Study psychologists provide easily accessible help

The University of Oulu counselling services employ five study psychologists who focus on preventive work. At their office, they see the challenges students have with coping. One study psychologist has been hired with donated funds.
Oulun yliopiston opintopsykologit Kersti Lantto ja Pauliina Junnikkala.
Study psychologists Pauliina Junnikkala (on the right) and Kersti Lantto find it important to address issues as early on and with as little hesitation as possible.

According to Study Psychologist Pauliina Junnikkala, challenges related to managing time and day-to-day activities are typical reasons for coming to see a study psychologist.

“The decision can stem from a diverse variety of issues. University studies now require much more independent study skills than ever before. This involves pacing one’s daily life and knowing oneself to a degree: how do I organise my studies, how can I, specifically, learn in the best possible way, how can I ensure that I can cope with the load,” Junnikkala explains.

Junnikkala and Study Psychologist Kersti Lantto emphasise that study psychologists focus on preventive work.

“Treatment is provided by health care services, such as FSHS,” Lantto emphasises.

A typical challenge is the difficulty of getting started

Anyone can make an appointment with a study psychologist. Usually, appointments are available from one to five.

“The contents of the appointments are entirely based on the needs of the students, who usually have something specific on their mind that they need help with. We discuss, help and give concrete tips on how to overcome any blocks. We roll up our sleeves right away,” Junnikkala describes.

A very typical challenge among students is the difficulty of getting started. This leads to studies not quite progressing as planned.

“The tools can be very concrete, such as calendars or certain apps to help manage time. That said, I would like to emphasise that we use the tools of a psychologist for the work. Emotions, thoughts and psychological hangups related to studies are at the core. For example, we consider the ways in which to control one’s own emotional states and energy levels, and the ways in which to handle related challenges.

The increase in remote studies is also evident at the study psychologists’ office. Some students may have difficulty getting their day-to-day lives in order when the studies take place remotely. The situation can also lead to the misconception that no one else is having any problems at all.

“We also provide two Moodle courses to all students on study skills and well-being. They include concrete tips on time management study techniques, and I recommend them to all students across the board, even if they have no challenges related to study progress,” Lantto indicates.

Opintopsykologit Kersti Lantto (oik) ja Pauliina Junnikkala .

Study skills are directly linked to working life skills

The psychologists find it important to address issues as early on and with as little hesitation as possible.

“The earlier you realise the problems, the more likely you are to avoid pitfalls in the future. Studies are an extremely important time in a young person’s life. This phase of life forms the basis for self-esteem, ability to cope and confidence in the future, which will be extremely important in life later on. This is why that study skills are directly linked to working life skills. The same skills will be needed many times over,” Junnikkala says.

In addition to one-on-one meetings, the study psychologist services entail a variety of groups, such as the multidisciplinary thesis working group, study skill group for those with an ADHD diagnosis, the study together group, and a group for people with performance anxiety.

“New groups can also be set up flexibly, listening carefully to the needs of the students themselves. Peer support is of course the most important benefit of the group, alongside continuity: the groups usually meet 4–7 times and the thesis group has even more meetings,” Lantto describes.

The study psychologists also train the staff

The professional expertise of the study psychologists is not limited to students alone.

“We also train staff members so that everyone can support a diverse range of learning methods. As regards different learners, however, the fact is that many methods that benefit them can help absolutely everyone,” Junnikkala emphasises.

Junnikkala and Lantto enjoy their work with students.

“Students are usually highly committed. They are motivated to test the practices in their daily lives, and we have often been told that even a single appointment has helped steer studies in the right direction. This is of course very rewarding to us. We also want to make it clear to the students that, if they have need for further discussions, we are here for them.”

Text: Kati Valjus
Photos: Mikko Törmänen

Find out about the services of study psychologists for students

Teksti: Kati Valjus
Kuvat: Mikko Törmänen

Students are supported with donation funds

One of the university’s study psychologist has been hired with donated funds. We want to extend a warm thank you to all donors for the support towards students welfare!

Donations can still be made for the benefit of students. We collection donations to enable exhange student programmes and strengthen students’ working life skills. The donations received are used directly on mobility grants and traineeship support.

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Last updated: 22.3.2024