Tragedy and circumstance can strike at any time. Several students told us how MLS Wellbeing Support has been there for them through difficult times. Many thanks to all the students who chose to share their experiences.
“I was in the unfortunate circumstance of needing the university's support services late last year when the diagnosis of one of my family members with a serious illness had left me emotionally distraught very close to two 100% law exams. Contrasting my experience with the central special consideration system with my experience with Kate is a testament to how important her role is to students. Where the central administration made me even more worried about unattainable and arbitrary deadlines for paperwork and proof, Kate was empathetic and understanding and gave me complete assurances that the Law School would be supportive of what I needed. The centralisation of these services is misguided and foolhardy, and will jeopardise one of the most risky areas of support the university has to provide.”
“A few days before my exams in semester 2 first year one of my best friends took her own life, and I was obviously extremely distraught (especially so a few days out from my Contracts exam). I spoke to Kate over the phone and she was extremely supportive and understanding. She advised that if I was able to I should attempt to sit my remaining exams if possible, but that if I was to fail it would not matter in the slightest, and that she would arrange everything for me to sit supplementary exams if possible, or some other arrangement if required. After seeing her after one exam she was extremely supportive and provided counselling. Her emotional support was invaluable and the reassurance she provided made an absolute tragedy somewhat more bearable in that law school no longer had to be a worry, and I could focus more on my friends/family and emotional well-being. Only someone with a close proximity to the workings of the law school, with her level of experience, candour and sensitivity, could have provided such a service.”
“In first Semester last year I was dealing with the emotional fallout of the death of my sister in drug-related circumstances. My studies suffered and I was forced to confront the Course Unsatisfactory Progress Committee which, inevitably, exacerbated matters. Kate provided the only human, compassionate point of contact in what was otherwise a cold, mechanical and frightening process. Her help and support has gotten me back on track. I find it highly disconcerting that a faculty that constantly preaches well-being will favour re-painting a wall over supporting such a crucial and undervalued resource.”
“In second semester last year, I was dealing with the breakdown of my relationship, clerkships, internships and law school. Kate referred me onto a counsellor and gave me the time and space to feel safe enough to tell her how I felt. I didn't need to sugar coat my grievances with the law school which is almost impossible to do in any respect except with Kate. When these problems began to resurface this year, she also approved my extension for a paper without question.”
“Wellbeing support helped me through a particularly difficult time last year. During the assessment period, an immediate family member entered what would be the final stage of terminal illness. For a 7-week period I flew back and forth to QLD, where the invalid was based. During this time I sat or submitted assessment for 3 JD courses. The final assessment piece for one of these courses was a research essay. When I submitted a paper that was grossly under the word limit, Kate, in concert with my lecturer, approved an additional extension. Kate recognised that my initial offering in no way reflected the extent of my knowledge, as I had been trying to write the paper whilst helping to care for the invalid. I was saddened and disappointed to learn of the proposed axing of her role. It beggars belief that a law school with a rapidly expanding student base should seek to downsize its system for student support. Dean Carolyn Evans wrote in response to last year's Law Student Wellbeing Survey that the results of the survey would 'inform the ongoing efforts of the Law School to support student wellbeing'. I'm genuinely perplexed - how does the removal of the Student Wellbeing Coordinator further this purpose?”