Getting the Support You Deserve 101
A recent e-mail made me realise that I don't have a general "top tips to get the most out of your university" post on this blog. I should stress that this is only advice and there is no guarantee that it's effective, but I've tried to make this post informative and applicable to all higher education institutions. Here goes!
Firstly and most importantly: remember that you pay fees to attend university (unless you have a sponsorship arrangement or live in Scotland, in which case this still applies because your place is worth a lot of money and you're an investment). Part of the monetary value of your place at university is devoted to systems, such as pastoral care, which are set up to help you complete your degree and to help keep you safe, healthy and happy. DO NOT for a second think that you're an imposition if you need help - the university/higher education institution has a duty of care towards you, and if you're not feeling supported your university is failing you.
To emphasise my point, here's something from my university's brochure on student support. Yours will have something similar:
"The University of Warwick is committed to providing a supportive and positive environment for all members of its community.
However, we recognise that there will be times in everybody’s University life when things do not go as well as you would wish. In times like these, there is a comprehensive support structure available to help with all kinds of different problems."
Furthermore, are you aware that if you have a mental health condition you are covered by the Equality Act of 2010?
"A mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on your normal day-to-day activity. This is defined under the Equality Act 2010.
Even if you aren't classed as 'disabled' because your problem is new, one can reasonably argue that any institution (such as a university) which does not make reasonable adjustments for the medical requirements of its members, or employees, is guilty of discriminating against them. In other words: by not treating your mental health condition with discretion, care and support an institution leaves itself open to accusations of discrimination.
If none of these work, you've got a pretty good story for your student newspaper. But hopefully that won't happen :) If I've left anything out or you have any questions, please comment below!
– John (Charlie)