Currently I’m in Belgium at a conference exploring the European First Year Experience within higher education, with topics covering matters such as social aspects, academic aspects as well as health and wellbeing. At the moment I’m sat in the canteen of a pretty ace international college, drinking coffee with my colleagues, and awaiting the next session. I feel incredibly comfortable, and of course inspired. I never anticipated that wellbeing would be so highly integrated within the sessions throughout the conference. But of course wellbeing and stress management is such an important aspect of the transition for a first year university student.
Working within a university with over 24,000 students, as well as previously being a student myself has allowed me to get a pretty hands on experience and knowledge of adapting to and dealing with university life – primarily dealing with the stresses of being a student (as well as external factors, such as an existing mental health condition or disability). Student mental health is one of the primary focal points behind my reasons to start blogging – as a student I was first diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in my final year of my undergraduate degree – the support I received from my university was fantastic, and it was, at times, definitely life-saving – whether that would through have a simple chat with support services, or having the space to open up and receive further and external support. My experience as a student was also one of the main drivers behind my desire to work within higher education, and it’s very fascinating, and fun, to discover how things work in terms of the student experience at an international level!
The conference I am at is the European First Year Experience conference, and more information can be found here: http://sites.arteveldehogeschool.be/efye/
You can also receive live updates via the #EFYE2016 hashtag on Twitter.