Helping you get through tough times

A guide to Fresher’s Week, part two: Who’s there to help?

Going from school to college can be a pretty massive transition. Suddenly, where every minute of your day used to be timetabled, you now have a whole lot of freedom. No one is really there to tell you what to do. If you miss a class, your lecturer might not even notice, and if you’re not going to get yelled at for forgetting your homework.

Brilliant, eh?

But it can also be a little bit daunting when there’s no one to tell you what to do, because it also means you might not know where to turn if you need some help.

Never fear! College is actually full of support services – you just need to know where to go.


Some colleges assign a tutor to every student. Your tutor is there if you’re having an academic problem, want to change course or something is affecting your work. Find out who your tutor is and go say hello or drop them an email so they know who you are. Don’t be afraid to ask them if you need help. It’s what they’re there for.

Student’s Union

The Student’s Union is there to represent the students. They will run campaigns, arrange the big events and parties, and give the student body a voice in the college. You can become involved yourself by running as a class rep, but the important thing to know for the moment is that they are there to help you. If you have questions or need advice on something in college – whether it’s exams, landlord issues or you’ve run out of cash – the Welfare Officer is there to help you sort it out.

College health services

Most colleges will have their own health services, with doctors, nurses and counsellors. They are mostly free or cheaper than normal. Find out where these are in case you need them if you’re sick, need an STI check or aren’t feeling your best. They’re usually pretty open and friendly places where you can talk about anything, like…

Sexual health

Let’s face it, for a lot of people, college is a time you start to become, eh, more aware of sexual health issues. From free condoms to information on tests and check-ups, both your college health service and your Student’s Union will most likely bombard you with sexual health information, so pay attention!

Be sensible, use protection, and if you’re ever worried about anything, go to the doctor. They will be well used to doing STI checks. You can also go the college health centre to get a prescription for the Pill or other contraceptives, or if you need the morning-after pill. The morning-after pill is also now available over the counter in a lot of pharmacies.

Mental health

College years can be stressful at times, and it’s not unusual at all for people to make use of the counselling services and the helplines that are available. There are people to support you, and taking care of your mental health is a big part of looking after yourself at college. If you need some support, visit the college health centre or talk to your Welfare Officer, and they’ll fill you in on all your options.


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