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October 31, 2022 (Updated April 5th, 2024)

Student Services – Discover Those Which Can Support You

by Caragh Medlicott posted in DSA, Neurodiversity, Students.

Ayoa | Student Services – Discover Those Which Can Support You
Being a student is a unique and wonderful experience, but it also comes with a lot of pressure. Between juggling studies, social life and other day-to-day activities, keeping all the plates spinning often leads to stress and overwhelm.

So many students are unaware of the many student support services available to help them make the most of their time in higher education. These services are useful for all students, but can also be especially beneficial for neurodivergent students (those who have neurological differences related to conditions such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia) as they supplement an education style which can sometimes be rigid and limiting.

Plus, not only do these services help you improve academically, they can also be a huge boost to your wellbeing by enabling you to better manage your time and optimising the time you already spend working. So, whatever area you’re looking to improve in, keep reading to discover the student services which can support you throughout your time at university and serve you far into the future, too.

Writing skills

Students know better than anyone that writing an essay is an art. Whether it’s constructing your main thesis, figuring out a cogent structure or getting down into the nitty-gritty of the language of the sentences themselves, your overall writing performance can be enhanced by learning to fine-tune each of these areas. Equally, the same methodology can be applied to exams, too, enabling you to express your knowledge clearly and succinctly even when under pressure.

Student writing skills services facilitate improvement in each of these areas through workshops and advice sheets, providing you with both in-person support and tasks which can help you improve in your own time at home. The writing skills student service can be especially helpful for international students for whom English isn’t a first language, as well as neurodivergent students with a condition such as dyslexia who may find their ability to translate good ideas into a written format somewhat limited or challenging. Often, such a service will actually recommend mind mapping as a starting point for extracting ideas, before adding structure to them, and then finally fleshing them out into well presented arguments in a written form. A handy tool to make this even easier is Ayoa’s Word export from mind maps!

Work experience

Work experience might sometimes seem a daunting prospect when already managing your academic workload, but fitting some time in for career experience over summer or the holidays is an amazing idea. Not only does it look great on your CV, it can also help you to build crucial skills which are not always easily learned in an academic environment. Going to student services to get help with work experience applications will make the entire process much smoother and stress-free. There, they will be able to recommend upcoming opportunities and provide guidance on how to apply for them.

For neurodivergent individuals, student services may be able to help in not only sourcing ND-friendly organisations but in tackling any application forms which are, for whatever reason, not as accessible as they should be. Remember, if the thought of figuring out what you want to do after uni fills you with dread, the beauty of work experience is that it will allow you to try out different careers without requiring the same level of commitment, so if you’re feeling unsure, give it a go and just jump in!

Time management

Einstein famously said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Time management is about more than getting up early and making a to do list, it’s actually more to do with strategy, finding a personalised routine which optimises the times you naturally perform at your best.

Student services will help you with time budgeting by finding out how many contact hours you have a week and how best to arrange time for additional reading, study and work around that. Here, you will be able to find the balance between time management adapted specifically to you and famed techniques which work for people all over the world. This advice can be especially helpful for students with ADHD, who can learn to work with their energy peaks while learning to rest in natural slumps – student services will likely have plenty of first-hand experiences with other ADHD students to help best instruct you.

Study skills

Your school at university is likely excellent at teaching you all about the subject pertaining to your degree, but perhaps not so good at teaching you about the method of learning itself. After all, what use is attending all your lectures if the knowledge just slips right out of your head after a few weeks? Because we’ve been so seldom taught the art of real studying skills, many students find that revision becomes a kind of randomised, floundering act filled with endless notes and flashcards.

Making use of the study skills student service at your uni can change all that. They will be able to offer expert guidance on everything from memory techniques to enable you to better revise and learn, through to crucial critical thinking skills. This is all in addition to help with the complex and confusing mechanics which often come along with university work, such as referencing, research and the avoidance of plagiarism. This support can really lift a weight of stress when juggling academic work, particularly for neurodivergent students who may find the emphasis on linear, non-visual assessment methods to be daunting.

Mental health

Last but certainly not least, almost all university student services offer mental health support. We have become increasingly aware of the importance of mental wellbeing culturally. This applies hugely to students, who – whether due to homesickness, work or something else – may be more prone to emotional struggles. Neurodivergent students, too, may find that alienation and ignorance surrounding their condition can be draining, sometimes leading to strain or mental difficulties.

At student services, you can find tiered levels of support for mental health. Whether you require a bit of advice on techniques which might be used to improve your day-to-day wellbeing (such as exercise and meditation) or contact with a counsellor, there are a range of levels of support available to suit your individual needs. Never forget that roughly half of all adults will experience mental health problems in their lifetime and struggling is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Being open and admitting when you need help is the best way to improve your personal wellbeing.

Student services are so rarely used or talked about, but they exist solely to improve your university experience and ensure you get the best from this formative time of study and growth – why not get in touch with your university’s student services today?

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Caragh Medlicott

Caragh Medlicott is a freelance writer and interim Editor of Wales Arts Review. After graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University she began a full-time writing career in Wales. She is the author of several published short stories and was shortlisted for the Lunate 500 award in December 2020, and a finalist in Narrative’s 30 Below competition in 2021. She is a regular contributor to BBC Wales' The Review Show.

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