Hello! I'm Barbara and if you are very lucky I might let you share my college for a year or so.
My job is to implement the decisions of the College Management Committee. That's the paper shuffling bit. I also spend a lot of time talking with and listening to students. My office (A07 Grizedale College Foyer) is very close to the Grizedale Security lodge next to the College Bar. Soooooooo........ if you are paying a visit to Karen Redhead (CRO) or just passing, pop your head round my door and introduce yourself. It's the little things that keep me going so feel free to call any time.
If I don't meet you for any other reason, I will see you when you come to collect your Freshers' Dinner ticket and later when you need tickets for other college functions e.g. Christmas Ball (Black Tie), end of year extravaganza, Graduation reception (Bring your party clothes). For those of you who are foolish enough to displease the Dean - I will see you when you come to pay the fine.
I am not an academic and I don't know anything, but I know a lot of people who do so, if you have a question, ask me and I will point you in the right direction. Alternatively, if living amongst the 'clever' people of the world starts to make you feel inferior, pop along for a cup of tea (no sugar in mine) and I promise you will leave my office feeling superior to at least one member of the community. :-)
My door is always open and you don't need to have a problem to come in for a chat. However, if you do need to speak to me in private you should bear in mind that I am not telepathic. You have to say "I need to speak to you in private please" or use some sort of sign language. As if by magic, the office will empty and we will sit down and sort out whatever it is that's bothering you. Isn't communication wonderful? Likewise, if you are in my office having a chat and I ask to be alone I expect you to realize that there is someone waiting in the wings with a greater need than you/me for a chat and you must leave and come back later.
The university is full of people who are willing and able to help you. We can't guarantee to wave a magic wand and make your troubles go away but you will be surprised how easily problems, which seem insurmountable to you, can sometimes be solved. You are responsible for your life, but you are not expected to face everything alone. You are not expected to know everything, if you knew everything, why would you be coming here?
As a student you can expect to be in a constant state of flux for a long time. It will be exhilarating and, hopefully, it will be a very positive experience, but there may be times when it is just too much for you to cope with on your own. At these times I and others like me, will be here waiting for you to call.
I would like you to arrive excited but apprehensive, expecting to feel loss: loss of family, loss of friends, loss of all that is familiar and comforting. If you arrive expecting to feel insecure and alone, it can only get better. Accept the lows along with the highs and enjoy the experiences. Make it all count; and if it gets too much, seek help. Don't suffer in silence, or what is a minor 'blip' may end up with a total 'shut down'.
I am looking forward to getting to know you so why wait for the start of term? The summer holidays are pretty boring for me, nothing but paperwork, so if you have any questions, why not email me or telephone me on +44 (0) 1524 592631 and we can make a start at getting to know one another.