Being at university as a young adult usually means going through several changes, some of which can be demanding on you both physically and mentally.  It is also very likely you are in the life phase of adolescence, which itself can be defined by change, struggle, dilemma, discomfort, fatigue, and disorientation, but also courage, quest for independence, new responsibilities, increased capability, growth and reinvention.

Letting students figure some of this out for themselves, and with each other, ought to be a purposeful part of any college’s strategy. But for those who continue to struggle, pastoral guidance and counselling support is easily accessible, and there are also clear routes to more specialized forms of treatment from psychologists and therapists.

Make a good start

Arriving in a new city and starting a new course of study is exciting, but it might also feel daunting and unfamiliar. In itself, this is perfectly normal and should be expected – after all, the whole idea is to step outside your comfort zone and extend your capacity for work and life.

Wherever you are from, take some time to settle in, participate in activities, make friends and be sure to look out for each other, yourself and your welfare so that you stay happy and healthy, and get the most out of your time at University College Utrecht.

We all need to feel heard, understood and respected. Whether we are feeling on top of the world or in a much darker place, being seen and acknowledged by others can help us share and make sense of our position.

Share your experiences

What might start as a private and personal reflection on what we are experiencing, can often convert into new and useful insights when we talk about it with others, and can also lead to a sense of validation and improved personal wellbeing. Extra coping strategies and partnerships may also be a part of this.

Talking, reflecting and sharing have a very important place at University College Utrecht, and there are ample opportunities to find listeners and discussion partners, both here on campus and within a few minutes bike ride.

The following resources are available to support you in this.

The Student Life Office 

The  Student Life Office is a central point of contact for all students to discuss any aspect of their college experience, particularly in the non-academic domain. The Office welcomes any kind of conversation, and can cover a variety of topics including mental/physical health, making effective decisions, troubling family circumstances, time/attention management, questions of identity, inter-personal struggles, different learning needs, disabilities, new campus initiatives, forward planning, or simply putting things into perspective and making it through the next semester. 

Personal Tutors

Tutors at University College Utrecht are your main contact for academic guidance, curriculum planning and study progress. Importantly, they each have a pastoral role and are also there as a contact point for your personal concerns, too.

Any issues may be raised with your personal tutor, and you may expect initial guidance from them. Depending on the topic, you may be referred onwards to others for further support.

Special Cases Committee

Where student cases require additional input from extra perspectives, or reach a level of urgency where senior intervention is required, the Student Life Officer can call a gathering of the Special Cases Committee (SSC).  This is especially important for ensuring important stakeholders are updated in serious cases, but also that their collective experience and expertise is brought to the matter in hand in a timely and coordinated way. This committee comprises:

  • Student Life Officer
  • Senior Tutor Team
  • Housemaster
  • Management Team
  • Tutor of the student concerned

This team is also mobilised when the Student Death or serious Accident Protocol must be activated.

Students Supporting Students

University College Utrecht has a student-led Wellbeing Team and Peer Support Team, who work closely with the Student Life Officer and other members of UCU staff. The University College Student Association (UCSA) is also a close partner in all wellbeing initiatives.

The student-led Wellbeing Team is responsible for organizing an annual Wellbeing Focus Week on campus, featuring a wide range of information and events that can help you lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle. They are also there as a first point of contact for information on welfare. They do not offer counselling, but can signpost you towards resources that will help. 

The Peer Support Team enables peers to meet together and talk, and offers supportive listening to those who need it. Open group discussions are held regularly, as well as one-to-one meetings, Effective referral to more specialised forms of support is also part of this arrangement.

Email: wellbeing.ps.ucu@gmail.com

There are numerous committees, groups and teams coordinated by our own University College Student Association (UCSA) which can contribute very well to your health and resilience. With careful choices and conscious management of your time/energy, you will find activities organized by other students that support your physical exercise, your sense of calm, your spiritual connection, your capacity to help others in need, and much more.