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Student View - Managing Your Wellbeing at University

Introduction

Hi. I’m Eve. I’m 20, a third-year Law student at UoM, and I have a mental health condition. There’s so much I wish I could tell my first-year self about managing my condition around University, so I thought I’d share some tips with you! Here’s how to manage your wellbeing at Uni.

Social life

Don’t worry about being ‘cool’

  • I spent lots of time in my first year of University trying to seem cool. I felt the pressure to socialise rather than spending some much-needed time alone, because I didn’t want to miss out on anything or lose potential friends. As much as socialising is great fun, don’t worry so much about constantly being around others especially if you’re an introvert who likes time alone. Good friends will understand the need to balance socialising and resting, and won’t make you feel bad about it, either!

Do what you want to do

  • A healthy social life will look more active for some, and less active for others. It might involve sports, or chess, or computer games – no two people are the same! If you prefer watching a film to playing football, choose accordingly. There is a society for everything at Uni, so take advantage of this opportunity to meet like-minded people and make good friends. If you love classic films, go to film society and skip football. And, don’t make apologies for it!

Try new things

  • If you’ve never tried needlework before, or photography, or creative writing – but you’ve always wanted to give it a go, now is the time! University is about dipping your toe into the water of adult life; and making your own choices. Trying new stuff is great fun, and you might develop a new interest you’d never have experienced if you hadn’t tried.

Look after yourself

  • Eat a balanced diet, exercise, and get enough sleep. Have a routine you follow each day and make looking after yourself part of it. This will help promote a stable mood, which is so important especially in Uni. You’ll enjoy social interactions so much more when you feel good. Something I’ve learned is that skipping an event to re-charge and rest will make the next event you do attend even more enjoyable.

Give it time

  • Uni is a huge transition. It is often the first time in your life you’ve lived away from home, not seen your friends’ every-day, and this first taste of independence can be very hard to swallow. It’s normal to feel awkward at first. Just remember – everyone feels the same way, and this alien territory will be your new normal before you know it.

Academics

Take it slow

  • Assessments and deadlines can be very scary. Days at sixth form are much more structured and controlled than at University, and sometimes independent learning can feel so overwhelming and can trigger anxiety. You will get better as you progress on your programme, and you don’t need to ace your degree in your first semester or even your first year. Your academic performance isn’t a measure of character or intelligence. You got onto your course for a reason – remind yourself of this in moments of doubt.  

Schedule

  • In first year, I worked excessively and I burnt myself out, which had a really negative impact on my mental health. If you plan your deadlines, assignments and exam dates onto a calendar and work for a specific amount of time a day over a longer period, you’ll be doing more than enough. This will also leave plenty of time for self-care.

Speak to someone

  • When I first started my degree, I didn’t even consider informing the School of Law of my mental health condition – that felt like asking for special treatment. It was only in my second year that I reached out for support; informing the Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS) of my diagnosis and difficulties. I wish I’d done it sooner. UoM wants to support you. DASS offers confidential advice, additional learning resources and can put measures in place to help you perform to the best of your ability such as podcasts, deadline extensions, and exam support. If I could go back, I would have been upfront about my condition from the start. UoM don’t consider mental health conditions to be weaknesses, and neither should you.

Most importantly...

Be kind to yourself!

  • UoM doesn’t consider diagnosis as a part of your identity. Mental illness is something they work with you to manage to maintain a normal, happy life. So, don’t be ashamed. Prioritise your mental wellbeing when applying to a University in the same way you would other factors such as course modules, accommodation costs, and campus facilities. Ask questions - do you have a counselling service, a DASS department, what’s your view on mental health in the student population? And, when you get to Uni, be open and honest and they will support you. Remember - you deserve to enjoy and fully participate in University just the same as any other student, and with patience and self-awareness, you will lead a happy ‘student life’.

Below are some resources that help me maintain good mental wellbeing during Uni:

  • https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/my-possible-self/ - This app allows you to track your mood, then collates the data and provides insight on any patterns in your moods (helps identify triggers). Also lets you focus on different topics which might be helpful to you, such as overload, low mood, etc.
  • https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/student-health-app/- Student Health App. Includes tips and resources for physical and mental health support, actions to take, self-care tips, and resources for emergencies. Turn to this in a crisis or to inform you about the link between lifestyle and mental wellbeing.
  • https://moodspace.org/ - A great app designed to change your thought patterns and improve your mood based on CBT strategies. Includes small tasks to be done once a day to improve wellbeing.
  • https://www.elefriends.org.uk/ - A lovely platform where you can share stories and experiences and connect with others who have mental health conditions. Helpful for when you’re feeling lonely.


 

Student View - The 'Living At Home' Experience

by YPU Admin on May 21, 2020, Comments. Tags: Humanities, Law, live at home, stay at home, student life, and student view

Introduction

As soon as you get the confirmation that you have been accepted into university, your mind goes all over the place - planning what you will do. For many, it is sorting transport and moving away to your very own place. However, the side of this journey that is not always seen is those who decide to stay home, like me. When I got accepted to the University of Manchester, I knew immediately I was going to stay home. I am not a very adventurous person and have never even left Manchester without my family. I had no idea staying at home would be an adventure in itself. My name is Faryal and I live at home with 8 other people whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester.

The Ups and Downs of Living at Home

Staying at home does have many positives. I do not have to pay rent, bills and I do not need maintenance loans. I help at home when I can but it costs considerably less than having my own place. Travelling to university comes at a cost but compared to travelling home on the weekends, it is much less. I personally believe staying home has helped with my mental health, being surrounded with people I am comfortable with and have lived with my whole life.

Staying at home, however, is not all money-saving and family time. It does come with its struggles. Peace and quiet are pretty much non-existent in my home. It is also more difficult to make friends when you do not live with other students. Travelling to university can be hectic in itself as there are specific times you must be there and busses coming on time is as rare as sunny British weather. The biggest issue is definitely how to make the most of university when living at home, how to live the true university experience.

How to Make the Most of Uni

These disadvantages can be overcome. I cannot stress the importance of these tips and wish I really took full advantage of the opportunities. The most obvious way is to join a society or volunteering. Freshers Fair at the University of Manchester is full of societies signing up new members. There really is a society for everyone. The best thing about joining a society or volunteering is you are surrounded by people with the same interests as you, whether it is Mixed Martial Arts or Accounting you are interested in. The Manchester Students’ Union lists all sorts of different societies. Listing the societies you are interested in as well as being spontaneous and trying something new is the best way to go for Freshers.

Seminar groups really push you to meet new people. The best advice I could give is when you talk to people in your seminar group, ask for a way to contact them. Whilst you may seem shy, they probably want to ask you the same thing.

As a home student, seeing other students already knowing each other, it could really affect your confidence, not only in making friends but also speaking to people in general. During the beginning of my first year, I found myself barely participating or asking for help. It is so important to push yourself within the first few weeks to participate in seminars and ask for help when you need it because you can then fall into a habit of being withdrawn and quiet. It can be really daunting at first and you feel like everyone is watching you but it soon becomes second nature. It is so vital to ask for help when you feel your mental health is not the best it could be. The University of Manchester counselling support is amazing and really can make the difference. University is such a special experience and getting into university is a fantastic achievement so you should really make the most of it.

One thing I love about the University of Manchester is the campus. The greenery, the libraries are all great places to spend your time. Instead of rushing straight home, go to the library or even take a walk around the campus and just enjoy the experience.

Staying at home is as ‘boring’ as you make it. It can really be the best experience if you take full advantage of all the opportunities you have. For me, whilst the beginning of university was really difficult, once I pushed myself and became more social around the university, I really loved it and cannot wait to start my next year, surrounded by my family when at home and by friends when at university.

Useful Websites


 

It Matters That It Matters

by YPU Admin on April 3, 2020, Comments. Tags: bioethics, Health, Humanities, Law, patient safety, PhD, Philosophy, and Research

Introduction

Hi, I'm Vicki. I'm a second year PhD student in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence here at the University of Manchester. I'm also part of the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre - yes, it's a very long name! The 'translational' bit means that we are developing and testing new ideas and approaches to patient safety. My research aims to understand how effective our healthcare regulation system is at keeping patients safe when they leave hospital.


In Depth…

Before starting my PhD I studied for my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, and a master's degree in Healthcare Ethics and Law. I had no idea when I graduated with my Philosophy degree that I’d end up where I am now. I worked for a charity as a Fundraising Manager and studied for my master’s degree via distance-learning. My master’s was helpful for me in switching job roles – after graduating I spent a few years working for the General Medical Council, which regulates doctors in the UK. This really sparked my passion for healthcare ethics, regulation, and patient safety!

After that I applied for my PhD, which is funded by the National Institute of Health Research. Unlike a traditional PhD, my PhD is 'by publication'. This means that rather than writing one huge piece of writing, I produce a series of shorter articles to be published in academic journals. But these articles still need to relate to each other under a common theme! At the end, they will form the middle chapter of my PhD, sandwiched between an introduction and a conclusion.

One of the main aims of healthcare regulation is to keep patients safe. This is done by several different regulators in the UK. Some regulate healthcare professionals (like doctors and nurses), whilst others regulate healthcare providers (such as hospitals). The common theme of my research is how do all of these regulators make sure patients are kept safe when they leave hospitals? You might be surprised to learn that leaving hospital can be a really dangerous time for patients, especially the elderly! I’m nearly halfway through my research but I already have several ideas for how regulators could be doing more to keep patients safe.

A friend once said to me that when choosing her career 'it matters that it matters'.  She meant it was important that her work made a real difference to people's lives. It’s an odd quote but it sums up how I feel about my research! I hope that it will be useful in improving safety for patients at a time when they should be going safely home.

Going Further…

  • For a useful introduction to the variety of topics that philosophy examines, see here.
  • Visit this blog by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, to learn more about the field of bioethics.
  • You can read about my research centre here.
  • Find out more about the exciting work Greater Manchester are doing to improve patient safety.
  • For more information on distance-learning see here

 

From Law to International Relations to Politics!

Introduction

Hi everyone! My name’s Moises Vieira. I’m currently doing a PhD in the Department of Politics. In my research, I’m looking at the intersection of migration and healthcare. In a nutshell, I’m interested in the (legal and ethical) challenges around providing healthcare for migrants, in the UK. I have been a student at Manchester since September 2018, where I’ve had the opportunity to discuss my work with world-class researchers, professors and fellow colleagues in the field of International Relations.

In addition to being a researcher, I am also a graduate teaching assistant in the Faculty of Humanities. So far, I have taught a module on the ‘Politics of Globalization’ where the students and I discussed different aspects of living in a globalised world, and how that impacts on social, economic and political life. Furthermore, I have also taught online modules addressing a range of issues within the field of International Relations and beyond: creating a sustainable world, security and trust, cybercrimes, partnerships for development, among others. 

As you can see, life as a university student goes way beyond simply attending classes and hitting the books. There are always a lot of extra activities you can engage with, according to your interests, academic background and previous training.

In Depth…

I went to Law School as an undergraduate student, and decided to pursue an academic career following my Master’s degree in International Relations. I undertook my studies in Brazil, so doing my PhD at Manchester has been an incredible experience both on the academic and personal levels. Most of my activities take place on campus, such as attending seminars, lectures, workshops and specific training events for career advancement. Doing a PhD in Politics is a great opportunity to move around and explore the world, too: as a researcher, I have attended academic events in a range of cities in the UK, and international conferences in a few countries, such as Switzerland and Denmark. These have been invaluable experiences in order to further my research, but also to meet new people and explore new places.

Back to my main research interest: What does it mean to be looking at the intersection of migration and healthcare? Let’s say an immigrant (with unlawful residence in the UK) falls ill, and is denied access to the NHS. In my research, I analyse issues like that, and ask questions such as: Is it ethical to deny healthcare for migrants on the grounds of immigration status? What are the human rights implications of refusing healthcare for non-citizens? By addressing these questions, I seek to raise people’s awareness of these important issues around public health and migration, which are very relevant for both migrants and UK citizens alike. 

Going Further…

A short guide for healthcare provision for migrants by the charity ‘Doctors of the World’:

The British Medical Association (BMA) opinion on refusing migrants’ access to the NHS:

Some reflections on charging migrants for healthcare:

Some context on the extension of ‘hostile environment’ into a range of areas, including healthcare:

A special focus on pregnancy and migrant women:

A report on the health of migrants in the UK, by the Migration Observatory, at the University of Oxford:


 

Unnecessary Amputations - what are the social, ethical and legal implications?

by YPU Admin on November 29, 2019, Comments. Tags: bioethics, Humanities, jurisprudence, Law, PhD, and philosophy of law

Introduction

My name’s Richard Gibson and I am a third year PhD candidate in Bioethics & Medical Jurisprudence in The University of Manchester Law School. My research examines the social, ethical and legal implications of allowing people to have their limbs amputated when there is nothing medically wrong with them. In short, if you wanted to make yourself impaired or disabled, what arguments exists to support or refute such a decision. In addition to my research I also work as a teaching assistant on the Jurisprudence (more commonly known as philosophy of law) course.


In Depth

In all honesty, I am not sure how I ended up being based in a school of law, especially given that my background isn’t in law but philosophy. My A-levels were in Psychology, Biology, ICT and Photography but after finishing sixth-form I didn’t go straight to university. I took several years out working in various jobs before finally accepting an offer to study Philosophy at the University of the West of England; a subject that I picked slightly at random. It was here that I became interested in ethics and the ways in which we come to understand what makes decisions right and wrong, good and bad. When I graduated, I took another couple of years out from education to work and travel before being awarded a place on the newly formed master’s programme in Bioethics & Society at King’s College London. It was here that my interest in ethics was combined with the biological sciences, and specifically, the concept of human (dis)enhancement. Again, after graduating from here, I took a couple of years out to work in a variety of roles, to travel more and enjoy life, before finally making my way to Manchester and the PhD project on which I currently work.

The project I work on looks to examine what reasons we have to refuse the request of someone wanting to make themselves impaired or disabled, and why we have such reasons in the first place. This is important because the question isn’t a hypothetical one; there are people who wish to transition from a state of ‘health’ to one of disability and impairment and, currently, there exists little research into this topic and practically no guidance on how we should respond to such desires. This is what my work tries to change. I’m attempting to provide clear moral arguments on why such requests should, or should not, be respected. In addition to this ethical component, my research also examines the legality of such requests. For example, if a surgeon amputated a person’s leg because they wanted it gone, would that surgeon be subject to criminal prosecution, and if not, why?

My work is highly interdisciplinary and draws upon the work and theories of scholars and researchers from a vast range of subjects including philosophy, law, disability studies, medicine, biotechnology, robotics, psychology, and sociology.

Going Further

For a good introduction to the varied topics that philosophy examines, see here.

To read more about the field of bioethics, in its various forms, check out this blog by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an internationally recognised leader in the field.

For a guide to the people who wish to transition into disability and impairment, see this article

You can read about my research centre here.

And, of course, you can follow my work on twitter at @RichardBGibson!