That’s what everyone says about your time at university, right? The freedom, the independence, three years (or more) of partying, occasionally fitting in a bit of work for the degree you’ve chosen in between nights out at the students’ union.
These are the years to really live it up before you’re thrown into the “real world”, before you’re burdened with bills and mortgages, before you get stuck in the rat race of work and responsibilities. But what if university doesn’t give you the best years of your life? What if they’re stressful and daunting?
If you’re not enjoying your time at university, this can be quite an isolating experience. If the prevailing narrative suggests that everyone is having a brilliant time while you’re having a miserable one, it’s easy to get the impression that you’re the only one who feels like this.
That is just not true, you are not alone – 92% of students have had feelings of mental distress.
There are many reasons why someone might not enjoy university. The course may not be what you expected, you may miss home, you may struggle to find friends, the workload and expectation might be stressing you out or you might not be getting the pastoral support you need. These problems are all bad enough in themselves, but they can also be exacerbated by poor mental and physical health. If you are feeling stressed, don’t suffer in silence. If you’re struggling with how you feel, these organisations can help:
YOUR GENERAL PRACTITIONER
If you’re struggling to cope, a good first step is to talk to your GP – make sure you’re registered with one at your uni. It can help to write down what you’ve been going through before your visit.
Most universities have counselling services, which will give you the chance to talk through your experiences in a non-judgmental space. Find out more on your uni’s website.
TUTORS AND STUDENT WELFARE OFFICERS
There may be a tutor assigned to give you pastoral support, or a student welfare officer you can talk to.
IN AN EMERGENCY
If you’re about to harm yourself or have already done so, phone your family or nearest one’s or go to your local guardian (A&E) and explain that you’re at risk.