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Part Time Officers

your education and mental wellbeing

Hi Everyone,

Hoping you are safe and well. As teaching has been rolling for a few weeks this semester, I wanted to take the opportunity, along with Lucy and Laura, to talk to you about some of the comments we have been having from students. We know that, for many of you, there will be some worries around online teaching. For some, online learning will be welcomed and will really help you access your learning more inclusively. However, mental health and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us and we want to make sure you are having a positive experience.

Talking to students, we are aware of some issues that we wanted to address in a blog post.

Less social interaction with peers (exacerbated for people more at risk of loneliness already)

We know that this will be an issue for many of you and it can be a very lonely time for students that might not have much face-to-face teaching or extra-curricular opportunity. A reminder to you all there is the following support available:

Things you can do to feel less alone:

Get in touch with old friends- just because you are at uni away from your friends in other areas, doesn’t mean you can’t hang out. Everyone is struggling with the impact of lockdown at the moment and you could really help someone else by reaching out.

Activities you could do with friends from absolutely anywhere:

 

Clubs and societies

Many groups are still running online and trying their hardest to provide opportunities for students with similar interests to get to know each other. Check out this list and contact any groups that interest you to see how you can get involved https://www.uea.su/opportunities/societies/

Other su activities- links for ‘Flativities’ and other online events (that don’t require liking your flat)

Consider signing up for a buddy with Buddy(su)- your buddy is a friend who happens to be more experienced in a certain area of university life, so can give you some friendly advice to help you with whatever you are struggling with. The buddy scheme also runs events where you can meet other people who are involved and get to know each other.

https://www.uea.su/opportunities/buddysu/

 

For more information about loneliness please visit:

 

A worse educational experience leading to stress about achieving grades and effects on prospects

We know that some of the worries you have will be exacerbated by not being able to have as much interaction with peers and academics. Make sure you check in with:

The free time we are getting during lockdowns could be a brilliant time to think about boosting your employability.

There are plenty of resources and opportunities available at Careers Central- while you may not be hearing about so many opportunities from your lecturers, there is still plenty online, including online volunteering and internships which can make you stand out in the jobs market. Have a browse through https://mycareercentral.uea.ac.uk/ to find something that interests you.

Remember that while you may not be seeing teaching staff face to face, they are still around. If you are concerned about an aspect of your teaching remember you can pop an email to your academic advisor, course director or another member of staff you trust.

And finally, while it feels very strange adjusting to life online, remember all students are in the same boat, employers will take this into consideration when you graduate.

 

Reduced feeling of 'knowing' staff (therefore less confidence reporting issues, less ability to network to develop future opportunities)

Make sure that you have the contact details of key people. Here is a useful checklist to make sure you have ticked off some of the key contacts. Ask other people for information or divide the tasks up if you are from the same course and come together at the end to share.

Your Academic Checklist

Do I know who my full-time officers are?

 

Do I know who my Head of School is?

 

Do I know who my Module Leader is?

 

Do I know who the Course Director is?

 

Do I know who my Course Rep is?

 

Do I know who my Faculty Convenor is?

 

Do I know where my courses are on Blackboard?

 

Do I know where my timetable is on E-vision?

 

Do I know how to access Learning Support?

 

Do I know how to access support for my wellbeing?

 

 

Remember that despite not being able to see them in person, staff are there to help you learn and achieve. Don’t feel shy about sending an email to a lecturer who’s work you’re interested in, or someone who is suited to help you with a specific problem. Accessing the opportunities created at university might be a bit trickier this year, but everyone still wants to help you get the best you can out of university- you might just have to ask!

 

Less structure for those who benefit from engagement being enforced.

There is lots of independent learning this year. A reminder that the following services are still open for you to use:

We are also beginning to plan a series of ‘together’ workshops jointly run by LET, PAL and the SU. These will help you to meet other people on your courses and also have the opportunity to talk about the learning or use the time to work together on certain topics/areas of study. More on this to come.

We are also bringing back the Undergraduate Dissertation Cafés and we have some exciting goodies to give out in the next semester. Keep posted for more! J

Adjusting to structuring your time and work almost entirely yourself can be really difficult for some, and there’s no shame in admitting after coasting through the first few weeks of the semester you are at a loss with figuring out what you should be doing.

If you can, try and log on for all of your lecturers when they are live so that you there is structure to your week. If you have less live teaching, consider writing a weekly timetable of the tasks you need to do so that you start each day with a direction.

It can be difficult to manage your time when there’s not as many people telling you what you should be doing like in face to face teaching. If you used to meet your deadlines at the last minute and work under pressure, this year you may find events and deadlines passing you by when there’s less classmates or lecturers to remind you. This article talks more about how to develop better time management skills outside of the usual suggestions:

  • https://hbr.org/2020/01/time-management-is-about-more-than-life-hacks

This article talks more about how important it is to maintain a routine in stressful times

 

Spending more time in a home situation, which may be sub-optimal.

This is an issue we are directly liaising with the university on. We know that there will be some students where home just isn’t the place they want to be; or there is little quality space and resource at home to study properly. Make sure you use the following support links to seek advice:

Remember the library is still open 24/7! Consider booking a study room for online classes or just popping in and doing some work from here.

There are also study spaces available on the first floor of Sportspark and in the Hive that you can access during the day.

 

Exhaustion- spending a lot of time on the computer/phone has never been good for people, engaging with most of life this way is leading to loss of interest and engagement, the value of which should not be underestimated in maintaining good mental health.

Although this cannot be helped, there are lots of useful tips and tricks to get you away from the screen. Remember to maintain good screen-health- we may all now be at increased risk of eye strain due to COVID, but there are adjustment you can make to your screen setup to minimise the toll it takes on your body.

  • https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2020/08/eye-strain-screen-time.php

 

This blog has been designed to help you all feel more comfortable about teaching and learning in a more online space, as well as give you useful tips on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time.

Any questions then please get in contact with us.

 

All the best

 

Callum – Undergraduate Education Officer

Laura – Part-time Invisible Disabilities Officer

Lucy – Part-time Invisible Disabilities Officer

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