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Study Well, Stay Well

The Study Well, Stay Well guide brings together information, guidance and resources on how you can balance your wellbeing with your studies.
Seeking solutions

A key part of managing your study, work and personal commitments is knowing what you can handle on your own, and when to ask for help. There's no expectation that you should be able to handle everything independently - by reaching out to other people, and to support services, you can pool a wider range of knowledge and experience, and find the best way to tackle the challenges you are facing. By acting early, and thinking critically about alternative sources of support, you'll be better placed to seek solutions and create an action plan.

Seeking solutions: The Basics

Think of seeking help as adaptive action; there is no need to feel embarrassed or worry about how you will be perceived. It’s sensible and reasonable to seek help. The main message is to seek support in a timely fashion. Don’t wait for a problem to build before you seek support. You can see from the graphic below that if a problem is dealt with in the green and amber  zone it can prevent an issue having considerable impact. It also may mean you have significantly  more time to deal with issues and have more options for action. 

A graphic showing the three phases of taking action on a problem - the optimum time to interveene is when you start to notice things heading off track. This is called the 'take preventative action' zone.

Critical thinking

Seeking help effectively involves critical thinking. It requires that you honestly identify the problem and the impact it is having. What are your needs? Have you checked out any assumptions?  Make sure you don’t assume anything that may lead you to draw erroneous conclusions. Do not rely on hearsay, a comment from another student, or an old e mail. Identify the source of the most current information and which channels are most often used. For many students information on assessment, hand in dates and submission  processes will be through Blackboard, your course module site. 

Identifying sources of support

Let’s take an example: You think you heard an assignment is to be handed in at 3 pm this Friday. Where can you find the correct information? Is it from a reliable source? If you needed more time is it possible and would you know what to do?

Think about alternative source of information if your Course Leader is busy: all students have the student support triangle consisting of a Student Support Advisor, an Academic Advisor and an Employability Advisor. You can find your named advisors and their contact details in Blackboard.

Forward planning 

It can be useful to plan ahead and consider some scenarios which could occur to assess if you have relevant information and you would know what to do. Test yourself and do some research to check if you know where to get support and information on the following queries: 

  • Formatting a long word document as your dissertation needs formatting before hand in in 7 days. 

  • Are you allowed to use proof readers at Sheffield Hallam University? 

  • You would like to have someone check a couple of unusual references in your work (websites, Acts of Parliament and conference papers).  

  • You have used AI to generate some ideas; how do you reference it accurately in you work to avoid any plagiarism? 

  • You are planning a dissertation and need some information on research ethics at Sheffield Hallam University. 

  • You are attempting your first assignment and need some input on planning and structuring your assignment.  

  • You have received feedback on your first assignment and in a conversation with your academic tutor, it was suggested you might need to check if you are dyslexic and find out about the  process to investigate your current challenges. 

Assertive communication 

It can be helpful to learn how to communicate assertively with techniques that enable you to be clear, calm, honest and direct in making requests and communicating your needs in various situations. Assertiveness is a life skill. Check out these videos for some useful tips. Before you have any challenging conversations, you might want to plan what you wish to say. If you are sending e mails you can use the same assertive techniques in written communication. 

Further reading