My journey as a student well-being tutor

As we grow older, we find less time for tasks that don’t have an end goal or have something to show for. At the end of each day, I look at my progress and reflect on the various aspects of my life. Even though I cross off my to-do list, some days I question what it is all for.
Person in Oulu

Well-being tutoring

The well-being tutoring is part of a project organized by OYY (the Student Union of the University of Oulu) and funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme intends to encourage starting a new hobby among university students. Aside from recruiting and training well-being tutors to personally coach and organize mini workshops for hobby activities, the project has established several partnerships which, for example, make it possible for students to avail significant discounts during participation.

Becoming a well-being tutor

I distinctly remember my first well-being tutoring activity. I had the support of three other tutors Aliina, Viivi, and our project coordinator Timi. We were out in the stadium one chilly October evening, appropriately dressed, of course, in sportswear. It was my first time playing Finnish yard games. Fortunately, the rules were simple, and my fellow tutors helped me understand it. They provided instructions in Finnish and we followed up in English. We played games like Mölkky, Tervapata, Peili, Lokki etc.

It was rewarding for me to see the participants’ enthusiasm.

Well-being tutoring activities

The well-being project has four major categories of activities, and this was a part of sports tutoring activity. The other categories are culture tutoring and skills tutoring.

There are general tutoring events, like the wellness café, nutrition support, and study support. In culture tutoring, there are museum and art gallery visits, concerts, film clubs, creative writing groups, among others. In sports tutoring activities organized so far, we have had climbing, judo, beach volley, canoeing, floorball, and many other activities. I organized a sports tutoring involving Yoga. We started off with a general discussion, followed by stretches, yoga asanas (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation.

I was also inspired by the many fun and interesting events being held by my fellow tutors in the skills and knowledge-based category such as acrylic painting, Finnish speaking practice, board games, etc. I wanted to expand the range of my own tutoring and started with board games. I very much enjoyed playing some familiar games, and some uncommon, interesting ones. It is quite an entertaining and engaging experience. What is especially encouraging for me is the participants that usually learn the rules of the game quickly and play well.

At the end of October, I had an idea to apply crafting skills to make Halloween costumes from old materials and some office supplies acquired from the OYY, and some things like foil, cardboard, and film, that can be found in every household. Timi, our Project Coordinator, was very supportive and encouraged me in every step. The group came up with costumes like the Phantom of the Opera, Cruella and a Pirate. All the participants were happy to make their outfits. It was a pleasant time and I made new friends who invited me to a Halloween party the next day.

Ready for Halloween!

In the following weeks, more fun activities such as online group games, origami and drawing followed.

The benefits of well-being tutoring

Aside from the mental, physical, emotional, social, and psychological well-being supporting aspects, what I also like about this project is that it inspires many interesting discussions about the study programs, ongoing activities, ideas etc. It brings people together.

The only way we make friends is if we meet them!

This was one of my missing pieces - it was something that made my day more complete! Ever since I realized this, I have been regularly and actively involved in well-being tutoring. With the help of OYY, and sometimes collaborating with the Oulu city services, many activities are possible for the well-being of students at the University of Oulu. And I plan to keep exploring my ideas and connecting with other people who are reaching out as well! :)

About the author

Niyati Kandikanti from India is studying Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Oulu. She had never travelled abroad before coming to Oulu, and now her travel list has been growing ever since.