How to get help when you feel like you’re in too deep

It may be tempting to dismiss your hardship as another problem that isn’t important, but it’s vital that you speak up because people can only help you if they actually know what’s going on. Luckily, the University has a bunch of services targeted at helping you overcome your challenges and find success.

Speak with a Program Advisor

Program Advisors provide support and enrolment advice throughout your studies. They are here to:

  • Assist you to make the most out of the University’s free support with success planning
  • Assist with enrolment and progression planning
  • Help you create an individual plan for success at University of Newcastle
  • Check-in with you from time-to-time so that you stay on track
  • Talk you through your options if you want to take a break from your studies
  • Process credit applications
  • Process cross-institutional study and student exchange credit
  • Assist you with program variations due to changes in your circumstances and changes within your program
  • Work together with your Program Convenor to manage your enrolment and progression in line with the University’s policies and procedures

You can contact your Program Advisor via email: ProgramAdvice@newcastle.edu.au

OR if you’re a Pathways student – speak with a Student Liaison Officer

If you’re studying an Enabling Pathways program (Open Foundation, Yapug or Diploma) you should contact your dedicated Student Liaison Officer who can provide this support.

Your Student Liaison Officer at Pathways and Academic Learning Support is here to help you make the most of your experience in your enabling pathways program and can guide you through all aspects of your studies. From enrolment and course selection to exams, they’ll be able to provide personalised advice and connect you with support services, should you need them.

Catch-up with a Counsellor     

We spoke with Clinical Psychologist/Student Counsellor Dr. Emma Kerr, whose role involves working with students to help them resolve different challenges they may be facing.

“Some challenges might include academic problems such as anxiety, procrastination or perfectionism, problems with low mood, sleep difficulties, wanting to reduce drug or alcohol use, or relationship or family difficulties,” she said. “Alternatively, some students seek counselling to enhance their skills, relationships or wellbeing.”

All counsellors at the University are qualified as either a psychologist, clinical psychologist or social worker, so you know you’re in good hands.

Dr Kerr says the most important thing to remember when you’re struggling is that you’re not alone.

“Being a student is not always the cruisy ride often portrayed in the media or other student’s social media. Students are often juggling multiple challenges such as working to support themselves, high rent prices, maintaining some form of social life, navigating share house dynamics, pressure from themselves or others to perform well academically, maintaining or finding an intimate relationship, and possibly being away from family.”

Counselling & Psychological Services (CAPS) provide a range of free services, including consultations with a Wellbeing Advisor within a day or two, face to face and online counselling appointments, Online Drop In sessions via skype, after-hours phone support, and a range of resources to help students to improve their wellbeing and reach their academic potential. To request an appointment with a Counsellor or Wellbeing Advisor please complete our online form.

Once you have completed the form, we will contact you via phone or your University email. If you need assistance to complete the counselling registration form, please contact us on 4921 6622 or email counselling@newcastle.edu.au from Monday to Friday, between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Apply for Adverse Circumstances

Sometimes life unexpectedly throws something our way and we have to put uni on the backburner. This is where adverse circumstances kicks in. You can apply for adverse circumstances if you have:

  • Unavoidable commitments (eg religious commitments)
  • A serious injury or death of a close friend or family member
  • Hardship, including sudden unemployment, family breakdown, or a severe disruption to your living arrangements
  • Trauma, not limited to the impact of crime or accident and natural disasters
  • Health grounds, including physical illness and psychological issues

Students are required to submit a personal statement with their application but do not need supporting documentation for this semester. Once your application is processed, you will receive an email to your student email account with the outcome of your application. You can log into the adverse circumstances system in myUNI.

Just Ask

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Sometimes just telling someone can be a massive burden off your shoulder.

“When things are tough it can be tempting to bury yourself in a bucket of ice cream or do the doona dive and hide from the world, however when you emerge from this cocoon the problem is likely to still remain,” says Dr Kerr.

She recommends staying actively engaged with the University, and attending events designed to help you stay on track, such as Stress Less activities.

Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. Even if you feel like you’re not achieving the goals you want, self-criticism won’t get you anywhere.

According to Dr Kerr, “Self-compassion is like a muscle that strengthens with practice – so be patient with yourself and keep practicing.”

Leave a Reply