A reduced ability to study impacts future ability to work – solutions are found in student guidance and physical activity

This week is the International Day of University Sport, and the Finnish Student Sports Federation OLL, the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences SAMOK, and the National Union of University Students in Finland SYL are demanding better conditions for students to build their ability to work while studying.

Many university students’ ability to study has declined because of mental health issues. This also chips away at the mental resources needed to look after themselves. The demanding studies, the financial worries of student life, and managing one’s own routines have become harder in a society where more and more people feel like they and the things they do are not enough. If the stress of studying is already too much for a student, then they won’t have the energy to look after their overall wellbeing by getting some exercising after a day of studying.

A reduced ability to study is threatening the future ability to work in a challenging situation where society is in dire need of educated experts. How can we guarantee a good working life in the future if the studies sap all the strength out of the future employees?

We need solutions now. Improving the financial situation of students, guidance and support services, and everyday physical activity in particular have a long-term impact on overall wellbeing. Students must have access to the support they need to move forward in their studies for example through the student guidance services at their university, an educational psychologist, or the services of the FSHS. Getting support helps the student to increase and maintain their study skills. Getting peer support through student tutors can also be an important factor when building wellbeing, particularly for new students. The third sector also contains specific skills which complement the other services.

It’s also important to increase the amount of daily physical activity at universities so that the students can acquire ergonomic study habits and an active lifestyle and learn the importance of taking breaks from work. The conditions and services of university sports, which are set out in the Universities Act and the Government Decree on Universities of Applied Sciences, significantly improve the wellbeing and ability to work of students and the entire university community. In addition, even small amounts of movement and physical activity while studying is important for the ability to focus and learn. All this creates a cycle which brings more balance to both the studies and the unique stage of life that is university.

We ask the new parliament and other decision-makers to sort out the services that support students’ lives and the resources of university sports – they if anything are what will build a sustainable working life for the future. As the parliamentary session has started, they should also remember to relax by exercising.

Emilia Junnila
President of OLL

Lotta Leinonen
President of SYL

Joonas Soukkio
President of SAMOK

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