That Time Students Need You The Most…

Exams aren’t easy! With increased fees comes increased pressure to succeed. And it’s our job at City University London Students’ Union to support our students in whatever way we can.

That’s why we have an annual “Keep Calm Study On” campaign to help students during what is one of the most intense times of the year- exam time!

We understand that a campaign is no substitute for health services or the teaching and academic support students receive leading up to exams. However, as part of our Keep Calm and Study On campaign, we signpost students to the services that are here to support them, and which they might not have come across in the year up to their exams; guide our students and help them deal with stress, including creative procrastination.

Overall, the campaign aims to help our students get into a mindset where they feel they can achieve their full potential at a time they may be overwhelmed.

The aim:


Feedback from the first time we did this told us that it is valued and that we should be focussing more of our energy into this camapaign, so we have! We’re also very thankful to City Future Fund for sponsoring our activities!

So how do we do it?

Cute ponies!kcso
We hold a “petting zoo” in the local square to encourage stude

nts to take a break from studying, get some fresh air and smile! The petting zoo brings people together- this year we invited local primary school teachers and local residents too. Assessment period can be a brutal time and it can appear bru

tal so we also remind students that they are not alone!

Everyone likes a freebie! Especially useful freebies. We branded the stationary and stickers “Keep Calm Study On” so that when they’re left on desks students can remember that they can do it!


Tension release!IMG_1029
Stressballs and portions of bubble wrap seem to do the trick. As do free massages.
Exercise and meditation

These have proven helpful in learning. CitySport held free yoga sessions for our students whilst our Krishna Consciousness society held guided and 11206476_942652025756507_2996006071987236305_omantra meditation!

Being there
This is one of, if not the most powerful parts of the campaign. It doesn’t require resources, but can make a huge impact.

We try to have people on the stall during the day.. It’s important that they know that there is someone for them to talk to. I recall a student coming to me stressed about an exam they had sat and concerned for future exams. I know nothing about macro economics, or in fact many of what our students study but simply being their listening could help them refocus. I let them vent and tell them how much I admire them and believe in them. It’s real too – the fact they that care so much already tells me they will do well and deserve to do well. It’s also important to help them recognize that exams, though important, do not define that person. They just need to know they’ve given it their all and focus on the next challenge ahead of them.

Procrastination station11064852_10206831814936000_5102110820099183357_n
Jenga, Lego and buzzwires are really quick games that students can just come, take a break  and have a little giggle. IMG_46632

Making changes
Talking to students whilst they’re studying results in lots of interesting feedback we can work on. Thanks to this feedback we successfully ran a campaign to make water accessible in the library.

Our Disabled Students’ Officer also told us that an allocated silent space would also help students, so we made sure we had one of those too.

When you’re studying intently, that five minute break to find food can fall low on the things to do list. But it’s important and it’s important to eat properly. So our catering at City have produced “brainfood” promotions. And we have local businesses doing special discounts for our students too.

Handmade cards11351151_10206831815856023_3853640509829050934_n
We make and deliver handmade “Good Luck” cards to our students. I have to say, some of which (mostly the ones I made) are not the best of quality – but it’s the thought that counts. Putting them silently whilst they’re working in the library, and seeing their reaction, is the best thing ever! We also put little tips in their too.

For the students who have found their way to social media, we post daily motivational quotes on our FB page to help them settle back into revision mode!

Most importantly
There are a number of professional support services available for students to use such as our independent Union Support Service, the Mental Health and Counselling Service, Chaiplancy service, external services such as the Samaritans.

The key to having supporting students through a campaign like this is seeing big potential in little things. The other thing to recognise is that all elements will not attract/support all students- some students may find yoga and meditation super beneficial whilst others may not.

The important thing is that you are supporting the students who need it, at the time they need help – even if it is only a conversation.


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