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Talk to Tom

When I first started at university, I had a lot of questions and often needed a lot more advice than what was on offer. Trouble is, there’s a lot of questions that are difficult to find answers to and it’s often very fundamental stuff. What if you’ve had a little more trouble picking up APA referencing than your classmates, or taking care of yourself is proving difficult? Heck, one of the biggest problems I’ve seen has been with self-care. University is hard and that’s before you start introducing new problems like tenancy, relationship complications and other sundries. This year, I’d like to help to make life a little more manageable for you.

My role here at AUTSA is as a Student Advocate and that means student safety and wellbeing is very high on my list of priorities. Every year, the Advocacy Team here at AUTSA receives an impressive number of questions. Some are about Studylink, some are about self-care, some are about arguments with other students or supervisors. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them. The service that we provide is kind, responsible, experienced and professional. We’ve assisted students with everything from academic integrity hearings to appealing their final grades and understanding their rights as members of the university community. There are a lot of challenges that are inherent to being a student and my concern is taking the edge off these challenges so that you can learn the most important lesson of university: there’s more to life than stress.

If you’re having a problem, you can always email me or book an appointment to come and see me, or Helen (you can find our details below), but I’ve got a few other ideas of my own too.

There may be questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of people, especially in crowded lecture theatres or workshops. No one wants to be that person who asks a question only to get laughed at.

That’s why I’ve created the “Ask a Stupid Question” sessions, after a trial run last year. They’re nice opportunities to get some food, hang out with new people and ask the questions you’re too worried to ask in a normal class environment, free of judgement. I’ll be giving you all a heads-up about these when we get closer to the time! In the meantime, I’m going to open the floor up to write to me in Agony Aunt style and ask any general questions you might have, whether it be life advice, academic and lifestyle stuff, or other things on your mind (I can’t give legal advice though, because that’d be a bit naughty…and also break the law. Whoops). If you want to ask me anything, feel free to write to me at with your questions and I’ll answer them here in future issues of Debate.

If you need help from the Advocacy Team, then get in touch at We’re based on Level 2, WC Building on the City Campus, in the AUTSA Office if you need a face to face meeting. If you’re on North Campus, we’re available there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’ll be over at South Campus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Drop in to the AUTSA desk and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, be kind to yourselves this year and try to take care of yourselves, too! Your health and wellbeing is so important, and I want to see all of you walk across the stage at the end of this road to collect your degree.

Take care!

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