Student well-being encompasses the social, emotional and intellectual aspects of student life. It’s both an individual and a communal responsibility; students themselves, their fellow students and their lecturers all have a major influence. At AU, student well-being is high on the agenda. This is one of the reasons the university carries out study environment surveys. These surveys show that while the majority of students thrive at AU, some students experience loneliness and stress, in addition to other challenges.
We can use the student life model, which illustrates the complexity of the individual student’s life, to understand student well-being. The model was developed at the Counselling and Support Centre, which offers supports to students who experience academic and social challenges due to disabilities.
The student life model illustrates how students must navigate and create meaningful balance between their own motivation, resources and qualifications, on the one hand, and the programme’s requirements and curriculum on the other. To create this kind of balance in their studies, students must to some degree independently prioritise and relate to the requirements of the programme and the curriculum (yellow) in order to acquire and apply knowledge (green) and participate in and collaborate within their academic environment (red).
It’s necessary for the student to harmonise this internal balance with the other aspects of their lives outside their studies. For this reason, student well-being encompasses both an internal and an external balance: academic performance, interpersonal relationships and the individual’s personal situation and values are interconnected.
Student well-being can thus be described as a meaningful balance between the individual students’ life and the rest of their life. Well-being is difficult to achieve if only the non-academic aspects of your life function – and vice versa. This doesn’t necessarily mean that students aren’t thriving if they prioritise their studies over the rest of their lives, which will typically happen during exams. And by the same token, students may also be forced to assign their studies a lower priority in some periods, perhaps because of family issues, an exciting student job or other life events. This does not necessarily mean that their well-being will be compromised.
The content is written by Hanne Balsby Thingholm at Rådgivnings- og støttecentret in collaboration with Centre for Educational Development and student guidance counsellors (VEST).
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