5 Ways to Start Your Own Student Wellbeing TeamFebruary 12, 2018
A flatmate reeks of alcohol, which is normal behaviour to you. Someone complains about a very loud student, but you figure that some teenagers like to be different from the others. And then you notice a coursemate's lack of personal hygiene. You can point to late sleep. (Both of you attend a morning lecture.) It didn't dawn on you that these students are struggling with emotional problems, as you've seem more adjusted to them. You're one of the lucky few.
Most university students (including yourself) are wading through uncharted waters. Relocating to a new home (away from home). Living with strangers. Starting to be independent (or so most students would think). It will be natural to get anxious at times, even harp on trivial problems. It can take a toll if it adds up, which might affect your focus on the coursework. The university has counsellors, who are ready to lend a sympathetic ear. There are support services, such as the place you're living in. Ask around, even if you're getting embarrassed about it. Some students don't have the courage to do it, though.
These students are such introvert, taking them a long time to get out of their shells. They are too proud too admit that it takes them a while to adjust to the new environment. And they tend to crack up under pressure. They need a support group. You to join any group, you can try to have one.
It might be a hassle (to form your own group), but think of what you can gain from it. You'll be able to demonstrate your leadership skills, among which would be influencing them in a positive way. If you play your cards right, then you can make new mates quickly. (And they can turn into lifelong friends.) It also helps you deal with your own emotional issues. Think how the conversation goes informal, if not engaging, after a meeting or two. There won't be any hindrance, not even awkward moments.
What's the next step? There are many, but let's focus on five important things.
It's Time to Play the Lead Role
You must be approachable to other students. If you have a stoic personality, then try to smile a little. Do it as often as you can. If someone perceives you differently, then don't be discouraged about it. There's no need to explain yourself, as you attempt to strike a conversation. Instincts come into play, as you opt for common topics. You're making a risk by making references to mental issues. You're afraid to make a slip of the tongue, pointing to emotional issues. If you're polite enough, then no one will be offended by it. If you resort to self-depreciating humor, then you might have mates sooner than you expect it.
You must be the best example to them. A good leader must be able to influence others, and there are instances when it happens out of the blue. You don't have to try too hard on this one, as you can start with a casual conversation. It breaks the ice, which brings you to trivial matters. Some might be feeling the stress for days while others have been dealing with it for weeks. You won't treat everyone fair and square, as you should figure out which one needs sympathy the most. Don't interrupt that student while speaking out, which could make everyone (including yourself) feel great.
You must not presume about your fellow students. This is a gargantuan mistake, which isn't uncommon among students. No one wants to give some students a benefit of a doubt, which can be rooted to prejudices. There's nothing wrong if you ask them questions, which enables to get to know THAT student a little better. And don't make conclusions. Yet.
You must know your boundaries. It happens sooner or later. It's about questions that seem too personal to you. It's about a certain information that might prompt other students to see you as insensitive. And the lack of respect can be anything but amicable between you and the other student. Be observant during the conversation. You should sense when it will be heading, and how will you play it.
You must be unafraid of shedding tears. No one will chide you for crying a bucket of tears for a few minutes. No one will make fun of you after revealing your vulnerable side. The reaction might be different from what how you expect it, but you will feel good about it. You might be surprised that your mates would feel the same way, as you're in the same boat.
Signs to Watch Out For
If you notice the student's lack of weight, then ask about it. Expect a defensive response, which prompts him/her to seek refuge in a gym. Be patient. Remember your best one-liners, which may help you get along with that student next time.
A student's mood can change unexpectedly and wildly without any warning. You don't have to show a panic attack, when a number of students can get away with a shout. You don't have to tell (that it had gone too far). A gentle reminder would be good enough.
Arguments are bound to happen sooner or later, but too much of it can be a disturbing sight. You can ask your tutor, if not any member of the faculty. It's also better to focus on your studies, letting cooler heads prevail on this one.
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