Thursday, 19 March 2015

Freshers: University is Hard! Part 2 - The Honest Truth

Hello my lovelies!

University really is hard. So many students will suffer with mental problems, money worries, homesickness or health issues and it can be incredibly daunting knowing that when you head off on this new adventure, you may be susceptible to suffering. I'm not one to have missed out on some of these problems but I'm here to tell you that although it's difficult, it's not all that bad. 

Since starting at University over a year ago, I've been through some really tough health problems both physical and mental. I've experienced struggles with anxiety, something that's never really bothered me to an extreme before. I've been ill a countless number of times with tonsillitis, the flu, colds, hay-fever, stomach bugs, brand new allergies and lactose intolerance. I've found myself living on £5 maximum some weeks, and I've missed home so much that it's hurt. But I've refused to give up because there's always a way to get out of the mess.


My anxiety isn't specified to one certain situation, it's a very general problem that has been increasingly worse in some situations and vastly better in others. I no longer feel panicky before assessments are due or before interviews but I really struggle to spend a lengthy amount of time in a nightclub or busy bar if I'm sober. Did you know that 92% of students admit to having suffered with mental distress at university with 20% of students considering themselves as having a mental illness of concern. These issues include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, bulimia and anorexia. 

HOWEVER, there are many support systems in place for students. You should go along to your SU, student welfare team or your local GP if you ever feel like you're suffering, they are there to help you and they won't judge you. There are also many useful websites if you hop on to Google. I will leave a list of links at the end of this post.


Budgeting is really difficult. As a student you get given this huge bundle of money each term and you go out and celebrate by spending a ridiculous amount of it. If you are homesick you may travel home more often, which can often be a costly trip. If you are on medication and you forget to fill in the relevant paperwork it can cut a huge chuck of money from your account. Oh and of course, there's the rent, bills, Netflix and societies to pay for! It can sometimes be really hard to control your spending habits, especially when there's new clothes on the high street or a really cool new game released on steam. 

BUT, again, there are support systems in place. Your university will have a great financial aid and student welfare team who can help you to plan out a weekly budget and offer some great advice. If you're ever in a huge pickle, most universities also have an emergency funding scheme in place where they will give you a loan of a certain amount that you can pay back whenever you are able. If you don't want to go through the university, there's also online help available and there are always student loan companies out there as a last resort.


Homesickness is another huge problem at university. Many student head off to uni thinking that they won't miss the constant nagging but there are so many things that we can take for-granted. University is total independence, we pay the bills, we do our laundry, we feed ourselves. We are in charge of our own lives and it can be so great! To begin with. Then we realise that we can't get our sheets as soft as they are back home, our spaghetti bolognese doesn't taste quite the same and bills are SO annoyingly expensive sometimes! 

DO NOT FEAR! Your friends at university are like a second family and they will support you, but if you need that extra help then there are often certain people who you can go and talk to. At the University of Chester, if you're living in University owned accommodation there are Hall Wardens and Residential Tutors who you can talk to and I'm sure there are similar schemes in place at other universities too. They'll often sit down with you, make you a cup of tea and offer you some cake or biscuits. There's also the option of going to see you SU team who always tend to have a free seat on the sofa for a chat. Failing that you've got student welfare who may be able to offer you a telephone to call home. My best cure is Skype, you can interact with your family and it feels like they're with you. Plus there's always the option of taking a trip home or having the family come up and visit. 


If you're struggling with something at university, you don't need to suffer alone. In fact, most of the people you see around you are probably going through the same thing. Be brave and take the action to get some help and please do talk to people. If you ever need a stranger to chat with, my email is always open! - thattamsinrebecca@hotmail.co.uk

If you've got any tips to share, please leave them in the comments below or you can send them to me using any of the links listed here

Love you all!

T
xxx

Helpful links - Mostly UK

Self Help Guide - http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/anxiety.asp
Mind - http://www.mind.org.uk/
NUS Student Survival Guide - Survival Guide
Samaritans - http://www.samaritans.org/