What You Don't Hear About Life at University

From a Student's Point of View

You're going to university. You're thinking about moving away from home maybe and meeting new people, living in a new place, making new relationships, and of course, we can't forget the nightlife. All these things are great, but what you don't hear about is the effects on your mental health all these things can have on you. 

Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying any of these things are bad for you. As a first year student, I'm just starting my university career and I'd be lying if I said I don't enjoy it. I've experienced the good, but I am also experiencing the bad. Since being here, I have had a decline in my mental health. I have had to sign myself up to counseling to keep me sane sometimes and to just have that extra help sometimes. It's had a physical toll on my body with my sleeping pattern getting so bad that I'm borderline insomniac. My eating habits are on such a decline that eating one meal a day is difficult for me to keep down and not throw back up. I've had more breakdowns in the nine months I've been here than in the past five years. It's scary. 

This doesn't happen to everyone. Sometimes it happens to some because they're homesick or they find it hard adjusting to a new place, new people, and being on their own for what probably is the first time in their lives. This wasn't the case with me. I have suffered with multiple mental health struggles throughout my teenage years and I can say that it does make simple, everyday tasks difficult sometimes. I find it hard to simply get out of bed some days or even to eat something. You don't have to be a genius to know that's unhealthy. I would overwork myself to become skinnier even though with my diet I was losing weight drastically. Crying every night became a normal thing because I just felt so unwell and so fed up that I didn't know how else I could've dealt with it. 

The university I attend is very good with helping students with their mental health. My lecturers have been extremely helpful with getting me support and understanding that, sometimes, I struggle. They offer an immense amount of support because despite what people's views on lecturers are, they do want you to pass and succeed. Although sometimes even with that support, you can feel alone. You can feel like you've got the weight of everything just dumped on your chest and no one is going to help you with the lift. I've learnt that it is the best thing to have a good support network around you. Whether that be your friends, your family, a counsellor, your teachers or whoever you feel the safest and most comfortable talking to; a good support network means that you won't have to deal with things on your own. 

A friend told me in the midst of a breakdown that depression is like being in a dark room and the only person who can turn the light on is you. You have to get up and turn that light on. It may be difficult at first, but you need to keep trying. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to try, but you'll thank yourself for doing it in the future. Things are rough now, but keep trying. They only get better when you make the effort to better them and yourself. 

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What You Don't Hear About Life at University
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