Open letter to students written by the SSIS College Officer, Sho Taniyama.
I hope you are well. I understand that during these times you may be facing difficulties with the approaching deadlines. Although your days and nights may seem like one consecutive journey, I would like to express my sincerest belief that you will all thrive in overcoming the challenges you are currently facing.
Recently, I have had the absolute pleasure of speaking to many of my fellow students about university and how difficult the journey is. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity presented in front of me to provide you with some advice that I have for you.
First year students
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on being inches away from finishing your first academic year in university. Even though it may not feel like a big achievement, I hope you are all able to find comfort in understanding that you have taken a massive step in pursuing your dreams.
Although exams may seem like a daunting and frankly harrowing experience, I would like to remind you all that this is not an obstacle but a prime opportunity for you to confidently exemplify what you have learnt throughout your university career. The only recommendation for you all is to relax and remember that you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.
Second year students
I understand that knowing that your achievements will bear on your final degree mark may be daunting. However, if you were to reflect back on your first year, I think you can find solace in seeing how much progress you have made. Even though it may not seem like it, the two years you have had in your academic journey has equipped you well to continue your journey of excellence.
Even though your marks may impact your final degree mark, my only recommendation is for you to continue with your approach you have developed throughout this year.
This is your final year of your degree. If you recall back to the first day on campus, I feel like many of you would describe your experience as scary or overwhelming. However, in this current moment, you are almost at the finish line. This is your moment to leave a mark on your experience, not only for your current self, but your first-year self too. I hope that you are able to do everything you can so that you do not regret this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I understand that these times are extremely stressful for you but remember to take time for yourself. Talk to your friends or family because I know that they are all so proud of how far you have come. Aside from that, I look forward to seeing you all during graduation where you will receive the recognition you deserve.
Aside from the advice above, the University and the Guild have several resources and support mechanisms which can help you during these stressful times. The Guild’s Advice Unit can provide you with free, independent, and confidential advice and support on a variety of topics, including managing your studies, housing, and finance. They can be contacted by booking an appointment here: www.exeterguild.org/advice/portal/.
Additionally, the University Wellbeing Services team are dedicated to ensuring that you have all the tools and resources available to you to allow you to overcome any obstacles that you may face during your time in Exeter, including managing your mental health and requesting reasonable adjustments to help keep on top of your studies. They can be contacted here: www.exeter.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/.
From COVID-19 to strike action, we have weathered many storms, and this is something each and every one of you should be very proud of. Once again, I am confident that, when you put your minds and hearts into something, you can achieve many great things.
Social Sciences and International Studies Officer