Start to success

Start to Success is a 2-year project funded by the OfS Challenge Fund Competition and is led by Keele and Staffordshire University. It aims to develop a whole community approach to support the mental health and wellbeing of students. The project will be work across all aspects of the student journey to support effective transitions into, through and out of higher education, with three areas of focus; student transitions, early intervention and step change in support through partnership working with the NHS.


Toni Karic is your Postgraduate Support Officer.

number of project officers have been recruited to support the delivery of the project, each focusing on a specific strand of work and Toni is working as the project officer for postgraduate support. In this role, Toni is looking to understand the experience of Keele’s postgraduate students, particularly in terms of the barriers to wellbeing, and the challenges associated with the transition into and through postgraduate study. All of this with a view to removing the barriers to mental health and wellbeing and improving the support and services that are available to students. 

Toni Karic

Student minds

Being a Postgraduate student can be full of ups and downs and alongside this, life also happens. This group will provide a space to celebrate wins but also to talk through the challenges of managing multiple identities, juggling responsibilities, working through experiences of failure and feelings of uncertainty, isolation, stress, guilt or ‘not being good enough’ - as well as the non-PG related challenges in life. 

These sessions will be led by someone from North Staffs Mind and will be an informal space with no set ‘agenda’, so please go  along and talk about whatever is on your mind! This group can be whatever you would like it to be. 
The sessions will begin on Wednesday 8th of July from 2pm-3:30pm and will be held on Teams on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. To join the Postgraduate Student Minds Team click here.

If you have any questions, whether they be about the group, Teams or something else entirely, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Toni via email.

For all of those who are in the early stages of their PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate Toni would like to invite you to the PGR Beginnings Group! 

Since we do not know what campus will look like over the next few months, meeting new people and forming communities maybe even more challenging.

This group will act as an informal space where you can meet others who are just starting out on their doctoral journey to ask questions, talk through challenges, celebrate successes and offer support, as well as to find out about activities that are going on and find someone to go along with!

Toni will also host informal virtual get-togethers. This is an incredibly new group so times, dates and frequency are still to be decided so come along and join and help to shape this new community!

What next

As postgrad students of Keele University, your experiences are invaluable - We would love to hear from people who would be interested in contributing (even in a ‘small’ way!) to helping shape the support that is available at Keele. 

We know that people's ability to contribute will vary so we want to stress that any involvement would be greatly appreciated. Below you can find ways to get involved.

Share your top tips, experiences and advice

With inductions being virtual this year, we are looking for students who would like to get involved in the creation of resources to support new MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorate students. These could be blog-style posts or short video clips. 

Some initial ideas for possible topics that could be explored include:

  • Things I wish I knew before starting by MPhil, PhD or Prof Doc
  • Top tips for new starters
  • A day in the life of a MPhil, PhD or Prof Doc student
  • Expectative vs reality
  • MPhil, PhD and Prof Doc myths


To find out more about the start to success project and to check out it's resources click here, follow on twitter or subscribe to Keele's newsletter here!