A woman in a support services role smiling at a male student sitting opposite her desk

University Support Services for Squeaky-Wheels

Although your wheels have not come off, perhaps they are noticeably squeaky and need an oil; you don’t need to be struggling to access support services. 

As rhythmically as the change in seasons the year used to have, by now most of us are finding ourselves in something of a uni/life groove. There are some of us (the exceptions of the time management poor cliche of a student) that achieve a full and complete work/uni/social life balance – somehow attending all required uni hours and sleeping the sleep of the just. For the rest of us mere mortals, we do our best.   

A meme of Marge Simpson admiring a poster of a cat holding onto a clothing line with the words "Hang in there, baby"
Classic Simpsons eases the pain. Sourced from https://imgflip.com/tag/marge+simpson?sort=top-2017 

Gigs are not just for musos anymore – the gig economy is the norm, and most of us are doing what we can to scrape by for a bit of coin and a little dignity. Social life? I remember my Sims had that, I used to play that game when I had leisure time. Leisure time? No time, you need to sleep, NOW, if you are going to function tomorrow. Rinse and repeat. You will probably get through it, it’s just a few months of unpleasantness, right? Besides, other people have way bigger problems. Then you say to yourself, “I’d just be taking away resources from someone who needs it more than I do.” 

Dr Jacqueline Olley, Senior Manager of Counselling and Psychological Services, gave me a run down on the levels of support available through University Support Services. 

“We have a number of different support options with varying levels of input. For instance, you can visit  Counselling and Psychological Services for a number of self-directed resources and information, which could add extra support without needing to book an appointment. Also, the University of Newcastle has recently partnered with TalkCampus which is a peer support-based app where students come together from around the world and give and get support within a safe, supportive environment. TalkCampus can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play.” 

Dr Olley advised me that students will be able to access an appointment with Counselling and Psychological Services often within a fortnight, once the student has obtained the appropriate medical documents. 

“Students can complete the Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) online formand they will usually receive an individual response within a few hours with suggestions about relevant and appropriate support options including self-help resources, phone support, specialist organisations, or individual appointments with university-based services.” 

She has also said there is an option for students outside of business hours, “ 

 The University of Newcastle operates an after hours support phone line between 5 pm to 9 am weekdays, and 24 hours over the weekends and public holidays.” 

Obviously, one of the major stressors in anyone’s life is often related to money, or lack thereof. But, it’s okay, the university also has financial support services.

“If you are doing it tough financially – whether it be that you aren’t sure how you’ll afford your course or have the bills stacking up – there are a range of financial services to help keep you afloat. 

Scholarships, loans and grants are all available, as is external financial support, for example, HECS-HELP, Centrelink, Study in Australia and International Student Welfare Services Hub. The University’s career services can also help you to find a job. If financial concerns are causing you stress or anxiety, we encourage all students to book an appointment with a Wellbeing Advisor,” Dr Olley said. 

This ain't my first time at the rodeo.
A typical good-natured matured-aged student, not embittered by the world at all.

This isn’t my first rodeo; I already have one degree under my belt. But, this time, I’m not making it difficult for myself. Much like O-week, I’ll take all the freebies, I say yes to things; I play water polo, exceptionally badly, I joined a bunch of other societies that I have mostly just connected to online – but hey, it’s widening my social circle, and Newcastle’s aggressive hospitality takes some getting used to. I have a Reasonable Adjustment Plan that I was able to negotiate through support and counselling services that’s helped me remain academically competent despite some mental health issues. Just knowing I have easy access to these levels of support, even if I don’t use them every day, has been a huge weight off my shoulders. 

Student Support Services 

Newcastle (Callaghan) – Student Services Building
Central Coast (Ourimbah) – Student Amenities Building 

Newcastle (Callaghan) – Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
Central Coast (Ourimbah)- Every second Wednesday, 9am – 4pm 

Phone: (02) 4921 6622 
Email: counselling@newcastle.edu.au 


This Student Wellbeing Services flyer provides information about the key support available to students at University of Newcastle.  

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