Spare a thought for the undergrads

Second term of your first year at uni; time of your life. Yes you have to work, but you have no exams and the ones next term don’t normally count towards your final grade, you just need enough to get you through to the second year. You’ve started to make friends and gotten used to being away from home. Um….apparently not. Facinating article by Louise Tickle in todays Guardian about the way the return to uni for the Spring term can be hardest. Leicester Uni has been doing some interesting research which I think anybody who is either a parent with kids going to uni, or involved in working with or supporting HE students needs to get a handle on.

Interesting paragraph aswell was, “While universities may assume that anyone who has successfully negotiated their first year will manage fine in their second and third, Cashmore says that as the video diary study has gone on, it’s become apparent that students have to constantly adjust and readjust to changing social and academic demands throughout their university career. Recurring themes in the diaries included worries over settling into new accommodation, coping with new personal relationships and adapting to new styles of teaching and learning.”

My own comments in light of this type of research would be it just highlights why student chaplaincy’s and welfare are an important resource and should be supported and not cut back on. Similarly I feel the same about hospital and prison chaplaincy which help people through times of stressful change. Universities, as with other publically and privately funded institutions (including one suspects churches) are going to have to increasingly make cuts and decide where to best deploy resources. I think research like this shows that welfare is not an area to cut back on. The work that goes on in these areas supports the achievement of the statistics our public institutions are measured by; in this case retention and achievement.

About tractorgirl

Hi my name is Sally Rush: I'm a Christian, a mother, a community engagement officer, a listener, a dreamer, a partner, an experienced teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister and so much more.

7 thoughts on “Spare a thought for the undergrads

  1. A fascinating article indeed; and great thoughts [as usual] by yourself. Continued prayers for you and your studies.

    I may’ve asked this before…failing memory. Is moving away to go to uni the norm in the UK? Living in a city like Sydney with a number of unis, most people I knew/know stayed at home and commuted in.

  2. Ian, yes, moving away to go to University is the norm, although with the current system of student loans replacing grants and the financial situation of many families, it’s moving more towards living at home and going to the local university. A sad move, I think. I have told the Smudgelet that I expect him to go away to study.

    I always found the second term the hardest, and the second term of the second year the hardest by far. It was a bit of a nothingness. Long, dull weather, novelty worn off but not the motivation of exams to focus on, everyone feeling a bit the same so that sense rubbing off on everyone else. Christmas over but summer an eternity away. Mundane. The time I was most likely to feel homesick.

    Mind you, that was only in comparison with the rest of the year. I loved University.

  3. Its ten years since my second term at uni, and I still remember so much that lost, forgotten, awful feeling as I stood waiting for term to begin to realise that the friendship group I made in the first term weren’t really interested. Waiting on the cobbles (TG may know where I mean) a third year walked in who I vaguely knew from musicy stuff. ‘Will you help me unpack my room?’ she asked. She was two years above me and that day led to her being one of my best friends, for which I’m truly grateful.

    Ian – its very much the norm over here. Only around 20% of undergraduates stay at home to study (and that’s skewed towards working class and ethnic minority students). Our uni system is both very similar and very different to yours, but the main thing that encourages this is that funding is, in many cases, more generous to students who live away from home (students get maintenance loans which increase if they’re living away from home). My new (uni) boss is ex-Sydney, so I’m getting to find out alot about differences between the systems!

  4. Since my first breakdown occurred between the first and second terms of my second year at university, I can only echo sentiments already expressed. I wonder what would have happened if I’d made it back …

  5. Thanks to the two of you who explained the UK system and thanks for sharing bits of your stories.

  6. In the Glasgow universities it is very common though for students to live at home – I wondered if it was a Scottish thing but I met a St Andrews student and he said the reason he chose there rather than Glasgow was the high proportion of home-based students at Glasgow, so I don’t think it was a feature there. Lots of the London university colleges too have home-based students – I guess it’s a reflection on the cost of living.

Comments are closed.