Pressure, Puppies and Pancakes
It’s nearly week 8 here at Warwick, meaning less than a month until the end of Term 2 and the Easter Holidays. I think everyone can agree, the pressure of work towards the end of term 2 can be intense. Week 7 coincided with the Student Union’s Mental Health Awareness Week, in collaboration with Warwick Mind Aware https://www.warwicksu.com/campaigning/campaigns/liberation/mentalhealthawarenessweek/. This has seen daily events such as Yoga for Wellness, question and answer sessions, and workshops for self-confidence. It has highlighted to me how seriously Warwick and the SU take mental health, and the number of support services available to students. All around campus, various charities such as Nightline and Warwick Mind Aware were stationed, ready to chat about wellbeing, mental health, and the theme of the week, talking about the elephant in the room.
Hannah from Warwick Mind Aware https://www.facebook.com/WarwickMindAware/, who was handing out chocolate and raising awareness about the opportunities available to Warwick students for mental wellbeing.
Last week was reading week, which meant that a lot of students (mostly humanities, sorry maths) got a week away from lectures to catch up with work and maybe even visit home. More importantly, it included pancake day, which saw every campus residence being offered pancake making ingredients from the Residential Life Team. Even though some of my flatmates had a full reading week, and were at home still, it was very nice to come together with everyone who was still here and make pancakes. Also, maybe I’m ignorant, but this was the first time that I realised that Pancake day is not really celebrated outside of the UK, so no wonder my European flatmates were so confused by my disgust that they were thawing meat the day before for their dinner.
I don’t think many people talk about the Residential Life Team on here, but I genuinely believe they can be a great support system at Warwick. Here is a link to their webpage https://warwick.ac.uk/services/residentiallife/rlt/, but effectively, every hall of residence (which is where the majority of first years live) has a Residential Life Team, who are just another option if you need support. The fact that they live very close to you, and at least in my case, are PHD students, means that if you were unable to speak to a tutor, they provide a nice alternative for when things are not going well. You can talk to them about anything: family issues, academic concerns, or just if you are feeling lonely. Finally, I guess because one of the hardest parts at university is the first few weeks when you move in, so the fact that they are there whenever you need can be quite comforting.
On a similar wellbeing note, the Thursday of Week 7 brought something very close to my heart to campus- PAT (Pets as Therapy) dogs. Every term (and twice in term 3, thanks to exam stress!!), the Study Happy initiative in the library brings the PAT dogs to campus, and through their puppy magic, hopefully, your stress can be relieved. This is one of the highlights of every term for me, not only because, thanks to Warwick being somewhat of an isolated campus, there is a tragic lack of dogs walking around for me to meet.
Yogi, a true legend of Doggy Destress Day
My love for dogs aside, I truly think events like these show how serious Warwick takes mental health, and the extent of the support for every problem and level of severity. There are so many ways that the university and the SU are trying to confront the stigma surrounding mental health, and offer solutions and assistance.