To everyone who is suffering from a loss of motivation and a sense of dread at the thought of returning to online learning in Term 2, you are not alone. Speaking to my friends these last couple of days it seems that there is a universal exhaustion, frustration and general fed-upness with online studies.
This year has been quite frankly, a train-wreck for uni students. Leading on from last year’s missed hours due to strike action, early termination of uni and lockdown, this year has shown it is not to be beaten. It has been full of disorganisation, a lack of support, several lock-downs and a missing no detriment policy. On top of that, the lack of motivation, feelings of anger and exasperation as all years feel that they have been cheated out of a proper uni experience and education is more palpable than ever.
Even as I write this I am aware that I have essays due, lectures to watch and readings to complete and can’t help but feel disappointed in myself that I have no desire to attempt any of them. However, in the same conversations with friends, it became clear that this year is not the year to find the spark that makes you fall in love with your degree or to discover your purpose in life (although it’s absolutely wonderful if you can do that).
No, it became clear that this year (and term) much like the one before, is about survival. It is about doing your best and taking the necessary action to make it out of this chaos alive. Therefore I thought I would share a list of things that I have gathered that have helped with online uni this year. Before I start I would like to state that I am not a mental health professional, and the following tips are in no way a solution to everything. We all have different approaches that work for us, and if you think that the tips are a steaming pile of rubbish I don’t mind (I promise). I do not want to disregard anyone’s experiences and as always if you need help please seek it. There will be a list of resources, both specific and non-specific to UCL later on.
- Do the work.
It must be done. The essence of self-care is about doing what you need to do to survive and make the most of your degree, and sometimes it can be unpleasant, boring and gruesome, especially when you’re tackling that assessment that you’ve been putting off. It is hard, but it is super important. We all understand and relate, so please as always be patient and compassionate to yourself. You don’t need to get everything done and beat yourself up about not having done the extra readings and score 100% in everything that you do – the smallest dent made into the work can be a big accomplishment and make you feel on top of things. After you’ve crossed something off of your list, make sure you treat yourself.
- Utilise Your Tutors
Tutors are invaluable, especially this year with reduced contact hours. So please, book those office hours and send the emails with all your questions about the content that you are finding difficult.
- Make the Most of Your Coursemates.
Coursemates are essential to survival, not only can you share notes and help each other academically. However, sometimes having a good old moan with them about how terrible this year has been can be wonderful. In small doses, a rant can facilitate bonding, alleviate stress, help to gain a different perspective and generate solutions. Sharing feelings, pointing out if something is not right or instrumental complaining is healthy. It’s great to have people who understand your frustrations.
- Make the Most of Support Available.
In a year where we all feel that we haven’t received the full bang for our buck from UCL, it is important to try and make the most of the services they offer, even if they do not quite meet up to the standards we demand from them. Following is a list of UCL Related mental health and wellbeing resources offered on the website:
Seeing An Adviser – Student Support and Wellbeing are here if you have any issues with your health, disability or wellbeing – you can easily make an appointment to speak to a member of the caring team, and a mixture of short same day appointments and longer slots are available.
Student Psychological and Counselling Services – The service is intended to provide short-term counselling, psychiatric support and group workshops to help you manage a range of personal, emotional and psychological concerns. Unable to provide support for long-term conditions or in the event of a crisis situation.
Care First – Care First, is an independent advice and counselling service, to provide telephone and online support in the evenings and for 24 hours during weekends, bank holidays and UCL closure periods.
Student Union Advice Service – The Student Union Advice Service offers free, confidential and independent advice and support service on a range of issues such as academic, housing, employment, money/debt and many other personal university matters.
Non UCL Related.
Samaritans – Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.
Mind – Mind offers advice, support and information to people experiencing a mental health difficulty and their family and friends.
InfoLine: 0300 123 3393 to call, or text 86463
PAPYRUS – PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They support young people under 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as people concerned about someone else. Their HopelineUK service is open 9am-midnight every day of the year (including weekends and bank holidays).
Helpline: 0800 068 4141