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