This weekend, students, friends and family around the world will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast at the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. This year Ramadan has been a unique experience with many of the regular community and congregational elements having to take place at home and online.
For our students and staff in Dubai, Eid Al Fitr will arrive as the new moon is sighted on either Friday or Saturday evening and will be officially announced by the UAE Moon Sighting Committee, which meets virtually this year for the first time ever as a result of COVID-19. Students and staff in Dubai will observe the three day Eid Al Fitr Public Holiday announced by the UAE Government as well as the two additional closure days granted by the University, designated in Dubai as opposed to the Easter break in Edgbaston.
In the spirit of Ramadan, students from the University’s Islamic Society in the UK have come together to support students on campus and in the community, with members volunteering to deliver Iftar meals every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (while taking the necessary safety precautions to maintain a social distance). The society has also moved what would have been congregational events to online platforms so the Muslim community could remain connected. The Society have shared this message with us, to you: ‘From the Islamic Society of Birmingham to you and your loved ones, take care...’ And in reply we would like to wish all of our students, friends and family: Eid Mubarak!
In today’s briefing, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week we have some reminders about some of the continuing support that is available. We also share some updated advice for students who may now be thinking about moving out and/or collecting your belongings from your student accommodation. And finally, some top tips from the team in the Academic Skills Centre to help students who are writing dissertations.
Today’s updates includes:
- Advice for students on “moving out” and collecting your belongings.
- Mental Health Awareness Week
- Top Tips: Writing your dissertation
Advice for students on “moving out” and collecting your belongings
In the UK, Government advice has been updated to allow flexibility for those people who may want to move home. The updated regulations are not specific to students moving out of private rented houses but we expect that many of you will now be thinking about moving or collecting your belongings. You can read the UK Government advice here – and our super Guild of Students and Community Living team have produced further advice for students to ensure that you can manage your moving and collecting safely, with further tips and links, as well as information about what to do with any unwanted items. Read all of the advice on the webpages here.
For students living in University-operated accommodation (halls of residence) - If you have already gone home, chosen the early release from your contract, but have left belongings behind then we are currently making special arrangements for you to collect your belongings, safely and while maintaining a social distance. Because of the restricted space available we are managing this carefully and residents will receive a direct e-mail from the Living Team.
You cannot just turn up! You must pre-book a time slot and all of the instructions and guidance are in the e-mail, so please make sure to check. If you are having any difficulties meeting the deadline to collect your belongings, for example if you live outside of England or are facing other personal challenges at this time then please contact your Accommodation Village Reception for advice.
For all other accommodation providers - you should check with your provider directly for any advice and information about moving and collecting your belongings.
Mental Health Awareness Week
All week, individuals and organisations have been sharing their support for one another to mark Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. This year the theme has been kindness, and the Mental Health Foundation have shared a lovely video to remind us why kindness is so important, all year round, and good for your mental health and wellbeing. Support continues to be available for all of our students: whether that is the dedicated teams of Wellbeing Officers in your Colleges who are still working hard, at home, to answer your queries; support from our partners at PAUSE or peer support from student to student…
Pause - If you have concerns about your mental health, the Pause team is offering support and advice, 7 days a week, 10am until 6pm. Students can contact Pause@UoB to discuss any worries or concerns. Pause can help you access more specific services, refer to other organisations and share useful resources. Simply call or email, and the team will do their very best to help you. More information can be found here (login using your usual UoB username and password).
Birmingham Nightline during the summer term - Birmingham Nightline is a confidential, anonymous, non-advisory, non-judgemental listening and information service, run by students for students. The service currently extends to students at the University of Birmingham, Aston University and University College Birmingham. Nightline is remaining open throughout the summer term via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. All students can email Nightline about anything they would like to talk about, and they will receive a reply within 48 hours. Further information about how to contact Nightline during normal term time or about the service, as well as how to volunteer can be found on their website or via social media – search Birmingham Nightline / @BhamNightline.
Virtual Tea and Talk - Why not have a listen to one of the podcasts put together by Reema, President of the Mental Health and Well-Being Society: “Normally I would facilitate Tea and Talks on a biweekly basis in the Guild, where my society would provide advice and space for students to talk about mental health. So, I wanted to create a platform for students to still receive advice from another student during this crisis”. You can listen to episodes via iTunes podcasts or SoundCloud.
ReadingWell - Why not explore the Reading Agency's ReadingWell lists; the books are all chosen and recommended by health experts, as well as people with living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers. Find out more here and browse the collection of mood-busting books that are available free.
Support when you need it – Our team have put together a collection of helpful resources, including self-help guides and useful links to services near you and information about how to get urgent support in a crisis - more information here. And you can also review our helpful new Canvas Course to support your self-care and resilience.
Top Tip: Writing your dissertation
The Academic Skills Centre has support available for both Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduates on writing their dissertations. As well as 1-2-1 virtual appointments, you can self-enrol for the Canvas course ASC Writing your Dissertation. Just 30 minutes long, this course will help you:
- Plan timescales for tackling a dissertation
- Consider strategies for planning and structuring a dissertation
- Understand what the different sections of a dissertation should achieve
- Develop your writing style and ability to edit and proofread
For those of you in the UK, we hope you enjoy the bank holiday weekend - and wherever you are in the world we hope you are all staying well.
Student Communications Team