All students are assigned a personal tutor when they start at the University of Derby, so you can be assured you’ve always got someone to turn to. Wondering what personal tutors do and how can they help? Let me explain.
What is the role of a personal tutor and can they really help you?
A personal tutor is someone you can contact at any time if you have any problems with your course, module, assignments or even a personal problem. From my experience, I can say that I have had incredible support from my personal tutor. Twice during each semester, we share informal meetings where we’re able to explore topics together, such as:
- how I am doing so far
- if I am satisfied with how things are going
- if anything is worrying me
- how the modules feel
- what my next assignments and deadlines are
We also talk about other activities I get involved in around the University, such as attending presentations or fairs that can be important or useful for my course and my development. We discuss part-time jobs and managing work and study together. In addition, personal tutors ask about your mental wellbeing, which I believe is one of the most important subjects to have the opportunity to discuss with someone you can trust.
How do you feel after meeting with your personal tutor?
Meetings with my personal tutor always improve my mood and reassure me that I am well supported at the University, especially when I am regularly asked about my mental wellbeing. This makes me feel that I can really rely on the University, both academically and personally. Of course, meeting with a personal tutor is not mandatory. However, if you care about your studies and mental wellbeing, I recommend that you attend – even if you feel that you are on top of everything, informally chatting to someone who is external to you can really bring out thoughts, feelings and new ways of thinking that you may not have previously considered. It is also a great opportunity to get feedback on your work and your development areas, while exploring new ideas for the future.
For me personally, I can say that I am incredibly glad that we, as students, have the opportunity to receive this support. I know that if something unexpected happened, I have someone to turn to who could try and help me. Among other things, you can contact this person if you want to report your absence, or if you have feedback on your module or teacher.
Every student is different and so is the approach from a personal tutor
A personal tutor is a person who takes care of all students on your course, but even though he/she cares about so many students at one time, I can say that the help is always tailored to the individual. For example, for me, as an international student, I was approached a little differently to home students. My personal tutor is aware of specific concerns international students may have. For example, I am frequently asked if I am understanding my lectures okay, or if I have any concerns with essays, reports, or presentation feedback. I was offered English lessons organised by the University where I could not only improve my English, but also learn how to approach assignments. I was so grateful that my personal tutor could support me with solutions in this area.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
In summary, the support on offer is so valuable. If you are afraid of having a problem that seems unsolvable, believe me, it can be solved because you will always be able to contact your personal tutor who will be ready to help and support you. Not only can you have a personal tutor, but there are also many other people around the University that you can contact, including the Student Centre, Library, Student Employment Agency, Student Wellbeing, or if you are financially troubled then the Student Finance Team are also on hand.
Believe me, at the University of Derby, you are not alone; there is always someone you can talk to.