Many students combine university study with care or support for a family member, friend or partner. This may pose unique challenges to your studies, and you are encouraged to speak to a member of staff in your School or the Student Welfare team if you have questions or concerns, and want to learn more about support available.
Welcome and Induction
If you would like support and advice prior to your arrival you can contact the Transitions Co-ordinator in the Student Guidance Centre. The Transitions Co-ordinator can answer any questions and concerns you may have and can also help to make any arrangements you need to ease your transitions to university. If you are a young carer and have a support worker we can liaise with your support worker if you prefer, though we would only do this with your written permission. You may also wish to make an appointment with the Transitions Co-ordinator in your first few weeks at Queen’s to talk about your individual situation and support available to you.
If you find yourself missing classes because of problems relating to caring for someone else this may impact on you keeping up with your academic work. It may be helpful to have a discussion with your Personal Tutor at the start of your studies, to talk through some of the difficulties you anticipate and how you might approach them in relation to your studies.
Missed deadlines and poor attendance will affect your academic performance so you will need to inform a member of staff if your studies become affected. Make sure you let your Personal Tutor or Advisor of Studies know if you are having problems. Although your role as a carer or parent is not in itself an exceptional circumstance, unexpected situations or difficulties may arise that do fall within the procedure – make yourself aware of this, and speak to your Personal Tutor or the Students’ Union Education and Welfare Adviser if you have any queries.
The Learning Development Service is also available to students, offering one-to-one consultations, workshops and web resources on academic skills, including time and stress management.
Juggling such responsibilities with academic study can be challenging and place additional stress on a student’s own physical and mental health.
There is support available if you are struggling with emotional or personal issues. The Counselling Service offers a safe, non-judgemental environment for you to talk to a professional about what you are going through.
Carers NI operate an advice and information service for carers and professionals, dealing with a range of issues such as carers' benefits, community care and services for carers, as well as support networks for carers. http://www.carersuk.org/northernireland
Carers Trust Northern Ireland provides support and information for carers in Northern Ireland.
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety NI Guidance for carers, including an A-Z guide that provides advice on who and where to contact for information, support and services relevant to carers. http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/ec-carers
If you have to suspend your studies to care for someone your funding is usually also suspended.
Some students with caring responsibilities may be eligible to extra financial support.
For information on funding implications of time away from studies, or to talk about financial support available, contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre.
If you have young children, arranging appropriate childcare may be a key issue in enabling you to fully participate in your course. Childcare @Queen’s offers full-time childcare as well as an out of school club. http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/StudentPlus/ChildcareatQueens/
Student parent information
The StudentParents.org website has been developed by a national education charity and it has useful information about costs of University and funding, and links to case studies.