MA Creative Writing student Cam discusses the range of pastoral support available at the University.

Cam, MA Creative Writing student

One of the features of life at UOB that hit me first and most strongly was the quality and availability of pastoral support here.

The effect of this support transfers into all aspects of university life and is made especially easy to identify via the University’s social media accounts, who are always advertising systems and schemes through which a student can access support.

Your personal tutor

One of the ways in which I have been supported into settling into my Masters degree has been through my personal tutor. The role of the personal tutor is to provide advice for your holistic experience at university – as well as being a great port-of-call for academic knowhow within your subject area.

This is especially useful when undertaking a Creative Writing Degree and attempting to enter into a professional world that is notoriously highly competitive and tricky to navigate for emerging writers.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Team

Another great feature at UOB is the accessibility of the Mental Health and Wellbeing team who will support you if you are in need of either personal help or some academic leeway from time to time.

This can take the form of bereavement, feeling unwell, difficulty with housemates, mental health support, managing your workload, disability support, extenuating circumstances or extensions and anything else you can imagine that may impact your studies here.

It seems that belief is the assumption here when it comes to academia and mental health rather than suspicion.

Student talking to a member of staff

Health and fitness

Additionally, the University actively encourages you to look after you health and fitness whilst studying here with a fantastic array of sports societies, whether you are a casual or serious sportsperson, and widely accessible facilities which are well worth the Google search, even just to look at the pictures. The University also has an NHS dentist attached, which is like gold dust nowadays.

Sports pitches

The Guild of Students

Another important pillar of pastoral care at Birmingham is the Guild of Students. As well as running a great number of social events, they are also there to provide free advice, either online or in person, regarding any financial, academic, employment, housing and immigration issues that you may experience during your time here.

Make the most of it!

As a student I would encourage you to take full advantage of everything on offer here, as all of these services exist to be used. There is a great understanding at Birmingham that wellbeing stems into all areas of your life and not just the parts involved with producing your work.

Remember that you when you choose a university, you choose a lifestyle too, so it is very important to ensure that your chosen lifestyle is well set up to support you through the inevitable ups and downs of your university experience!