Feeling anxious about returning to campus? We’re here to help

For University students, the last year and a half has been a very anxious and unsure time. Ultimately, returning to on-campus learning is a benefit for most student’s education, but it can be a tricky time at all levels of study. Although some people may be looking forward eagerly to the return of on campus study, others may be more nervous at the thought of getting back to “normality” after such a long time away. The University is here to assist you in any way that they can to try and make this the most comfortable and enjoyable experience it can be. 

Due to the pandemic, you may not have had many chances to connect with people that also go to the university or your course mates. Try and connect with people, as feeling like you are in it alone has the chance of increasing your anxiety. The best way to meet new people is by getting involved in Beds SU or one of the sporting teams

Whether you have an existing mental health problem, or you’re starting to find things difficult, the pandemic has put a huge amount of extra strain on students. Take a look at the below Student Minds article for more advice about returning to campus after the pandemic. 

Student Minds

If you are struggling and you need some help from the University, there are many different avenues to do this.

  • If you have symptoms of Covid or find that you are positive then you should get in touch with returntocampus@beds.ac.uk for support with this and assistance. 
  • If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed you can get support with our counselling services for extra support and help (counselling@beds.ac.uk). They can help with a wide range of issues and help come up with solutions jointly to minimise the issue. 
  • The mental health team can also support any student who feels they are overwhelmed and that it is effecting their mental health negatively. They can be contacted at mentalhealth@beds.ac.uk. They can support and give advice and also direct you to any other university or community services that may be useful. 
  • There is also currently an option to apply for online studying between September 2021 – December 2021 for students with exceptional circumstances. For more information, please email return.campus@beds.ac.uk

Compiled by Daisie Johnson (Return to Campus Advisor)

Essential Tips for Students with Caring and Parenting Responsibilities

Written by: Laura Tamara – Co-President, Beds SU

As a student carer, you may be caring for a family member or friend while studying. The person you are caring for may have needs which require considerable support due to an illness, disability or for a different reason.

As a student parent, you may be biological, adoptive or step, a foster carer, or a legally appointed guardian.

Balancing caring responsibilities whilst studying may feel challenging at times, but the benefits are great. Studying provides fresh opportunities to meet new people and change your environment. Aspiring for your future is a great way to enrich your journey in life.

At Beds SU, we understand that caring responsibilities could affect your finances, health, academic attainment, relationships and change your circumstances. If you are experiencing any of these, please access support from our team

Essential tips for Students Carers/Parents

I have first-hand experience of being a student parent, so here are some personal recommendations for those who are about to become student carer/parents themselves:

  • Carpe Diem – cease the day. Procrastination is the enemy of success, and the early bird catches the worm. Set an alarm, wake up and get moving as early as possible to increase your productivity levels. 
  • Create a workspace in your home and use it to read, think and write. Use a calendar to manage your time and schedule assignment deadlines. 
  • If you feel comfortable to do so, tell others about your caring responsibilities. It often helps to talk to others. Finding some like-minded support is crucial to staying motivated and focused.  Accept support from others whether it emotionally or practically everyone needs a friend.
  • Inform the university of your caring responsibilities before you begin your studies. When you start your course, familiarise yourself with teaching staff and inform them of your caring responsibilities also. You don’t have to feel shy about sharing this information with the University of Bedfordshire or us at Beds Student Union. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the interruption of studies policy in case you have a change of circumstances and need to take a break. If it is all getting to be too much then do come and talk to discuss options for you.
  • Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point in their academic journey, this is perfectly normal. Provided you are not constantly feeling this way, it could be an opportunity to stretch yourself and master time management. 
  • A significant percentage of our students are considered mature and aged (21 or over on the first day of studies). Enjoy socialising with the diverse and varied students we have at Beds.
  • The University library is an awesome place and I recommend spending time there. Familiarise yourself with the e-books and other resources available online.

Best of luck

Laura Tamara X

The Brand New ‘Beds SU Housing Guide’ is Here

Finding housing during your studies can be challenging.

Knowing your rights and the rules that you and your landlord need to adhere to when entering into a tenancy agreement can take time. 

To help you through the process of finding somewhere to live, Beds SU has put together a Housing Guide which contains details on the above, as well as information for those who intend to share a home with other occupants.

Don’t forget, we’re always here to help. Beds SU’s Advice Service can help you to understand your rights, contracts and much more. Simply email us on help@bedssu.co.uk

The Sunflower Scheme – Supporting Individuals with Hidden Disabilities

The Sunflower Scheme is a global initiative aimed at offering individuals with hidden disabilities a simple way to make their invisible impairment visible through the wearing of a lanyard, wristband or presenting a card displaying the sunflower logo.

Beds SU is a member of the Sunflower Scheme

Beds SU proudly signed up to support the Sunflower Scheme in 2020, training all staff to recognise the ways in which individuals may need extra help to access our services or venues in the hope of ensuring individuals with hidden disabilities feel more comfortable in our spaces.  You don’t have to wear the sunflower however to ‘prove’ your disability, Beds SU believes in self-identification and so be assured you can ask for help anytime.

How and where to access support? 

You can buy an official lanyard, card or wristband from the organisers of the scheme and if you chose to can wear it or present it to Beds SU staff who will talk with you about the support you need in a safe and confidential place and then offer any assistance we can. 

The sunflower isn’t only recognised within your SU, but in a growing number of transport hubs (e.g. airports) and public spaces (e.g. shopping centres), check out the ‘find the sunflower’ locator on the site for details on all businesses supporting the scheme near you. 

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people that you may need additional support, help or a little more time – this may include around communal areas, social spaces or catering outlets on campus. The lanyard and scheme does not entitle you to additional study support.  If you require additional support with your studies, please contact disability@beds.ac.uk or visit www.beds.ac.uk 

If you would like to tell us how we can make your experience better please contact us here or email us

Don’t Miss Out: Additional Support for Your Studies

Did you receive additional support at school or college? Did you disclose a disability on your application form? You may be eligible for additional support at University.

Disclosed a disability?

The Health & Wellbeing Team (Disability) will have emailed you and asked you to register with the team so we can put your support in place before your course starts.

If you haven’t responded, DO IT NOW!

Didn’t disclose a disability but think you may be eligible?

Email disability@beds.ac.uk and request a registration form.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)

These awards provide equipment, software, specialist 1:1 support and contributions towards travel costs depending on assessed need. These awards are not means-tested.

The application process is very simple – just follow the link from your student loan account. You will need to provide evidence.

More information can be found on the UK Government website.

If you haven’t already applied, DO IT NOW!

You may not receive your award before the beginning of your course. The process can take up to 14 weeks but do not delay any longer. 

Email the team at disability@beds.ac.uk if you’re unsure and have any queries.

Find out more

More information about how the Health & Wellbeing Team supports students can be found on the University’s website.

‘I Think I May Have Dyslexia’ – Talk To Us!

Sky completed an MA Education (Special Educational Needs) at the University of Bedfordshire. She spoke to Prospects.ac.uk about how she discovered she had Dyslexia.

“My postgraduate degree taught me that I am dyslexic. During my undergraduate degree I was always slower than my friends at completing assignments and I just shrugged it off.

“Although I gained a 2:1 for my undergraduate degree, I was unhappy knowing that I should have looked in to why I always missed out on the high grades for essays.

“When I began my postgraduate degree I visited the Student Support Desk and explained my feelings and they offered me a dyslexia test. The test showed that I have some characteristics of dyslexia and they arranged for me to have a formal diagnostic assessment with a qualified psychologist.

“Following my diagnosis, I received a tutor who was able to support me with work. I went on to achieve a Masters with distinction. If you feel like you’re struggling or have any concerns, please talk to your Student Support Team.”

Find out more: Read the full interview with Sky on Prospects.ac.uk

You may have experienced difficulties with your studies and think you have dyslexia. Or your school or college may have suggested that you might have dyslexia but they were unable to offer you a diagnostic assessment.

You could be missing out on extra support that can help you achieve your goals.

The University offers Dyslexia screening for students who have been struggling with their learning and want to understand why.

The team also supports students with other additional study support needs that may arise from a disability, a long term medical condition (including mental health), specific learning difficulties such as ADHD and social communication conditions like autism.

Don’t miss out!

Contact the Health & Wellbeing Team (Disability) to find out how we can enable you to reach your full potential.

Advice & Support: There’s always someone on hand to help

Student life is an exciting new chapter, a place where you get to learn, meet friends and experience new opportunities. However, it can at times be challenging and daunting when you’re not sure how to navigate an obstacle or issue you may encounter.

Here at Beds SU, we have a friendly, dedicated team who offer students free, impartial and confidential advice and support on a variety of aspects of student life to help you through any issue you may face during your time at university.

Our ambition is to educate and empower students. We want you to fully understand your rights around all aspects of your student experience and have the confidence to challenge issues. 

We can offer advice and support on a wide range of issues
We can offer advice and support on a wide range of issues

How can we help you?

We’re here for you on matters including:

  • Academic appeals
  • Academic misconduct
  • Fitness to Practice/Disciplinary hearings
  • University complaints
  • Housing 
  • Wellbeing
  • Safety
  • Finance

How to reach our Advice team

The team have been working tirelessly over the past few months to ensure that despite not being able to offer face-to-face sessions at present, there are still a number of ways you can speak with them that suit your needs:

  • Email  – help@bedssu.co.uk
  • Request a video/phone call
  • Go to an online Advice Drop-in session

Go to the Beds SU website to find out more about our current service status and how you can get in touch.

Beds SU is easily reachable by phone
Beds SU is easily reachable by phone

Where else to go for support

On the Beds SU website, you’ll find lots of helpful guides covering academic appeals, student conduct and complaints to wellbeing and finance. Just click the ‘Get Help’ button in the bottom right of every page to access these guides.

There will also be an opportunity to access a growing library of advice related videos on the Beds SU YouTube channel. Keep an eye on the website and our social media pages for more details.

The team also have close links with a variety of external organisations to ensure you have access to all the relevant advice and support you require. 

Find out more

For more information visit the Advice section of the Beds SU website.