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

Support & Report: Creating a safe and inclusive environment

The University is a diverse, outward looking and inclusive place to study, live and work, and we actively promote respect, tolerance and inclusion. We are all responsible for our own actions and behaviour and when you join our community at Bedfordshire, you are signing up to abide by our Code of Conduct.

We are also committed to ensuring our staff and students feel comfortable and safe as part of our community.

Support and Report 

If you witness or have been a victim of any incidents of bullying, harassment or assault it is really important that you report this to us. We are here to support you and we have trained Advisors who can help with reporting an incident or crime to the police and/or other external agencies, as necessary.

‘Support and Report’ is a centralised point of contact for all student and staff to share their concerns about any offensive, threatening or anti-social behaviour, on or off campus. It enables confidential (and anonymous) reporting of incidents and referral to relevant teams to ensure the appropriate follow up and action is taken.

It is important to assess the situation:

  • Are you or others in immediate danger? If so, you must call 999 immediately.
  • If there is no immediate risk, and you want to raise a concern about a non-critical situation, report this by contacting supportandreport@beds.ac.uk

How to Get Support if You Have a Mental Health Condition

Did you know you can get additional support for your studies if you have a mental health condition?  

Reasonable adjustments such as extra time in exams may be agreed to help you manage your studies. Information about how the University supports students with mental health conditions is available on the University’s website.

You may also be eligible for an award from Disabled Students Allowances (DSA). The award could pay for 1:1 support from a specialist mentor as well as equipment and software to support your study. More information can be found on the UK Government.

Need to talk to someone?

If you would like to talk to someone about your support needs, please email us at mentalhealth@beds.ac.uk and request an appointment with the Mental Health Advisor.

Alex’s journey to well-being

A former student talks about how the support provided by the University helped her achieve her goals.

Higher Education in the UK

A warm welcome to our new international students

Read our guide on what to expect when you arrive and what you need to do in your first few weeks with us.

Please make sure you read and respond to any emails from the University before you arrive, so we can help you to settle in.

A new and exciting challenge

When you get to the UK as an international student, studying may seem very different to studying at home.

Depending on what you’re studying, what level you’re studying at and where you’re studying you may be faced with having to do things differently than what you’re used to.

For example, you may be responsible for managing your own research and time, instead of being prescribed set work. You may have coursework to complete in your own time, or you may have a number of exams to test your understanding.

Take a look at the advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Student Money Advice Team: Help with managing your money

The Student Money Advice Team at the University are here to offer advice and guidance to students on a variety of financial areas:

  1. Advice on managing your money, budgeting and monitoring of spending
  2. Support with financial entitlements to Student Finance England Funding
  3. Access to Scholarships and Bursaries 
  4. Support to students who are Care Leavers or Estranged from family
  5. Advice on extra sources of income, including the Access to Learning Fund and the NHS Learning Support Fund 
  6. Advise on the financial implications for changing your course or repeating studies

Read on for more information about these areas.

Advice on managing your money, budgeting and monitoring of spending

Here are our basic top saving money tips:

Support with financial entitlements to Student Finance England Funding

If you need help with your Student Finance England Funding, please get in touch. It’s important you apply and respond to any further information requests quickly to ensure the processing of your application is a swift as possible. If there are delays we can sometimes assist with emergency Access to Learning Fund support.

More information can be found on the University’s Student Support site.

Access to Scholarships and Bursaries 

You could be eligible for a scholarship or bursary. Check out the Student Support website for more information.

The Team can also advise you on scholarships and bursaries you may be eligible to apply for throughout the academic year, email sab@beds.ac.uk or log an enquiry through the Student Information Desk (SiD). We’ll do our best to assist you.

Support to students who are Care Leavers or Estranged from family

Care Leaver Students under 25 who are “open to care” and supported by their local authority will be eligible for the Care Leavers’ Bursary, providing they meet the right criteria. Contact sab@beds.ac.uk for support with this.

Advice on extra sources of income, including the Access to Learning Fund and the NHS Learning Support Fund 

The University has an Access to Learning Fund (ALF), which is designed to help eligible students if they fall into financial hardship whilst studying. More information about the scheme and how to apply can be found here.

It’s also important that you’ve applied to all the sources of income you’re entitled to. Some courses such as Healthcare or Social Work have SFE funds you can apply for and you may also be eligible for additional funding from the NHS.

Students with a disabilities and mental health concerns may be entitled to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). Contact the team for assistance with this via studentmoney@beds.ac.uk

Advice on the financial implications for changing your course or repeating studies

Please do arrange to speak to one of our advisors if you find yourself wanting to change course, or repeating academic units. There could be a financial implication to this and we’d like to be able to ensure you have all the information before you make any decisions. Arrange to speak to us by booking an appointment through SID online or email studentmoney@beds.ac.uk

Find out more

For more information and guidance, please check out our Student Money webpages.

What Student Support Services are Available?

The University provides a wide range of support to our students.

Student Support Services

Here is an overview of our six key teams that can help if your studies are being impacted by any difficulties you are facing.

Watch our video and find out how the Student Engagement & Mitigation Teams can help you.

Mental Health

If you decide that you would like to talk to someone specifically about your mental health and how it is affecting you, why not make an appointment with the Mental Health Support Team.

All information about students who access the service is treated in a confidential manner.

For more information please visit our Mental Wellbeing page.  

Disability Support

We work with students with a range of disabilities including sensory and physical impairments and specific learning difficulties. We will help students all year round from application and throughout your course.

You can find out more about our service by visiting our Disability Support page.

Student Money Advice

The Student Money Advice team offers confidential financial advice, information and support. If you have any money worries, our advisors are able to give you general advice on a range of issues and will point you towards alternative sources of funding that may be available.

For more information, please visit our Student Money Advice page.

Community and Faith

The Community and Faith team offer a range of spiritual and social activities and host a variety of groups. Our Community and Faith teams’ welcome people of all faiths and beliefs and offer personal and spiritual support to students from over 100 countries.

For more information, visit our Community and Faith page.

Student Engagement

The Student Engagement Team are here to help and advise students who are having difficulties with their academic studies. 

To book an appointment with a Student Engagement Advisor please contact us via the Student Information Desk (SID) on 0300 300 0042 or email sid@beds.ac.uk.

Mitigation Team

The University appreciates that sometimes unforeseen situations outside of your control may prevent you from carrying out your academic work. These are referred to as mitigating circumstances and in some cases you can apply for extensions to your assessment deadlines.

For more information about what to do in these circumstances, take a look at our Mitigation Process