Welcome to the new academic year from Student Wellbeing Services!
Hey you, new or returning student at Haaga-Helia!
A warm welcome to the new academic year and to the Haaga-Helia community. As a university community, we are large; with over 10,000 students, our university accommodates just as many different learning paths, learners, and future dreams.
For some, autumn is full of excitement and marks the beginning of a new phase in life, as summer has revealed the admission results, opening doors to their dream careers. For others, autumn signifies a return to studying after a long career, with the jigsaw puzzle of everyday life now including balancing learning with a busy schedule.
Some may return to their studies with mixed feelings, questioning whether they are on the right path or if they have enough resources to study. The diversity of experiences and life situations within our student community is a rich tapestry, and every student has the right to embark on a new semester as a part of the group, feeling safe and secure.
The safe community is important
Belonging and the sense of being part of a community are essential factors in our well-being and health as human beings. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that the sense of belonging to an academic community is crucial for maintaining motivation in one's studies. To facilitate this sense of community, we need a feeling of safety—a sense that we are free from threats, fears, and harassment in the community where we belong, and that we are seen and accepted as individuals.
The foundation of a sense of belonging to a community is built upon this sense of security, and it is also essential from a learning perspective. If one is concerned or uncomfortable, focusing and learning new skills can become difficult.
Therefore, as we embark on this new academic year, we want to remind you of how to maintain a safe learning environment. A safe learning environment is one free from harassment and inappropriate treatment. If you experience mistreatment during your studies, you can confidentially contact Haaga-Helia's harassment contact person .
No need to stay alone
A safe learning environment also means that, as a student, you should feel valued regardless of your background or academic achievements. Every learning path is unique, and you have the right to receive support. Haaga-Helia has invested in guidance and support for learning. In addition to your personal guidance counselor, you have access to study advisors, special education teachers, study coaches, study psychologists, and university chaplains. You do not have to navigate the challenges of your studies alone.
A safe learning environment also means that everyone's needs are seen, heard, and considered as far as possible. Each of us can contribute to creating a safer environment by considering our fellow students. By asking about how they’re doing, listening without prejudice, and remembering that we all share the need to be accepted and seen as valuable individuals.
The "principle of good intent" can help here: assuming that people generally mean well and seeking clarification when needed. When we strive to see each other as complete individuals with our own histories and emotions, we foster greater compassion and, consequently, a safer atmosphere for all.
To strengthen your own sense of security, you can start by reflecting on your own needs. You can ask yourself, "What do I need to feel safe in my studies?" You can also discuss these reflections with Haaga-Helia's well-being professionals, who are here for you at every stage of your studies. So, here's to a year of peaceful and enthusiastic learning!
Jenni Virtanen, Study Coach at Haaga-Helia