Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Someone to Watch over You

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Someone to Watch over You

Article excerpt

GOING away to university is a big upheaval. Moving to a different city, meeting new people is all a lot to cope with - but there are people you can talk to about anything that might be bothering you.

All universities have a fulltime welfare officer in the Student Union - someone who is about your age and who will know what you are going through.

Welfare officers have been given the right training and can deal with many different issues. If they cannot solve your problem themselves, they will be able to point you in the direction of someone who can help.

Nigel Harris is education and welfare officer at University College London. Before taking up the position he spent a month in training, learning how to deal with everything from academic appeals to issues of harassment.

"I am not qualified to give professional advice, but I can pass students on to the right people," he says. "Often I find they want to talk to someone who is a student, who they can relate to, rather than a professional, so I can help in those instances.

"My role is also to represent any students who are having problems, for instance with their academic work or their tutors. I will help the student to build up a case and take it up with the college, communicating with them on behalf of the student."

Your university will also have a service where you can book an appointment with a trained counsellor.

"We have an experienced and well-trained team," says Ann Conlon, director of the counselling service at King's College, London. "When a student makes an appointment with the counselling service it is entirely confidential and we make it as easy and discreet as possible to come to see us."

For health-related worries, go to the college nurse. Do not forget to register with a doctor when you start university - most colleges will have a university practice that will be clued-up on student concerns. …

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