We are nearing the end of another academic year, with the summer term just beginning. I practice near my local university and it is interesting to reflect on the nature of my work with those involved in university life which clearly shows that both students and providers of university education along with those involved in research projects experience massive stresses and strains.
For undergraduate students, university may be their first time away from home and involves a huge adjustment in terms of self-organisation, self-responsibility and self-reliance. Some thrive but others find it difficult, feel homesick, lonely and isolated, with low levels of confidence and self-esteem.
For postgraduates, the intense rigours of academic assignments and funding issues can weigh heavy and mean that there is little time left outside work for beneficial, de-stressing activities.
Pressures for lecturers who combine teaching with research which involves publishing papers, articles and books to secure funding, lead to a heavy workload. Life outside work can be largely put on hold. Stresses in relationships with family, friends and colleagues can arise. This seems to be a similar situation to those I have worked with who are researchers at university.
It can be argued that those involved in university life, whether as a provider or receiver of education or researcher, are fortunate but as a result of the intrinsic stresses, competitive nature of their roles and pressures on securing funding, there can be a detrimental effect on their emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing.
Counselling offers a means of addressing these stresses and strains and clients express the value of receiving counselling in an independent, confidential setting away from the university campus.