Overworked? Stressed? Home-sick? Burned out? Lethargic? Overwhelmed?
There is a lot of pressure and expectation for your uni experience to be the best time of your life! But not everyone feels that way and certainly not all the time. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is so important. There’s absolutely no shame in admitting that you’re going through a tough patch - we all experience it so you’re not alone. The important thing is to speak up, ask for help and keep moving forward.
#Me have provided some insight, advice and resources for how to tackle uni…
There are so many things on offer to you at uni. This ranges from the academic aspect to socially as well. There are workshops, guest lecturers, roles on committee, personal best, volunteering opportunities, practical application… so broaden your learning experience outside the lecture hall. There are also a vast range of social events to dive into. So try new hobbies, get involved in the activities on offer, make friends with students from different countries and cultures, go to taster sessions. Better to take a step back than wish you’d done it. You won’t regret it!
Sometimes it’s easier to stay in bed or not leave your room but it’s so important to regularly interact with other students… even if it’s just for half an hour each day whilst you’re in the kitchen. It’s even better if you make all your lectures or grab a coffee with some friends, go for a walk on campus, watch a sports match, try a new society / activity, head to the gym, have a movie night with friends… give yourself something to look forward to and try to build a good friendship network.
Make sure you talk to people about how you’re feeling. The chances are, the students in your hall, sports team, course, society are probably feeling the same way. You’re all in this situation together. So open up and be supportive to one another. If you’re really struggling, make sure you speak to your warden, welfare advisor or the uni counselling services for more professional advice and support.
Look after yourself
Your mental health and physical health go hand in hand so it should come as no surprise that if you ignore your physical health, your mental health is likely to drop as well. Going for a walk outside can do wonders for your wellbeing! But your physical health doesn’t just relate to being active and doing exercise regularly in the week, it’s also about getting enough sleep, eating healthy and substantial meals and drinking enough water.
Have some #me time
Starting uni is a big milestone. It can take time to adjust to this new lifestyle so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen in the first minute you arrive on campus. Or equally, if after a few months things start to go downhill, that’s also okay. Uni can be overwhelming at times and quite fast paced. So make sure you take some time out for yourself just to ‘be’ and relax. Listen to some music, read a book, tune in to a podcast, do some colouring, hit the gym, write down your thoughts in a journal… whatever it may be that helps you to relax and unwind or outlet stress – be sure to make time for it! And more importantly, stay true to yourself. Don’t feel under pressure to change who you are or do things that are way outside your comfort zone to fit in – there will be plenty of students who will want to be friends with you for the person you really are… so just be yourself.
The term goes really fast and before you know it… you’ve got deadlines, exams, group coursework, project hand ins… and relying on a high caffeine intake, all-nighters and cramming sessions just aren’t sustainable, good for our learning and growth or for our mental wellbeing. Be proactive and try to stay on top of your modules, wider reading, revision, tutorials, coursework… doing a little bit each day or week can really help. You’re also likely to actually find what you’re learning quite interesting and understand your degree a lot better than if you just treat it as a tick box exercise. And why not mix it up a little… instead of going to the library each time, why not try studying with friends in a park, making revision cards or visiting a local café to do your wider reading.
Try to make sure your bedroom feels like home and has reminders of good memories. This can include photographs, posters, souvenirs, lights, plants, your gaming station, your favourite bedding or teddy… And try to keep your room clean and tidy too as this can give you a better headspace. It’s also important not to completely cut yourself off from your home life but equally, don’t text, call or visit home all the time either. Not only can it make you miss home even more, it can also isolate you from uni, your studies making friends. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling weekends back home and giving yourself something to look forward to… just make sure you’ve got a good balance.
Hopefully these steps help you to settle into and enjoy University life. Our final useful and important thing to remember is that you need to eat, sleep, move, interact... repeat!