Why starting uni can be tough...

Starting university is SO exciting. Terrifying but exciting. I will never forget how I felt packing my room at home, thinking about how I was going to decorate my room in halls with plants and pictures of my pals from back home, hoping that my flatmates would be lovely, planning outfits for Welcome Week events. My first week of uni was a blur, I tried so hard to push myself to go out with my flatmates, stand in the courtyard outside my flat in Loring Hall and socialise and don’t get me wrong, I had fun - but as someone that has struggled with mental health problems my whole life, Welcome Week was EXHAUSTING. And it wasn’t just me that felt like that as The Guardian’s 2017 Student Experience survey found that:

  • 87% of freshers find the social or academic aspect of university challenging

  • 91% of females and 82% of males said they experienced mental health struggles at the start of university 

I wanted to write this post to tell you that first year of university can be super tough - be kind to yourself. I know the whole cliche of ‘self care’ can be boring, but honestly, sometimes you just need a night off, a good movie or a phone call to someone at home to bring you back down to earth. Sometimes though, this won’t be enough and things can be a bit more serious. As hard as it is, talking about your mental health is so important, both when you are struggling and when everything is going well! 

The following services are here for you in times of need:

  • Campus Support Officers are available on campus from 6pm- 6am on weeknights and 24 hours a day on weekends - head to Loring Management Centre (reception at Loring Hall, on St James Street) or call: 020 7919 7284. 

  • Samaritans - open every day throughout the year, visit their website here or call 116 123 (every time I was in crisis, I was reluctant to call Samaritans because I felt like I was burdening them, or that my problems weren’t serious enough but when I finally called them, it was a massive relief to have someone to talk to about what was going on. They’re trained and ready to listen to you 24 hours a day).

  • If you need urgent medical advice call the NHS on 111.

  • If you need immediate medical help or attention call 999 or visit Accident & Emergency (A&E)

  • Contact your local GP and book an emergency doctors appointment.

  • Register for an appointment with Wellbeing Services in RHB123 or by email at wellbeing@gold.ac.uk - they can help in a variety of ways such as offer you advice, register you for counselling or help you set up a RASA (Reasonable Adjustments for Study and Assessments).

Thanks for reading, Beth x