For many, starting University or College can be an exciting and thrilling experience. But for others it can be a more difficult change.
In this Eleos Clinic blog we hope to discuss some ideas and areas which may reduce some of these nerves and make sure you are best prepared for your next chapter.
1. Use the resources the University or College has to offer
Most universities and colleges will have additional support teams available for their students to ensure everyone has the tools accessible to reach their full potential and excel at their university or college. The most common teams and services available at universities are as follows: free counselling services, student welfare teams, financial support teams, disability and specialist learning, chaplaincy and pastoral care services. If you have reasonable adjustments or accommodations, speak to the student services team to ensure that you can access additional support when you start. It may help to have a letter from your mental health professional, therapist or clinician.
2. Structure your day
When you first begin University or college, it may help if you plan how you are going to spend your time during the days. A plan as simple as waking up, having some breakfast, taking a walk into town with a friend, and then having a nice dinner. A routine, timers, alarms can help you be more productive, and these will also support good mental health.
3. Plan in some “you” time Sometimes university/college life can get busy with social commitments, work commitments and errands that need to be done. It is important when you are at university/college to allow yourself some quiet time and space from the daily hustle and bustle! Quiet time can help reduce stress, enhance health and well-being and it has a positive effect on learning. Remember to practice being kind to yourself.
4. Try new things We understand that going to university/college itself is already a big step and it can be easy to stop there, but don’t! At first it may feel safer and easier to stay in your room, but there are so many positives that can come from stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Here are a few ideas for things you could get involved with at university or college: · Clubs · Societies · Sport Teams · Volunteer
Most university/college websites will have a list of everything that is available to get involved in. It could be a good idea to have a list of 3 things you are going to try in your first week.
5. Find your tribe! You may worry about making friends at university and college. It is important to remember that others will be in the same position as you are and will be feeling the same emotions you are. A few great ways to make friends is to find people who have interests similar to yours, chat to people on your course, join groups on social networks and study with others.
6. The importance of diet and exercise
It is important while at university/college that you still eat a balanced and varied diet. It may be a good idea to write down some of your favourite recipes from home, so you can recreate them at uni. Regular fresh air and exercise (e.g., the gym, going on a walk, joining a sports club) is also very important when it comes to a maintaining physical and mental health. A healthy balanced diet accompanied with regular exercise is essential for improving physical and mental health and well-being.
7. Know where to ask for help
Don’t be shy to ask for help if you feel that you need it. Draw up a list of people who are helpful and supportive. Keep their numbers and emails on hand and let them know that you might be in touch. Keep in touch with your loved ones. Here are some numbers and resources for useful organisations if you need to contact them too.
o A guide for reaching out for help - https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/your-guide-to-support/reaching-out-for-help/
o Student Minds - https://www.studentminds.org.uk/supportforme.html
o Nightline – A confidential, anonymous support service - https://nightline.ac.uk The following helplines can be contacted:
o YoungMinds Textline - Text YM to 85258 - https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/youngminds-textline/
o Childline - +44 0800 11 11 - https://www.childline.org.uk/
o Samaritans - +44 116123 - https://www.samaritans.org/