Where to turn if your first weeks of student life don't go to plan
Wednesday 03 October 2012
Chances are the biggest problem you will encounter when you start university will be a bout of Fresher’s flu and an inability to find your lecture theatre.
However, occasionally, more difficult problems do occur during your time away from home. So, just in case, we’ve compiled a rundown of the most useful sites and places to go for any drama you might have.
If you arrive to find that your university accommodation is lacking a bed, or there is no hot water, The Student Accommodation Code can help, as it exists to protect students’ rights to good quality accommodation. The website has a full list of the buildings covered, and can help with any accommodation-related issue, from a broken boiler to noisy neighbours.
Cash can often be tough when you start university, but for financial advice, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau can offer general help on money and benefits through its website or face-to-face appointments. The website contains a list of local CAB offices.
Becoming ill in the first few weeks of university term is not uncommon, but if you have serious concerns about your health, NHS Choices is a comprehensive site with answers to medical queries, which can also signpost you to the nearest doctor.
If you are struggling to make the adjustment to university life and are not quite feeling like yourself, perhaps choosing to spend time by yourself, then Depression Alliance has tools and resources to help, and people to talk to.
At some point it is likely that you’ll encounter someone who uses drugs. Have a look at ‘Talk to Frank’ which provides all the facts and advice on what to do if someone has a bad experience or if you feel pressured into joining them.
There has been significant coverage in the media with regards to the changes to the student finance system; to find out more information as to how the system works in practice and how much you will be asked to repay when you graduate, visit http://www.studentfinance2012.com/resources
In addition to these reference sites, universities and student unions have professionally trained staff to help with any query or worry you may have, and chances are they will have a ready-made or reassuring answer to your situation.
Lastly, don’t be fearful of asking - that’s what these sites are there for.
Bryan Carroll is chair of Universities UK/Guild HE student accommodation code of practice sector advisory group, and assistant director of estates and facilities at Southampton Solent University.
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