Working on HOPELINEUK we hear from many people who are struggling at University. The reasons for these struggles can be as varied as the people experiencing them.
Going to University can be an invigorating, enlightening and inspiring experience. We can meet people who enrich our lives, explore topics and subjects previously unknown to us and take up hobbies or learn new skills.
However, University isn’t plain sailing, there are many unique factors which can affect students at a time when we are still learning about ourselves. And all of the ‘potential’ of our University experience can feel like an added pressure when things go wrong.
Being in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by people you don’t know, trying to do lots of work you don’t fully understand and having to find time to earn enough money – these problems can all create a perfect storm for mental health issues to occur.
We asked young people who have found themselves facing the challenges of university to share with us their advice for students. Here’s some of the tips they gave:
- Taking time for yourself is imperative. A new lease of life and independence at university can often be a blessing. Make sure you take time for yourself – to rest and reflect – it will really help you in the long run.
- Create your own timetable. By doing that it can help spread your workload, but also allow you to have time for anything you enjoy (without feeling the guilt of not doing coursework or revising).
- Daily routines can also be crucial to mental health – the refreshing effects of showers and long term impact of healthy eating should not be underestimated. These can seem like small things in themselves, but they add up to a healthy mind and body.
- Make time for socialising. The people you surround yourself with can have an enormous impact on your mental and emotional well-being. So many different people being at university can be overwhelming but it also means there is more opportunity to find like-minded people. Students have advised us that it’s good to go to Freshers activities and spend time in the communal areas of your living accommodation. Equally, many have said not to worry about fitting in with the drinking culture that students are perceived to be a part of. For instance, we have heard from people who join in with drinking games whilst drinking soft drinks.
- Spending time outside, exercising and ‘unplugging’ can also be greatly beneficial.
Finding people that you connect with is such a great weapon in the battle against mental health issues. A lot of the experiences you will be having, good and bad, will be shared ones. Once you realise there are people in the same boat as you it becomes so much easier to sail through that perfect storm. Most important, however, is taking university on your own terms and being mindful of what works for you. This won’t be the same as others, and that’s OK.
If you are at struggling with suicidal thoughts at university, or if you are worried about a fellow student who is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK for advice and support.