At the time you applied to the University of Melbourne, I’m sure none of you could have predicted the current situation and what your university education would look like under coronavirus (COVID-19), myself included.
No doubt you are feeling many different emotions right now such as anxiety, frustration and uncertainty. At times, I feel these to. I want you all to know that regardless of what you are feeling, every response is valid. Again, I thank each of you for your patience, I fully appreciate it has been tested over the past few weeks. Now more than ever, it is important to look after your own mental health and wellbeing and on this, I want you to consider two key points, connection and adaptability.
As humans, we all want to connect through socialisation and discussion, as you adapt to new ways of learning online, I hope that you and your fellow tutorial group members will use all of the tools available to you to maintain that connection. Make full use of online discussion boards and chat functions, start Whatsapp groups, even create a shared Spotify subject playlist. What I value about university is the opportunity to explore, debate and discover. Already, I am impressed by the resilience of our student body to take this on and even to create online communities where everyone is respected and welcomed and for this, I would like to say thank you.
Should you be feeling anxious and are not sure who you can talk to, I would urge you to seek assistance. Our University Counselling and Psychological Services offer a range of online material and I recommend you read their tip sheet for dealing with stress and anxiety at this time. Please also consider public services like Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
We would all like ‘normal life’ to start again as soon as possible and we can each assist with this by practicing safe social distancing and staying at home unless you need essential services and items like food or medical services. Please go to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services for the most up-to-date advice. The Australian Government has also launched a Coronavirus Australia app, which is available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play, alongside the Government's new WhatsApp feature.
Please also continue to regularly check the University’s COVID-19 Student Advice and Support page for information on teaching and learning, support and funding and student services.
At this stage, I plan to be checking in with you all weekly while COVID-19 interrupts regular routine, so until next week, stay safe and all the best with your studies and online connections.
Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics