If you’re like me and struggling with mental health, going to university may not seem like the best thing in the world. Having to meet new people, go to lectures and dedicate time to learning is more than just a little bit daunting, and it can be tempted to tell the university you’ve changed your mind and you don’t want a place after all.
But with the right support and help you can have as good of a time as anyone else at university. There are so many different things that universities can offer you to help with your mental health as well things you can do yourself to make it that little bit easier. Here are some of my top tips…
First things first, make sure you tell somebody at the university what you’re going through, whether that’s on the application form or when you go for your interview, it’s important to let them know so they can offer you the right support.
Remember, mental health struggles are just like any other illness, so they won’t judge you or take it any less seriously, after all it affects your learning and will explain any future struggles you may have. Whether you struggle to get out of bed in the winter or going into busy rooms alone, it’s important to let them know so they can put the correct help for you in place.
When the university are aware of what you’re going through, they can help you put a plan in place to help with your learning. My university are very supportive, and my tutors are always checking up on me, I don’t know if I would have made it this far without their help.
In my plan, the university wrote that I may miss lectures as I get anxious and depressed at times, that all presentations had to be done on a one to one basis, and that I needed regular support and extra time with my tutors and assignments. This was a HUGE weight lifted from my shoulders.
I also put my own plan in place to help myself when I am struggling the most. I made a plan of all of the assignments for each semester and then broke down what each module contained and then how long I had to do it. This helped me keep on top of what there was to do so I always had work finished in time for the deadline without bringing on any anxiety attacks or depression.
Making friends at university and having frequent communication with them is equally as important with your recovery, as being alone a lot can be damaging to your mental health.
It’s also important to keep regular contact with family and friends from home, even if it’s just a little chat once every couple of days or plans to do something every weekend, it’ll make a huge difference to your life having those plans in place.
This certainly had a positive impact for me and my health. Knowing I would be going out with friends once a week for dinner gave me something to focus on and something to get me through the week.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t fulfil plans because you’re just not mentally up to it. During the first few months in halls especially, some people may want to go out partying a lot, and it’s hard to keep up with, but remember, no one is expecting you to be at every single event that’s happening.
So, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t manage every night. Just take time for yourself and do whatever helps you with your mental health, and your friends will definitely understand.
Olivia Jade Thristan
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