Tag Archives: University

De-stressing Doggies take on Degrees

Universities are starting to use dogs to de-stress their students around exam time. Therapy dogs are now popping up in university nursing areas around the UK to try to battle the ongoing mental health issues which are slowly rising. 

With the rates of student suicides growing, many universities are looking for ways to help students stay calm, especially during the dreaded exam period. Some people disagree with the idea, but Middlesex University has brought in two captivating canines to tackle the issue. 

Ice was happy, an ex guide dog, was happy to meet us. He now spends his time giving love back to the students who need him.

“We do drop in sessions and on Mondays we do walk arounds through lectures” Josh, dog carer and nurse, introduces us to Maisie and Ice. The two Labradors are dressed in red sashes and name tags depicting their status within the university. 

“We care about not just the students but the dogs as well, we’re always sure to not put them in an unsafe environment.” 

Labradors tend to be the chosen dog for therapy, however they also welcomed a boxer, but after an unfortunate incident where Josh’s bag was used as a toilet, he was sent home for bad behaviour. 

“The dogs have to be assessed before they can be seen by students.” When they’re not comforting a student, Maisie and Ice can be found with their owners who work at the university. Ice living out the winter of his life after successful years as a guide dog. 

Josh, Maisie and Ice all pose for a photo before starting their rounds of Middlesex University.

It’s not only for comfort, many come to overcome a fear. Through regular visits with the two dogs, both 8 years old, Josh confirmed many students had overcome their fear of dogs. 

“Sometimes they’re not stressed out, we get a lot of students who are just homesick and miss their pets”. The canine duo give them the love that many crave when they’re away from home. Homesickness is one of the leading reasons of depression within students, a study by Huffpost. 

Nevertheless, Josh thinks it has benefited the students very well. “I think everyone should do it. It’s such an easy thing to achieve, you’ve just got to find the right dog.” 

There is only one problem with dogs in university. Hair Everywhere. 

How is mental health handled in Universities?

Between 2007 and 2015 the number of student suicides in the UK increased by 79 per cent, and its with this data that questions about the mental health support available in universities increases.

Today universities offer different support systems when it comes to mental health, with various way to access it. It’s possible to seek support in various ways on campus, and often from different platforms online too. Also, in some universities, a “mental health day” occurs once a year, and they provide a constant on-campus counsellor.

But the problem with some of these services is the fact that they are efficient as long as they aren’t in use.

One of the problems with the help offered right now by some universities is that real help is not well organised, but its advertised as so; to a point in which it seems that some universities are doing their best to only provide enough support to not to end up in legal troubles. With all the energy invested in such support tools, it’s ridiculous the way it fails facing real dangerous situations.

The majority of the support offered by universities, comes from the antiquated medical ideology. This includes the belief that people living certain deep life experiences are going to seek help automatically themselves when at their lowest moment. But this is not the case, and the majority of times, this creates misconceptions.

People facing certain life crisis are willing to get help, but more likely can’t find a reason or the strength to seek it. It takes an enormous amount of strength for certain people to finally seek help, but it can be in vain easily, especially when the quality of the help is mediocre or coming from the wrong conceptions.

Seeking help in the university environment should be facilitated, but often leads to confusing online pages, making this crucial procedure really frustrating and further from the help needed.

But there is no number of emails, of webpages and or 15-minutes-tutorials that can actually have an incisive effect in every situation, which is why I think blaming universities entirely is not the answer, and why I think this current helping system is not working.

The first step towards a better mental health support in universities should be in a utopic, but concrete and constant sensitising of students and staff on the topic mental health, not with a badly advertised “Mental Health Day”.

The amount of help universities can provide is of course limited in both amount and efficacy, no matter how organised. Especially in extreme cases, the help provided by universities is never gonna be the final answer, and we shouldn’t expect it.

The goal shouldn’t be to save someone, but rather to guarantee the right supportive environment to then try to effectively help. The environment sourrounding a student often tends to marginalise certain attitudes or to generally misunderstand them, aggravating a situation that is unstable itself.

A more vigil and less naive attitude in the entirety of the university environment needs to form, due to these incidents of mental illness progressing.

It’s not the final help that truly counts, but rather the support to finally seek help, and its that we should improve.

Puppies, Laser Quest and a Heap of Exams- De-stressing in Exam Week

Starting last year, The University of Westminster provided students with the only thing that will calm somebody in the middle of exams, dogs. And lots of them.

 

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The University of Westminster Facebook Page

 

The university has been trying its hardest to ensure their students mental health stays positive during exam season by creating events that students can attend to take their mind off revision, these include: a nap room, a bunny room and a dog room. The sessions were held during the week.

Dan Seamarks, the sabbatical officer for Harrow campus has said “”I think the University has provided a good insight into how to revise and how to stay healthy during the exam period. Today, they’ve released research into this. However, we’re always happy to hear students feedback and ideas to take to the University.”

The students’ Union take student welfare seriously and offer counselling at every campus all year round “”The Students’ Union provides welfare and advice to students daily, as well as through the Exam Period. Officers, Receptionists and the Welfare Team can all point students in the direction of help and support in this tough period. We are steadfast in student welfare being one of our top priorities and our Advice team have been available to support students throughout. We ran a campaign a few weeks ago that was aimed at ensuring students knew about these services in the run up to exams.”

Other universities across the UK have also taken steps to ensure that students are prepared for the exam season. Goldsmith University offered students a free DIY art session in order to help and de-stress students who were sitting exams. Whilst Leicester University also had a puppy room, they also set up a free Laser Quest session. Glasgow University are currently running a two-week programme jam packed with activities such as dodgeball and Bradford University were offering free massages and food for students during their exam week.

The University of Westminster have also released a video on how to cope during the exam period, courtesy of Smoke Media.

6 tips that will definitely not help with exams

With Exam season coming, here are some tips that will definitely help with your revision.

 

  1. Get drunk. Every day, every night, getting drunk is a fantastic way to procrastinate and spend an unnecessary amount of money.  giphy3
  2. Start a new series. Netflix was made for the exam season, why not try Archer or Orange is The New Black?  With hundreds of hours already on Netflix you can be sure that you won’t even think about starting revision.    giphy2
  3. Create a Pinterest, want to start planning the home you want to buy, or the holiday you won’t be able to afford because you spent too much time browsing the web than studying? Pinterest is the place to go. giphy5
  4. Find out what kitchen appliance you would be. Buzzfeed offer a number of pointless yet entertaining quizzes that are a  sure fire way to de-stress you and waste hours on finding yourself rather than revising.                                                                                  giphy4
  5. Tidy the house. It’s a great way to feel productive whilst still not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing. While you’re at it why don’t you re-arrange your room? After all, a clean space = a clean mind.  giphy6
  6. When you’re really stuck for things to do you have to go to the last resort, phoning your parents. It may not be the most exciting thing and you’ll definitely get moaned at for something, maybe like, not doing your revision? giphy7

The Labour party (and Nicki Minaj) want to save you from tuition fees

The leaked Labour manifesto has been confirmed on Thursday by Jeremy Corbyn. It includes what John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor for the Labour Party, had revealed in Mansfield on the party’s plan to make education free. This would result in an investment of more than £20bn in English schools by 2022.

 

Jeremy Corbyn has always been sure about scrapping tuition fees; even in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto, in which they pledged to cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year, he later announced that they were going to eliminate them completely.

The manifesto states that Labour believes education should be free, and we will restore this principle. No one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt. There is a real fear that students are being priced out of university education. Last year saw the steepest fall in university applications for thirty years…Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees.”

 

 

University students not only won’t have to pay their yearly fee, but there are also plans to abolish unpaid internships, which will make work experience accessible to everyone.

 

 

Some say that the leak was made on purpose in order to draw attention to the leadership, while others believe it was arranged to destabilise it showing a deep division within the party itself.

What matters is that this certainly caught the attention of young voters between 18 and 24, who started sharing the news on Facebook. The voting age will be reduced to 16 because the party believes that at 16 you deserve a vote given that they are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army.

Theresa May has highly criticised the Labour’s manifesto, saying it would take Britain “back to the past” and bring “chaos” to the country. The British’s right-leaning press has had a similar reaction.

 

 

 

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Source: MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES FOR PEOPLE.COM

Meanwhile on Twitter, Nicki Minaj pledged to pay off fans’ student debt if they get straight A’s.

It all started with a 21-year-old student working two jobs who casually asked her to pay for his tuition after she was offering plane tickets for a contest.

 money friday nicki minaj cash nicki GIF

 

Within an hour, she made arrangements for around $30,000 (more than £23,000). This won’t be a one-time thing as the star has tweeted that she will do that again in a month or two. Her donations included summer schools and student loans.

Amanda and Alma, students at Texas Tech University give their view on the importance of what Nicki is doing for American students.

 

 

Even if Nicki did not say this is strictly for US students, here is something that could help understand the debt these students have to pay.

 

 

This is not the first time that she has supported education and has repeatedly told her fans to stay in school.

Let’s hope this will encourage other celebrities to help students as well.

 

De-stress with The University of Westminster

Kicking off exam season, the Student Union at the University of Westminster has organised a de-stress week that includes a nap room, free yoga classes and a handful of fluffy animals to deal with the stress of examinations.

According to a study by ChildLine in 2014, 58 per cent of counselling sessions in relation to school and education problems were about exam stress, a 200 per cent rise from the previous year. Now in 2017, It seems that the number is still rising as teens take to twitter to complain about their overbearing amount of work.

The Nap Room runs from May 8th to May 12th, and its Facebook event page can be found here. The Union started taking action due to the overwhelming amount of work students are facing with final year assessments and exam revision. One of the most famous and sold-out events of de-stress week is the puppy and bunny room, that allows students to play with adorable animals to calm them down from dissertations and final projects.

Pictures: University of Westminster Facebook Page

 

The University began the idea of bunny and puppy day last year and kept it this year due to the high demands. You can see the video of the day below.

Video: Smoke TV

With rising concern for exam stress and its effect on students, there is also a concern about eating disorders and self-harm being at a combined total of 34,000 people who use ChildLine yearly.

A press release from the University Health Awareness Day 2017 claims that, undergraduate students appear to have a lower sense of personal wellbeing than the rest of the population with 21% of students experiencing ‘low anxiety’ compared to 41% of the total population and 43% of the equivalent age group. [The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey, HEPI]

De-stress week at the University of Westminster will help with students mental health and focus on student successes during exam season.

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