In my opinion, students get a bad rep. ‘Lazy, freeloading layabouts, who spend all of their time drinking and avoiding work.’ I’ve heard phrases like this and worse, both in the media and even from people close to home.
I was a student for four years, and although some of the above is true. After all, who doesn’t like a night out with mates? The majority is over exaggerated BS!
So I’d like to write this post in defence of students everywhere.
Nobody seems to take into the consideration the massive change that is starting university.
- Moving away from home and taking care of yourself. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, sorting the bills etc. Most students will tell you that although this is exciting, it’s also f**king terrifying!
- Making new friends. We spend years building our friendships in school and college, it’s an organic process. Whereas, at university the pressure to make friends quickly (I’m talking days) is high, and this can leave a student feeling like a failure, or a loser if they struggle to do so.
One of the top issues reported by ‘student well being’ is loneliness. Being away from the people who love and understand you the most is hard. It can have a real impact on your mental health.
- Being soley responsible for your own academic career is also a weird one. For me personally, it felt as though I went from a controlled environment in which I knew everyone (including all the teachers) and was told/frog marched to where I should to be… to a parallel universe in which I was suddenly meant to find out all of this information out on my own and nobody really gave a s**t if I turned up or not. I went from having no power, to all the power, which was a shock. Also, how freaking big are university campuses? I mean seriously. It all looks nice and simple on that lovely coloured map, but the reality is like a Crystal Maze challenge! This would probably explain why I once sat through an entire lecture on aeroplane engineering (my degree was in English), because I was too embarrassed to admit that I was in the wrong class!
- Workload. It’s easy right? Just write a 3,000 word essay in that lovely academic style… oh and make sure that you reference properly too… which you’ve NEVER done professionally in your entire life. Also, there’s very little help. Just head over to the library and work it out. ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!
If you’re lucky enough to have a lecturer who speaks actual English then you’re sorted. Mine only spoke ‘academic’ and I sometimes felt that deciphering this secret language was part of the challenge.
By the second year I was reading two books a week (300 pages minimum) and writing essays across four different modules.
- Last but by no means least…. MONEY…. because you have non! I worked in retail to help support myself. Then came home and wrote essays. Is it any wonder I wanted to get royally smashed whenever I could?
On World Mental Health Day I’ll be heading over to The University of Salford, to give a talk on ways to maintain your mental health during university. This venue holds personal significance for me, because it’s my old uni! I’m excited to go back there and work with the team.
Back when I was at Salford, I didn’t realise the variety of support that was available to students. It’s important to remember that your university wants you to succeed and asking for help is the first step.
Salford is hosting a Wellbeing Week, starting on the 9th October. I will be there on Tuesday 11th and my talk will begin at 11am.
It’s at the Frederick Road Campus (past the train station).
For more information click HERE.
Shout out to all students – please come down and say hello! 🙂 I will also have a stand with free hand outs, badges and copies of my bestselling book for sale.