Overcoming Perfectionism Workshop – Semester 1 2019

How many of the above statements can you relate to? If it is a few, then Perfectionism might be relevant for you.

For more information on what Perfectionism is, and how it can be problematic, check out my earlier blog post which explores this in more detail.


Perfectionism is such a common problem among university students, that we regularly run a workshop series which helps students with overcoming problematic perfectionism.

The series of 4 x 90 minute workshops will focus on why perfectionism can be hard to shift, strategies to shift from problematic perfectionism to healthy striving, and how to manage self-criticism and procrastination.

The workshops will be held over four weekly sessions:

At Callaghan Campus: 1-2.30pm on Thursdays, commencing Thursday 7th March 2019

At Ourimbah Campus: 1-2.30pm on Tuesdays, commencing Tuesday 12th March 2019

Places are limited. To register for your place, complete the online registration form or email counselling at newcastle.edu.au for more information.

Welcome to 2019

Welcome back from holidays! I hope you have had a fun and safe holiday period and are returning to study at least a little refreshed. If not, there is always coffee!

Counselling, Online Counselling and Student Support are now open again and ready to help you out with any questions you have or things you might be struggling with.

Skype Drop In sessions will resume from Wk 1 of Semester 1 – Monday 25th February 2019. 

The University Crisis Support line is available on 130 653 007 or SMS 0488 863 216 between the hours of 5pm-9am on weekdays, and 24 hrs over the weekends and public holidays.


The end of another year

Today is the final day of the exam period, and many of you will have either already finished for the year or be finishing up in the coming weeks.

Congratulations on making it to the end another year!

Now can be a good time to take a few moments to reflect on 2018: What worked well for you with your studies this year? What didn’t work? Is there anything you would like to do differently next year?

If there are some things you would like to change, but you have been struggling to do so, remember that Counselling is available – both face to face and online. Counselling can be a good way to explore and overcome anything that might be barrier to change, or to help you if things did not go well but you are not quite sure why or how to change things.


Counselling and Online Counselling will be closed from Thursday 20th December 2018, and will reopen at 9am on Monday 7th January 2019.

Skype Drop In sessions have now closed for the year, and will recommence in Week 1 of Semester 1 2019. 

If you need to speak with someone, the UON Crisis Support Line will be available 24 hrs a day from Thursday 20th December 2018 to Sunday 6th January 2019. You can call on 1300 653 007 or SMS 0488 884 165.

Alternatively, Lifeline 13 11 14 and the Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 are also available 24 hrs/day.


We wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday period, and look forward to working with you in 2019.



Managing Exam Anxiety Workshop

Did exam anxiety get to you last semester? You are not alone!

Register below to learn some strategies and tips to get on top of Exam Anxiety.

Do it now – don’t let your brain convince you to do it later!



Managing Exam Anxiety Workshop

This workshop will focus on strategies to manage negative thinking and self-talk  about exams and help you learn how to be aware of your emotions without becoming overwhelmed with study and exams.



Thursday 1 November 1-2 pm


Tuesday 6 November 3-4 pm

(the workshop is repeated and attendance is required at only one workshop)


McMullin Building

Callaghan Campus


Register your place and find further information at


University Mental Health Day

Today, Tuesday May 1st, is University Mental Health Day across Australia and New Zealand.

University Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of the mental health and well-being needs of those who study and work in higher education settings.

A key part of being human is feeling connected to others and your community. Evidence suggests that spending time with your community, friends and family as well as pets can really support your mental health and wellbeing.

For University Mental Health Day, we encourage you to take a moment to identify and acknowledge your community contacts, friends and family. Perhaps, plan to catch up with someone over coffee, sport or taking a walk together.

At UON Callaghan campus today we have an expo with a focus on getting involved with your community. Come along and find out more, or join our Online Forum on Building Digital Student Communities at 5pm 1st May on Blackboard Collaborate.

Events at NeWSpace and Ourimbah are planned too. See here for details.

Most of all, stay connected for your mental health.


For support, phone:

University of Newcastle after-hours Support Line: call 1300 653 007

UON Counselling and Online Counselling appointments: (02) 4921 6622

Overcoming Perfectionism – Workshop Series

While many of you may be still on break enjoying the summer (or hiding from the heat), others may be starting to think about Semester 1 or you might even be back at study already. Wherever you may be, you have likely received your grades back from 2017, and might have even reflected on things that went well, and the things that didn’t.

One of the most common barriers to academic success and wellbeing that we see in students at Counselling, is Perfectionism.

“How can this be a barrier? Wouldn’t perfectionism make your work BETTER?” I hear you collectively ask.

Perfectionism, can be defined as striving to meet unreasonably high or inflexible standards, judging your self-worth (how you feel about yourself) based on your ability to achieve these standards, and continuing to strive for the standards despite experiencing negative consequences.

Sometimes, people are able to meet their high standards, however this comes at a cost to their relationship, feeling highly anxious, problems with sleep or neglecting their physical health or friendships. For others, the pressure to perform well can be debilitating, and can lead to avoidance and procrastination, and at times failing to submit work or complete courses.

For more information on what Perfectionism is, and how it can be problematic, check out my earlier blog post which explores this in more detail.

If you already know that Perfectionism is a problem for you and you want to learn more, we will be running a series of four workshops on Overcoming Perfectionism in March 2018.

Sessions will focus on strategies to shift from problematic perfectionism to healthy striving, including how to manage self-criticism and procrastination.

The workshops will be held over four weekly sessions, from 3-4.30pm on Wednesdays, commencing Wed 7th March 2018 at Callaghan campus.

Places are limited. To register your place, complete the online registration form or email onlinecounselling at newcastle.edu.au for more information.


Skype Drop In


As we come toward the end of Semester 2, many of you will have already finished or be nearly done with your exams and placements. Time to enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation over the summer break! Or you might like to check out the Navigator blog for some ideas on wrapping up 2017!

As there is less demand for the Skype Drop In service during the break, there will be some adjustments to the Skype Drop In sessions during this time.


There will be no Skype Drop In session on 2.30-3.30pm Thursday 23rd November due to staff training. However, the evening session at 8-9pm Thursday 23rd November will still be running as usual.

Thursday 23rd of November will be the last of the evening sessions (8-9pm Tues and Thurs). These will resume in Semester 1, 2018.

Day time Skype Drop In sessions will continue to run until Friday 15th December 2017.

The day time sessions are held:

  • Monday 1-2pm
  • Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
  • Thursday 2:30-3:30pm
  • Friday 9-10am

Lifeline (13 11 14) and the Mental Health Line (1800 011 511) are available for 24 hour support.

Free online programs for stress and anxiety

As we come towards the second half of semester, some of you may be feeling a bit stressed or looking for some strategies to help you manage anxiety or improve your wellbeing.

An easy way to learn some new skills and strategies is to complete an online treatment or training program. There are a range of free programs that have been developed to help with a different issues – some are more general such as ‘coping with stress’ or ‘intro to mindfulness’, where others are designed to target specific problems such as OCD or Social Anxiety.Many of the courses have online questionnaires, recovery stories, videos, worksheets, and additional resources.

Some of the advantages of online programs are:

  • they can be completed any time of the day or night
  • they are free or low cost
  • there are no waiting periods
  • you don’t have to travel anywhere
  • you can do them in your pyjamas

Sometimes one of the downsides can be that it is hard to get the motivation to complete the course. One way to deal with this is to link up with a counsellor who can check in with you on a regular basis about your progress and how you are going applying the skills. Alternatively, you could complete a course such as mindfulness or managing stress with a friend.

Below are some of the online wellbeing programs offered free or at a low cost:

  • eCLiPSE (UON) – a portal for UON students offing access to four separate programs designed to support people considering reducing their substance use (including smoking) and improving mental health. Programs are free and range from 4 weeks to 10 weeks. Support is available from UON Counsellors to complete these programs.


  • Coping with Stress (This Way Up) – a free four lesson program using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques to manage stress effectively.


  • Managing Insomnia (This Way Up) – a free four lesson program which is designed to teach Cognitive Behavioural Therapy skills to manage insomnia.



  • Intro to Mindfulness (This Way Up) – a four lesson program designed for people interested in learning about mindfulness and meditation


  • Mindspot courses – a range of free programs on different topics, including wellbeing, mood, OCD, PTSD, Indigenous Wellbeing and Chronic Pain.


For other program and online resources, please see here.

If you are a current UON student and think you would like some professional support while completing any of the programs, we would be happy to provide support via emails, phone or skype. Just send us an email to onlinecounselling at uon.edu.au

Census date is here

So as most of you would be aware, census date is approaching fast. Census date is the last day that you can withdraw from or drop a course without financial penalty (i.e., still having to pay the fees).

In Semester 2 2017, the census date is 31 Aug 2017 at 11.59pm, that is Thursday – tomorrow! If you drop a course after this date, you will still be required to pay for it, unless you have grounds to apply for remission of fees. The last day to drop a course without academic penalty (i.e., a fail grade), is the 3rd of November.

If you are considering dropping a course, but having trouble deciding for sure, one simple strategy to help you to decide is to write down the pros and cons of dropping the subject. Usually, if we are struggling to make a decision we tend to go back and forth about the pros and cons in our mind anyway, however because there is so much information to juggle we can just end up feeling confused. Writing it down can stop going over and over it in your mind, help you to figure out where you may need more information, and help you come to a decision. You could use this template as a guide.



Pros of dropping XXXX1001 course Cons of dropping XXXX1001
I have more of a chance to pass my other 3 courses Will extend my degree by 6 months
Reduce stress levels May impact on program next semester *need to check this with program advisor
Able to continue working 3 days per week May impact on visa *need to check this with student advice
May get better grades in my other subjects


It would also be important to consider the impact that dropping a course might have on Centrelink support, meeting visa requirements, or meeting prerequisites for courses you want to take next semester. The Student Advice team can help you with any visa questions, and your Program Advisor can provide advice about how to minimise disruption to your degree.


For those who do not need to drop a course, census date could be a good reminder to ‘take stock’ of where you are at.

  • How are you coping with the workload?
  • How stressed are you feeling?
  • How is your sleep and energy levels?
  • Is perfectionism or procrastination or anxiety or something else getting on top of you?

If things are going well for you – great! Perhaps take a note of what you think is making it work well – and keep doing it.


However if things are not going so well, then now is the time to make a change. Really stop and consider what are the factors that are contributing to your difficulties at the moment?

  • Do you have too much on your plate? Is there something you can say no to for a few weeks to help you get on top of things? Do you need to consider dropping one course?
  • Do you need some more support to manage anxiety or low mood? You could book in with a counsellor, chat to someone on skype drop in, complete an online treatment program such as This Way Up or eCliPSE, or talk to a close friend for support.
  • Do you need to make some more time for activities that rejuvenate you? E.g., being in nature, exercise, or something creative?

The material or views expressed on this Blog are those of the author and do not represent those of the University.  Please report any offensive or improper use of this Blog to RPS@newcastle.edu.au.
Skip to toolbar