Theatre Blog

Pastoral Care For Performing Arts Students

Written by  Friday, 29 November 2013
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No matter what age you are, going off to university or a performing arts college for the first time can be daunting. If you're a performing arts student your course will expect you to study long hours.  This will not just be physically demanding on your body, but also mentally.  We look at the challenges you may face, and how best to overcome them.

Studying away from home comes with the responsibility of taking ownership of your own learning and practice. You are now in charge of learning, so it is important that you manage your workload. If you are facing difficulties, talk to your tutor or ask your peers - they might be able to share with you their own tips.

Likewise having a learning difficulty can be stressful, especially if it goes unnoticed. Having a learning disability is not uncommon; according to the BBC around 650 million people in the world do. There are many professionals working in the industry who have faced the same challenges. Did you know Kiera Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Vince Vaughn all have dyslexia? Many schools have a disability department dedicated to providing learning resources and each case in hand. People learn in all different ways, so they will be there to support you to help to reach your full potential.

Whilst studying, the last thing you want to be preoccupied with is financial worries. However with your course likely to require long hours, you may unfortunately find that your college or university frowns upon raising funds by working at the same time. If you are struggling to pay course fees or bills, speak to your finance department. With a variety of funding and scholarship options available, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Additionally conduct research online; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) provides information on loans and bursaries, and possible entitlements.

During the first few weeks of arriving at your new college, you should register with a doctor in the local area. Taking care of your health is important, especially if your course is heavily dance focused and therefore there is a high risk of getting injured. Although NHS is making huge waves by offering dancers with a specialist clinic in London, if you study outside the capital you may wish to take out private care. Equally, it may be beneficial to see if your school or local community offers classes in Pilates or Yoga, or offers sports massages to prevent you from getting injured.

Many schools have now set up a number of graduate support schemes that offer students peer support. The Buddy System is very popular, allowing students to talk to someone on their level. The school assigns a new student with a student in the year above, presenting them with the opportunity to keep in touch throughout the year to discuss a variety of topics, from practical information to emotional support. If your college or university does not offer any official schemes, approach your tutor. They may be able to put you touch with someone suitable to talk to.

Finally, most colleges have an Open Door Policy. At the beginning of your course, you should be allocated with a tutor. If your college is small, then this may just be the Course Director. They will be your first point of contact if you have any issues, no matter how big or small. You will be able to talk to them in confidence, discussing any problems you might be facing. They may deem it suitable to refer you to a counsellor or advising services available. Even if you feel that your troubles might be insignificant it is always worth opening up to someone.

We hope you found this advice useful. Remember, if you are finding studying away from home difficult help is always at hand. To talk to someone in confidence you can also get in contact with The Samaritans.

Read 1369 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 April 2015
Sophia Tremenheere

In her free time Sophia plays the french horn and piano, which is where her love for performing arts first stemmed from. Her top three favourite shows are musicals Mamma Mia, Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera. She also enjoys going to intimate gigs and festivals, particularly watching acts that are just starting out in their career, and regularly meets up with #LDNTheatreBloggers.

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