What is a STYC?


Orla Mcandrew (she/her) speaks to Constantine’s Naomi Long about being a STYC

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Image by Constantine

By Orla McAndrew

As I’m sure you already know, here at Yorkour, colleges have many support systems in place for when you arrive (and the rest of your time here). One way to receive support, especially during Freshers week, is through STYCs (second and third-year contacts) and STYMs (second and third-year mentors). Your STYCs will be with you throughout freshers week (usually, the best way to keep in touch with them is through a flat group chat). You’ll meet them as soon as you move in as they are often around to help you find your new home and move all of those boxes from the car! Make sure to make the most of having your STYCs around; any questions that you have, I can almost guarantee they had the same. Please don’t forget that the people you meet in the years were freshers at one point, and remember exactly what it feels like to be new to university.

We sat down Naomi Long, head STYC for Constantine College to find out more about the ole, and how STYCS (and college in general) will be there to support you during your time at university.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a STYC?

STYCs are responsible for supporting and helping new students settle in during their first week at university. Their primary duties are to move students into their flats, accompany them to the Freshers events (on campus and in town),and help bring the housemates together. Having a strong STYC presence during this week really helps new students feel safe and supported during a very intense social period! STYCS are brilliant at providing guidance and advice to do with ANYTHING regarding life as a student in York.

Can you give us a rundown of what your ‘Freshers’ Week’ will look like?

Our current CSA has put a lot of effort into making a fun and inclusive Freshers’ Week. Of course, there is the usual club night and bar crawl offering, but there are some new events I think will go down extremely well with new students. We’re having our first ‘Forum Party’ on college grounds, which is an exciting opportunity for students to connect with the college itself. Most of the events of the events will help encourage an inclusive and enjoyable community atmosphere and I hope the new students will throw themselves into every event! Fo4 STYCs, this is a very busy week, but usually, we have just as much fun as the Freshers’! I also thoroughly enjoy seeing people get extremely into the themed nights...

Who can be an STYC?
Anyone! Although the role is interviewed by the respective CSA, the application process is open to all college members. Often, people who apply have had a lasting impression from their own STYC experience when they joined the college, and want to provide the same for new students. The majority of STYCs are students in their second year, but we’ve seen it remain popular with third-year students this year, which is great to see!

Why did you apply to be a STYC?
I started university in September 2021 and felt incredibly anxious at just about every aspect of it! When I moved to Constantine, I remember feeling taken back by how many STYCs there were, all of whom were so willing to help move my stuff and chat to mewhile I waited for my flatmates to move in! My STYCs were in-credibly warm and outgoing, which made socialising on the first day so much more enjoyable. As the week went on, many of us gained valuable advice from our STYCs, and also formed long-lasting friendships. Having had such a positive experience, I was incredibly keen to apply in my second year and replicate their kindness to the new students. Making others feel less overwhelmed is an extremely rewarding experience, and I have encouraged many others to do the same!

What is your favourite thing about being a STYC?

Although Freshers’ can be chaotic and tiring as a STYC, I love helping new students feel less anxious and making the week less intimidating. As a very social person, I enjoy speaking to many different people from all walks of life, and move-in day is a particular highlight for me! It is also a great time to make new friends with new students, but it also is a great opportunity to connect with other STYCs or STYMs who are pre-sent throughout the week’s events.

Why do you think people should apply to be STYCs?

I believe being a STYC is a great way to give back to your college community and have a positive impact on someone’s university life. I still recall and use the advice of my STYCs, which I love to pass onto new students. Our STYCs are also important to university life in York as a whole, as other universities don’t seem to offer such a large support programme. Lastly, it is a phenomenal opportunity to make new friends...and you can never have enough friends at university!

What is your biggest piece of advice to an incoming Fresher?

My biggest piece of advice is to not feel guilty about prioritising yourself during the first semester. There is a lot of social pressure to do everything you possibly can at university, but it’s more important to pace yourself to avoid being overwhelmed later on. ALSO, absolutely stock up on every type of medication possible when you move in. Freshers’ flu is no joke!!! College President Tim Woodford added “It has been amazing to work alongside Lily and Naomi in developing the programme for the upcoming year. Their ideas are fantastic, and I truly believe this could be THE blueprint adopted over all colleges over the coming years.It represents the largest change to the STYM programme since its adoption, and I’m excited to see the impact it has for students.