These fictional case studies demonstrate how a Listening Ear could help you.

Sarah

Sarah was shocked when she received her grades for her first 3 assignments. She had always got straight A's prior to coming to University and now felt as though she was struggling to pass. Sarah felt like her world was suddenly being flipped upside down and didn't know where to turn. She felt 'too embarrassed to talk to her friends' and felt her family would 'never understand'. They had always put so much pressure on her achieve the best marks and after all, they were paying for her course.

Sarah remembered hearing about 'Listening Ears' during her induction and got in touch with them via email they responded to her shortly afterwards to arrange an appointment. During the appointment the Listening Ear spoke with her about her concerns. They were really supportive and Sarah felt as though they understood how she was feeling. The Listening Ear explained to her that Universities have different expectations surrounding coursework and that students often take time to adjust to these new ways of working. They told her that having difficulties with her first few assignments did not make her a failure and helped her to reframe these experiences as challenges that would ultimately help her improve her learning and skills in the long-term.

They also gave her some practical advice on where she could seek additional support if needed. They encouraged her to contact her tutor to discuss her academic concerns as this could provide her with helpful tips/strategies for completing her work. They also directed her to the university's Academic Skills Department, as they offer regular Academic and Library Skills Workshops, and tailored 1:1 Academic Support Sessions. Sarah left the appointment feeling relieved and knowledgeable about the different types of support the University had to offer.  

For more tips on managing University related stress click HERE. For Wellbeing Self-Help guides on Stress Busting, Motivation and Relaxation techniques click HERE.

John

John booked an appointment with the Listening Ear Service as he wanted advice on bullying and harassment. He explained that a group of students on his course had been bullying him about his appearance. They had been making comments about his weight and sending offensive pictures over their WhatsApp chat group. As a result, John explained that he had been feeling increasingly stressed, anxious and self-conscious. He stopped coming into lectures, socialised less and was feeling more and more isolated.  

The Listening Ear explained that the University has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination and victimisation of any kind. They explained that there is a Bullying and Harassment Policy which ensures that students are able to raise complaints within the university in a safe and confidential manner. The Listening Ear discussed all of the potential options with John and explained that it was his choice in how he wanted to proceed. They explained that he could raise the complaint with a member of his faculty or that the Listening Ear could raise the concern with Student and Academic services on his behalf. The complaint could then be resolved using either informal or formal processes dependant on the circumstances.

The Listening Ear also listened to how this experience had been affecting him. He felt they were really empathic and supportive in speaking about the stress and anxiety he was experiencing. They told him about the different services he could access to gain further support. The told him about London Nightline, a confidential student support service where he could chat things through over the phone or via an instant chat service. They also informed him about how he could access Student Wellbeing Services here at the university for support if needed.

Amelia

Before coming to University, Amelia and her girlfriend Jan had been in a long-term relationship for 3 years. Amelia had thought their relationship was indestructible by this point, but unfortunately the long distance and time apart had taken a real toll on both of them. Amelia contacted the Listening Ears Service to schedule an appointment shortly after Jan had called her to end their relationship. She felt devastated by the breakup and couldn't stop thinking about it. 'What am I going to do now?' 'Will I ever be happy again?' 'How am I going to get through this?'.

During her appointment Amelia was surprised at how comfortable she felt speaking about everything. It gave her a space to really unload about how she was feeling. She felt the Listening Ear was extremely supportive and really seemed to get what she was going through. They talked to her about how difficult and emotional breakups can be and encouraged her to take some time to take care of herself (giving her helpful tips of how she could do this).

They explained to her that everyone responds to breakups differently (and with a variety of different emotions) and that it was normal for her to be feeling low and sad. They spoke about how it may take some time for her to begin to feel better. They noted that the university has a counselling service and advised her that if she feels that the breakup continues to interfere with her daily activities/functioning, and/or how she feels about herself she may want to book an appointment to see a university counsellor.

For more helpful advice on Healing from a breakup click HERE.

For Further Confidential (Online) Support The University Also Offers The Big White Wall:

What is Big White Wall?

Big White Wall is a safe space online for when you're feeling down, or struggling with your mental health and wellbeing. It's a service designed to help you feel better and take control. Big White Wall is safe, totally anonymous and there are trained counsellors online to support you 24/7.

What can I do on Big White Wall?

* Get things off your chest, and share with people experiencing similar issues to you

* Express how you're feeling with words and images

* Learn practical skills to help you cope better

* Take self-assessments and monitor your progress

* Join group courses on topics such as stress, problem solving and negative thinking

How can I join Big White Wall?

Big White Wall has already helped more than 70,000 people in the UK, and is now available for University of Greenwich students. You can access the service for free by going to www.bigwhitewall.com and using your university email – once you've signed up you'll pick an anonymous username.