went something like, “I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow, would any of you like to join me?” It’s very normal for the first few weeks, or sometimes even the first couple of months to be awkward, but these little walks to Asda or Lidl really helped me get to know my housemates better.

Cooking with flatmates

In my first year at UWE I lived in Wallscourt with fellow international students and one thing I learnt from living with people from different cultures is that offering to try your food is the best way to make a friend. You also get to try theirs the next time, so it is a win. Living in a multicultural house also gave me the opportunity to celebrate things like Eid, Diwali, and Chinese new year’s. These were also opportunities to cook together, share a meal and educate one another about our cultures. It is a gradual process.

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps. One of my favourite recipes to make for my flatmates was these quick and easy cinnamon rolls .

Eating well

Before coming to university, the closest I got to ‘cooking’ was ramen noodles. But now I’ve learned some recipes from my flatmates, I’ve come to really enjoy cooking!

There’s something about having your own stuff, which has it’s own place in the kitchen that also makes cooking much more appealing. And when you’re in charge of your own food, it’s much easier to make healthier changes to your diet that you’ve always dreamt of. I switched to brown bread, gradually reduced my sugar intake and switched to plant-based milk cutting down my dairy intake. This did wonders for my skin and if my skin is happy, I’m happy!

Joining a society

During my first year, I joined the BAME society and the Built Environment society. I wanted to join societies that catered to both my social identity and my academic side. Joining these societies helped me get used to university life, as I met students from other years who’d had more experience and could give me advice. Although covid restrictions limited my interaction with other people, joining a society and meeting my course mates during the campus workshops, allowed me to make those all important connections and build my own community.

Mindfulness and meditation

During the lockdown last December, I decided to stay in university accommodation so I spent the Christmas holidays mostly in my room and with my flatmates. We would hold movie nights and bond over some popcorn and crisps.

Day to day though, I like to keep a routine and it’s important for me that I start my day by dedicating an hour or two to myself. I normally start by having toast with coffee/tea and then read a portion of a book and then watch some vlogs and cooking videos on YouTube. I also try to reserve 20 minutes before going to bed to meditate and I’m an avid believer of spiritual healing through prayer.

It’s important to remember that there will always be days when everything gets overwhelming and it’s not easy to stay focused no matter what you do. On such days, I just let myself feel the feelings and remember that it’s ok to have a good cry if needed.

For more advice on how to settle in and start your year well visit the Feel Good webpage!