Humans of Our Communities - Jessica Stone

Just after Easter break of first year. A personal incident meant that I’d had to go back home for a few days and I really did not want to come back; I felt alone, vulnerable, and what I’d had to deal with had triggered my depression off again, something that I hadn’t had to contend with while at university. The thing about depression is that it makes you think that you’re not worth help, so you don’t reach out for it. But luckily, I didn’t have a choice. As soon as I stepped through the Halls entrance after my break, the Warden had a meeting with me and my parents, both to reassure my parents and to offer me a listening ear whenever I needed it. Once I was offered the help I needed, and I could tell that it was offered genuinely, I felt a lot less vulnerable. That first weekend back was difficult, with the friends that I usually would have spent time with away or busy. So, I took up the offer of help. That weekend I must have spent at least 5 hours with the Warden and his family, and I don’t know how I would’ve coped otherwise. It was exactly what I needed; just some company, a family dynamic to keep me from missing home, a source of help that wasn’t restricted to office hours. 

It was exactly what I needed; just some company, a family dynamic to keep me from missing home, a source of help that wasn’t restricted to office hours. 

Aside from the time invested in me that weekend, we would also have a meeting every Monday after breakfast just to see how I was, and have a chat. Knowing that I had that as a kind of safety net every week made me feel a lot more confident going into the summer exam period, and again I do not know what I would have done without that help. When I decided that it would be best for me to stay in halls for another year to maintain my support network, the Warden sorted this out very quickly, relieving a lot of stress for me. He also contacted my department to organise meetings for me with my personal tutor and to provide evidence for extenuating circumstances, when I wasn’t quite up to fighting my own corner. 

He also contacted my department to organise meetings for me with my personal tutor and to provide evidence for extenuating circumstances, when I wasn’t quite up to fighting my own corner.

Under the proposed changes, none of this would have happened. Mainly because Wardens would not exist, but also because the new employees that are meant to cover the Warden’s role would never have the time. With the new hub systems, the staff at the Stoke Bishop hub alone would be tasked with overseeing 6 halls; they will be hard-pressed to do the minimum required, let alone invest time in individual students. With mental health statistics rising every year, this is more than a bit worrying. I hate to think that the health of future students is going to be put at risk so, at the end of the day, the university can save a bit of money.