As we head into November, two months into many students’ first term of the new academic year, we’d usually see the end of the settling-in period. But with Covid-19 still sending shockwaves through society, this week we discovered from the Student Hut tracker that two in five students are settling in poorly this term.
But there are solutions to this; what do they want institutions to do to help?
Suggestions ranged from the likes of opening libraries for longer, to advertising wellbeing services more prominently, to implementing more personal tutor contact time. While social distancing protocols are a major obstacle to everyone, can you remedy these concerns with book-in slots for your library, or email sends to students with personal tutor invites?
Students also told us that they would like to see more opportunities to take part in societies and social activities to help ease them into this new environment. It is well known that finding like-minded individuals is an important element to a student’s connection to their institution, so this is definitely something to consider.
The majority of students have also found that exercising, socialising and studying are all more difficult than they were before lockdown. As we all know, exercise is a crucial ingredient for mental wellbeing. The students shouted loudly for keeping gyms at universities open and having more accommodation-based exercise sessions. A virtual yoga session or a breakfast HITT are all ways to incorporate exercise and movement while students are locked down and/or social distancing. Eating healthy is a concern for many too, and providing recipe cards and well-balanced ingredients in food parcels were all suggestions that students felt strongly about.
With the power of social media, can you run student-led campaigns around exercising and healthy eating? Post recipe graphics and videos that flats can cook together? All working towards protecting your students’ mental health and helping to curb any disengagement at this stage before it gets to actual dropout.
But the good news? This week we found that nine in 10 students say they feel supported by their institution. So keep pushing on, keep pushing forward, your students appreciate and recognise your hard work, but we hope these insights can continue providing food for thought on how else you can work to help support your students.
If you would like to have access to the full report which covers how students feel about activism in the world of Covid, and their worries about tier three lockdowns, sign up to the premium subscription here.