How to Deal With Personal Emergencies When You’re At Uni Far From Home
When you decided to go to Uni far from home, one of your biggest concerns was that you would face a personal emergency and have to leave school to be with your family. Well, what happens when you’re actually in that case? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. I've compiled a list of things to do so that you can get through this sticky situation as smoothly as possible.
Disclaimer: I am no expert but I've been through this thing called 'life experience' and I wanted to give some insight.
1. Talk to the people in charge ASAP
Lectures are people, too, but they aren’t going to be too understanding if they straight-up have no idea what’s going on! Don't wait until you're stuck at home and can't finish an assignment or panicking over a deadline. Talk to them in person and explain the situation and what you will need from them, and try to offer up a solution for any missed work or absences.
Every university is different so pending on the size some lectures may be relatively unreachable. So, make sure that you get a hold of whomever oversees housekeeping for course or module , whether that’s a head of department, student adviser, or course coordinator. If you have the contact information for all the people in charge, it doesn’t hurt to email them all so that they’re in the loop.
2. Be aware of policies/resources My lecturer use to say this a million times, "it’s on the syllabus!" So before reaching out to them, make sure you read through the syllabus one more time so that you know what you need to ask for. If you just need to miss one class period, then check your syllabus to see if there’s a policy that allows you to miss class in the case of a personal emergency. Many syllabus have mental health stipulations as well. Even if you are going to have to miss way more class than your syllabus says you’re allowed to, it’s good to at least understand what policies have to be bent for you.
3. Reach out to on-campus counseling Despite the stigma around mental health, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of getting help when you need it. Many universities have on-campus counseling, and will be willing to work with you to figure out financial aid if you need it. It doesn’t hurt to reach out and ask! Alternatively if you just want to talk, Samaritans offers a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.
4. Keep a solid support system around you
The transition from living at home to living at school is difficult for everyone, and going through a personal emergency just makes it that much harder. That’s why it’s important to keep friends around you who feel like family. When you can't be with family, having a supportive group of friends is almost just as good, and they can keep you from losing it.
When you’re going through difficult times, it can be tempting to withdraw and spend less time with your friends, because they can’t understand what you’re going through. However, during these times, it’s more important than ever to step out of your comfort zone and continue to build solid friendships. Let’s face it; making friends is always difficult and almost never fun, but once you’ve gotten past the “awkward phase” (which seems to last forever), it’s so worth it. A roommate is a natural friend because you literally live with her, but if you don’t get along with your roommate, don’t give up! There are plenty of other ways to make friends. Don’t be afraid to open up to your friends; chances are, they can offer some solid advice or at least a listening ear! Even if you don’t want to have deep conversations just yet, nothing sucks more than being lonely, so challenge yourself to reach out to someone on Campus society or someone to study together or grab coffee or ice cream.
5. Understand that you’re going to be okay Think about it. What’s the worst that can happen? Not graduating on time? Would that really be that bad? No matter what happens, you’re going to get through this and you’re going to be okay.
Throughout difficult times in life, it’s so, so important to keep things in perspective. School is important, but it isn’t everything. A couple of bad grades or even a couple failed classes won’t matter in five years. So, take some deep breaths, calm down, and focus on your mental health before anything else.
Going through a personal emergency is never fun, and going through it when you’re away from home is an absolute nightmare. However, there are so many resources on campus that exist to make it as easy as possible. You can do it!