Entry into university is often a very exciting experience for students; the transition from secondary to tertiary institution places many demands and challenges that students need to negotiate in order to achieve academic success. At this developmental stage, students grapple with several psychosocial issues which may impact negatively on their overall performance. Whilst many students soon adjust, others have great difficulties in separating themselves from past associations and in adjusting to the academic and social life of the University (Tinto, 1993).
Extensive research into the first year of undergraduate study has been conducted at institutions of higher learning globally which confirms that majority of students who drop-out or fail higher education courses do so in their first year (Bourner et al., 1991; MacDonald, 1992; Woodley et al., 1992; Benn, 1995), resulting in the first year being termed as a, ‘make or break’ year. In addition the unique and unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in following the COVID 19 pandemic, has left us all in a space filled with uncertainty and increased stressors.
WHAT UNIVERSITY BRINGS (OUTSIDE THE COVID 19 CONTEXT)
All higher education students face the task of adjusting to life on campus. As a first year student, you will need to learn to allocate your time between studies and social activities. You will also be confronted with the need to establish another set of personal relationships. You must ”find” yourself in this entirely new community. For most students, these problems of adjustment are naturally resolved over a process of time, but they are nonetheless very real problems for every student. For others, adjustment may be made more difficult for a range of reasons. It is therefore important to be conscious of what it means to adjust successfully so that you can actively ensure your own adjustment to this stage in your life.
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
At Student Support Services, we recognize the academic and personal challenges students face. Our aim is to empower you with the necessary skills so that you can successfully navigate your way from first year through to graduation. The transition to tertiary education can be challenging at many levels. You will be faced with demands and decisions that accompany this phase of life and you will assume a greater degree of independence than before. Any change in life can be both exciting and daunting
The Module is therefore designed to connect with you during these unexpected circumstances we are faced with and for you to reflect on the experiences you may have faced to better prepare you for the next few weeks, months and years as you study and work towards attaining your chosen degree.
STUDENT SUPPORT MODULE
The module offers 4 main themes aimed to assist you in your transition; to face the demands of university life and maintain a greater sense of independence. The themes covered in this module include:
· Mental Health and Wellness
· Academic Development
· Professional Health Practitioner.
Each theme will cover sub-topics offering you the opportunity to engage, listen, watch, read, reflect on your experiences and develop and/or refine your skills.
The module is designed to include self-study and collaborative work opportunities, and expects the following from you.
· to work on your own such as prepare for a lecture, review after a lecture, complete tasks, work through and engage in self-study sections, complete self-reflective questions and quizzes to consolidate the learning process.
· These sections will be monitored through the completion option via Moodle.
We will be offering additional quick mini lessons which will be loaded onto Moodle in the sub-topics; which include range of activities; to help you with the application of the skills taught (or reflecting your mastery of the skills). Additional enrichment information will be included to offer greater insight into the topics addressed. Additional quizzes and surveys will be added, to help guide your learning, self-reflections and skills.
In addition to the static learning content, we also hope to engage and connect with you in a live forum; and we do hope that you would join us in our Zoom sessions (timetabled), addressing the topics laid out in the module. The session will be recorded and made available, in cases where you might have experienced data issues or connectivity failures and you missed the session.
At the end of the module, you would have a reflective journal and portfolio to refer to throughout your studies. In addition, at the end of the module, you would need to submit an evaluation of the programme.
We look forward to engaging with you