WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE UNION?
We've gone 100% digital! The Union building is now closed and The Advice Hub has moved completely online. You can still message us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for questions about updates or just to say hello!
You can email the Advice Hub here - Angela and Ailie are available from 10am - 4:30pm Monday-Friday for issues relating to your studies and wellbeing. You can even have a virtual face-to-face meeting with them through Microsoft Teams!
What they can help with:
Questions about academic problems / mitigating circumstances around this pandemic issue.
What they cannot help with:
Medical questions related to COVID-19, symptoms, self-isolation, etc.
You can also email Kieran Robson Renner, President here and Aoife Clarke, VP Wellbeing and here with your questions, comments and experience during these difficult times.
Currently, the shop is also closed - we're in ongoing talks with the University to see how we can make sure we’re following the government's newest guidelines in order to reduce the number of non-essential staff on campus to its absolute minimum to keep everyone safe.
LIVING IN HALLS?
If you are remaining on campus be sure to join our Facebook group to keep up to date here: hwunion.com/oncampus
If you'd like to leave halls, we've negotiated with the University that all students staying on-campus in both Edinburgh and Galashiels will be offered the option of ending their leases early! Find out all the info here: https://www.hw.ac.uk/…/20…/HW-students-offered-lease-end.htm
The deadline for ending your contract is 31st March - don't forget!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
This is a really difficult time for people and families all across the world and we’d like to help point you in direction of resources and services to help you get through it. Whether your hours have been cut or disappeared entirely, you're unsure if you qualify for benefits, or you're trying to meet your bills thourhgout all this, here's some resources and advice.
What you earn
A huge worry for everyone just now is income and being able to get by without being able to work. If you're not able to work from home, it might not be as bad as you think. The UK Government has changed legislation and you have some options for recouping lost income:
- Do you qualify for sick pay?
- Do you qualify for Universal Credit?
- Do you qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?
- Were your hours cut or cancelled from COVID-19?
- Do you self-assess your taxes and need extra time?
Going into Summer when bursaries and loans aren’t provided for many students, getting your finances in check early (as much as possible) is important. If you're able to, apply for essential work areas or place applications for support services.
Who you owe
Banks, landlords and other creditors are being urged to provide plans or periods of time where debt collection is more lenient.
Depending on who you bank with, how understanding your landlord is and anyone else you have outstanding balances with (credit cards, etc), finding a re-payment plan that takes into account the next few months will be different for everyone.
Contact them, check their websites and come to an arrangement that’s manageable and helps ease your stress.
THE STUDENT STUFF
If you haven’t already, check what’s happening with your coursework and exam schedule. Full details are available from the email from the University’s Vice Chancellor on 17th and 19th March and your lecturers will likely be posting about them on Vision, too.
They’re obviously different from previous years so use it to your advantage and plan to use your notes while you’re answering questions. Times for exams are yet to be released but plan not to be disturbed during the duration of your exam while at home. Check back on the 31st for what time your exam will be
If you need further help or advice on particular circumstances, you can email the Union’s Advice Hub on firstname.lastname@example.org . Angela and Ailie are available 10am-4pm Monday-Friday for support about what to do if your studies are especially impacted.
If you’re a postgrad student, arrangements are being worked on ahead of the August exam arrangements and will be shared in the near future. We’re here for you too – get in touch if there’s assessment issues you’re facing that need to be addressed.
KEEPIN' YA HEAD UP
Keeping in touch online
Group chats are booming right now but you might get fed up of seeing the same faces 24/7 for the next while. If you’re in a well enough place to do so, checking-in with more distant friends and relatives is a good way to change up conversation.
Teaching gran to facetime also might be worth a laugh if you haven’t already. Or what about a movie night with friends via NetflixParty?
If the isolation is really getting to you, why not make a habit of #CheckInTuesdays with friends and family? Find out more about this mental health initiative here!
There’s also handy apps to help manage your breathing during meditation and anxiety attacks like Headspace (for meditation and breathing techniques) and Beat Panic (for if you’re prone to panic attacks)
Don’t feed the trolls
It’s worth mentioning to take some “news” stories or forwarded content with a pinch of salt, too. With tensions running high and everyone at home eager to add in their two cents, it can be difficult to see past the chatter of voices for a more measured take on events. Just be wary of any sensational news or scams out there just now.
STUDYING AND ROUTINE
When working and studying from home, finding a routine that works for you is really important but difficult. Making a space that’s comfortable and functional but also professional doesn't mean you're not allowed to have distractions.
Try to set hard boundaries for short bursts where all you do is work - even if it's for 30 or 45 minutes. Stretch those periods out and get content down on a page until it becomes easier.
If nothing else, don't work past when you normally would stop; you'll only make it harder the next day to chip away at coursework and projects. Take time for you, keep in touch with friends and family, and wash ya hands.