The counselling team at La Trobe University are amazing! Their role is to support students by offering a safe space to share what is happening in their lives and work on strategies to manage and improve their situation or experience.
Josh is one of our fabulous counsellors and although is new to La Trobe this year, has been working in the field for over 11 years. Before that Josh undertook roles in education and marketing and advertising, living in Japan, New Zealand, Canada and now Australia.
I sat down with Josh to get a little more insight into the work that he does and how you can get some support during your time at La Trobe.
What are the types of concerns students have when they come to see you?
Some people come feel down or anxious, some people have relationship issues with parents, partners or friends. Some people are experiencing loss or trauma. For some starting their academic journey is challenging, especially when moving away from home and the support of family and friends and experiencing a new culture for the first time. All of these things can affect people differently and can often impact on academic and personal success.
This is a very busy time for our College with students finalising their assessments and undertaking exams. How can students find strategies to help them reduce concerns which are felt around this time of the year?
Keep yourselves busy whilst managing time will help students to create the best balance for themselves. Other than seeing a counsellor there are a number of things students can do to alleviate stress during this time.
- Download a Mindfulness apps, Josh recommends Smiling mind and Headspace.
- If you haven’t already, join clubs and societies to meet like-minded people
- Use the support services. Connecting Peer Learning Advisors (PLA), the Student Development Advisers (SDA), attend workshops throughout the semester and any activities that give you a chance to broaden your connections across the university
We have new students commencing with us in a few weeks. What advice would you share with students about starting at La Trobe University?
I must emphasise the importance of getting to know the support staff. When you study university and start a new life, you have to cope with lots of adjustments. This could be the Transition from high school or TAFE to University; giving up full time work and still supporting yourself financially; moving away from the comfort of home and support that you have there; or moving away from a familiar environment to something that is completely foreign.
At the start everything is very exciting, but unfortunately that may not last, so if you start to feel a little lost or down it’s important to have the strategies in place to cope with this and counselling is a good way to discuss the strategies that will work for you and your situation.
You are responsible for finding the support you need to be successful in your studies, your work and health. There is nothing to be ashamed of – EVERYONE needs help at some point.
Overall what is a message that you would like to share with our cohort?
Stress might impact on health, relationships with friends and family, mental wellbeing, study and ability to succeed. During these times we are often very self-critical so remember…….
Be nice to yourself!
See below for further information on the support available at La Trobe: