This article is split in two: the first half is the need to know stuff to do with your academic life at university, the second half is good to know about keeping your mental health and wellbeing as a number one priority.
Accounts to follow and pages to bookmark
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Tips for block teaching
This year your course will be taught using a new method called block teaching. It means you’ll study one unit at a time with the same group. Block teaching works really well for some students, but others might find it more challenging. Here’s some tips on how to take it all in your stride:
Watch the ‘How will my course work this year’ video available from the uni
This video explains what the ‘blended learning approach’ is, how block teaching will work and the online resources available to you.
Get to know your course friends
You’ll be working in the same course group for set periods of time, so if you don't already, getting to know them will inevitably make the new term easier. Create a whatsapp group or meet up for a socially distanced coffee or organise zoom catch-ups as group. This will all help with settling in and making the most of block teaching.
Set time to study
Don’t worry about being sat at your computer from dawn til dusk, set yourself some hours when you’re most productive (for example, 08:00-11:00 if you’re an early bird). As long as you get the work done, it doesn’t matter when you do it.
Look after yourself
Block teaching might feel a bit intense cos you’re learning a whole module within a certain amount of weeks. Don’t worry though, keep your programme team posted if you’re feeling the pressure and remember to make time for walks, meditation and catch-ups with friends and family.
Where to get news from
It’s very easy to lose hours to scrolling on twitter and news sites and feeling way worse than when you started, so here’s some more positive ways to get your news:
+ Simple Politics is a great instagram account which aims for us to be better informed about the news in the UK. It posts really simple graphics giving you the need to know information about the big news that day so you don’t have to read loads to get the information.
+ Newsround is aimed at children, yes, but some of us in the marketing team at The Union find it really helpful to break down some overly complicated topics. For example, this article about all the latest rules about face masks.
+ News channels such as BBC and Sky News publish daily flash briefings which will start your day with a few headlines, which can be an easy to consume the whole day's news. If you have a voice activated speaker, just ask them for your flash briefing.
Mental Health resources
It’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Don’t spend time worrying about having (or not having) a side hustle or hobby — we’re going through a pandemic and you should first and foremost make sure you’re ok. If you need some advice or support, here’s some places to reach out to:
+ NHS self referral: You can now refer yourself to the NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) for talking therapies like CBT, guided self-help and counselling for depression.
+ Manchester Met Counsellors and Mental Health Advisors: This team provides one-to-one counselling and mental health support for students. They can also give you access to their online CBT programme, Silvercloud.
+ Student Minds: A charity especially created to support university students and their mental health. They have loads of different areas which they offer courses in, all designed to give you the right tools to manage your mind.
+ The Union’s Advice team: Issues with finances, your course or your accommodation can all put pressure on your mental wellbeing. Email the Advice team for help if you’re struggling.
Finally, here’s some stuff we’ve been enjoying and taking our minds off the pandemic.
+ Everyone always recommends mindful colouring, but you can easily get a colour by numbers app on your phone for free that also does the job
+ If you want to practise proper mindfulness, you can get an offer with Spotify where you get premium and Headspace in one package.
+ Daily positivity podcasts are a great way to get a 5 minute pep talk to start your day right. We’re big fans of The Daily Pep and The Wake Up / Wind Down. For longer podcasts recommendations have a look at our picks from last year.