Agony aunt

September 14, 2001

Jill Manthorpe, Reader in community care, University of Hull

Amid the euphoria of freshers' week, some students will be miserable. Setting off with high expectations, some students can find the campus bewildering - full of people having fun and exuding confidence.

Campus counselling services and possibly student "Nightlines" offer support, and their availability should be publicised in a non-stigmatising way.

Publicity about chaplains or religious groups should be available.

You will be a familiar face. As well as offering individual listening time, your tutorial groups can provide peer support.

Often, support for first-years is provided by student mentors or "buddy" systems. Porters, secretaries and domestic staff also play a key role in befriending lonely first-years.

A caring higher education institution will recognise student support as everyone's responsibility, not just yours. An accessible guide for personal tutors is Colin Lago and Geraldine Shipton's Personal Tutoring in Action, £5.00, Counselling Service, University of Sheffield. Tel: 0114 2224134

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