Our Student Wellbeing team is currently preparing for the exam and assessment period during the summer term. We recently caught up with Lee to discover more about the stressbuster sessions the team run for students, as well as finding out about the other ways in which they provide support throughout the year.
1. Could you tell us about yourself and your role within Student Wellbeing?
I am the Head of Student Wellbeing in the Student Advisory and Wellbeing department. I have been here since December 2018 so am relatively new to Royal Holloway and still finding my way, but one term in, I am really pleased with the work we have done this term in supporting students on a range of issues. I manage the Student wellbeing and community wellbeing teams.
2. What services does the Student Wellbeing team offer students?
The Student Wellbeing team for many students is a first port of call for when something may not be going well. We are here to support the physical, emotional and wellbeing issues that students can experience and we offer support, guidance and advice. We support students from the very beginning in their transition to university life and the various ups and downs that student life can bring. We meet with students for a variety of reasons from those struggling with homesickness, exam and study pressures, mental health issues, motivation and right through to helping students who have fallen out with their friends! We act as a triage service to get students in the right support service within the wider department like counselling or to external support services. Very often, with the students permission we will then work with their academic department in trying to help them get things on track. Students can self refer to us and our services or if you are a friend, member of staff or parent/supporter you can contact us too.
The community wellbeing team manages our 'Be a good neighbour' campaign and we work with the police and local authority in ensuring that our students and the local residents can live side by side in the wider community. We are able to support students in their transition to moving into the local community and the responsibilities that this comes with (taking out the bins, parking etc). Sometimes this involves us having to speak to students about house parties and disturbing neighbours.
3. With the exam and assessment period approaching soon, we understand that your team run stressbuster sessions for students. Could you tell us more about these?
On Wednesday 15 May we have stressbusters coming up, we are busy planning for this so we will have lots of things happening including; a petting zoo to help students relax and take a break during the exam period, we will have external guests and visitors here to hold wellbeing stalls, including volunteers from Nightline – the student run helpline. Our wellbeing advisors will also be on hand before, during and after to help students who are struggling with exam anxiety and stress.
4. Has the team got anything else planned for the summer term?
This term we will be really busy seeing students, many of them will come to us as they sometimes feel overwhelmed with deadlines and panicking about work. We will continue to support these students, help them plan, and give them the best tools to help when they are feeling overwhelmed. We are also working with our colleagues in Hall Life to help spread the message on 'Be a good Neighbour' for those students that will be moving from Halls to the private rented sector next year. Finally, we are planning for the next academic year on our future campaigns for preventative wellbeing education across the whole academic year.
5. What do you enjoy most about working within the Student Wellbeing team?
The best thing is that it is a wonderful supportive environment where we all share the common goal to try help, support and guide students into being the best that they can be. We are really privileged to be able to support the students and see them go on a journey to a better wellbeing place. The biggest reward is being able to see the difference that we (as a team) have made in getting someone from a really low point in their life to a much better place. We can see a student first in the wellbeing team and they might be in a really bad headspace, but with the correct support and time from all our colleagues in Student Advisory and Wellbeing you can see a difference over time and that is really rewarding.
6. What is your favourite term on campus and why?
I have only completed the Spring campus so far but going from my past experience I have always really liked the first term as you have all the new students and excitement alongside the returning students who after a long break are happy to be back and see their friends.
7. If you could go on a holiday to anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
I am a big fan of cruises (everything you want on one ship) and have been lucky enough to go to a lot of places in the world so I would opt for a long cruise that would end up in Australia. I have been to Australia before and had the best time, so I would like to go back and see my friends and then get to explore a little bit more including the Neighbours tour in Melbourne.