Wednesday 27 July 2016

Studying with Depression: Knowing the help you can recieve at University

It's important to know what help is available to you at university to get the best experience during your studies, James gives his advice on how to find out about these helpful resources.
- James Crick 
So, you’ve just got into your dream university and can’t wait to start or you got into a university and you have to start soon. Whether you’ve got the university of your dreams (I hope you have) or not, you will be thinking about what support there is available to you. Well, you have come to the right place. I am going to take you through your options. 
Right. Let’s begin with this little nugget of a fact – all Universities within the UK have to provide a certain amount of student services. These services will definitely vary as to where you go, the bigger universities usually (not always) have bigger budgets for this kind of thing. 
Some of the things I’ve noticed they help with are:
  1. Funding advice – DSA
  2. Mental health      
  3. Other disabilities 
  4. Homesickness
  5. Dyslexia 
  6. Bullying (hopefully you won’t need that)
  7. Time off University for health 
  8. Bereavement 
  9. Counselling
  10. Extensions and extenuating circumstances
And I’m sure there are many other things they do! But do enquire about this when you start. 
On my first point I mentioned DSA which means Disabled Student Allowance- so what is this lovely little thing, well as it stands it is a service provided by Student Finance England which is a great help if you’ve got a disability. They do a long assessment on you and determine what they think would be of benefit to you, some examples include: a Dictaphone, note taking software, counselling, laptop stands, sometimes even laptops themselves.
Now to get into homesickness. If you’re like me then you’re very close to your family, or even if you’re not close and they drive you insane but a family is a family so you love them to bits, it may be very hard saying goodbye and moving to a different town. This affected me quite a bit and I’ve got some advice for you:
  1. Keep contact with them.
  2. Go home when you can.
  3. Tell your friends if you’re feeling homesick. 
  4. Talk to student advice or your lecturers.
  5. FaceTime and Skype are amazing tools! Use them! Or even regular phone calls.
  6. Remember – the likelihood is your next door neighbour is feeling the same, so you can talk to him/her if you need too!

So, you’ve got bogged down with all those massive assignments and you have a slight panic about your work or you’re in exam week and sadly your depression starts to not make things any easier. Remember – ask for help! 
There are two words that may help you if you need it urgently (only urgently as it doesn’t make the problems go away)
Extension – will be granted if they can see a valid reason for you needing more time such as a bereavement. This will usually be a period of two weeks extra time. 
Extenuating Circumstances – If something really, really, really bad is happening to you then you can apply for this and it means you do not take part in the assessment and you fail that part of it. Usually if you just fail when you resit you’re capped at a third but if you have extenuating circumstances – there is no cap so you can resit with the full marks in August time!

For more information on finding support at university, click here.
For more information on starting university and dealing with mental health issues at this time, click here.

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