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Wellbeing at University - top tips from graduates

University can be a key part of life for young adults, but can also be a daunting prospect, and importance of managing your wellbeing at University is paramount.

Are you starting College or University this week? It can be a daunting prospect. Let’s Talk Mate – a men’s mental health podcast – has been looking talking to former students about their experiences.

Follow these top tips from the podcast.

This week sees many students start or return to University or College and because we have all spent so much time alone at home, the prospect of meeting new people and making friends can be a daunting one.

Let’s Talk Mate‘s podcast addresses these very issues; with guests, Harrison Read, former Mental Health Officer at Solent University; and Jordan Harris, BA and MA Solent University Alumni, who both chatted to Solent Mind’s Digital Content Officer Sam Clarke.

Those first few weeks

Harrison says that once the initial excitement wore off it did become “a little difficult being away from home and out of your comfort zone”.

Sam says he struggled in his first year to make real friends: “It can be so tough when you don’t get along with the people who you live with and, realistically, the chances are quite slim that you will necessarily get on with the people you’re thrown together with”.

Sam failed his first year due to mental health struggles and thinks that many young people have the expectation that they will be going out most nights and at the weekends with friends and when things don’t necessarily go the way they expect that can be very hard – especially when everyone else ‘seems’ to be having such a great time.

Harrison added: “It’s really important to understand that everyone is in the same situation”. He jumped into being social and getting out as much as possible, but he still found things hard later on and had to seek support.

Juggling life and accessing mental health services

All agreed that there was a delicate balancing act between work and social life. Doing too much of one at the expense of the other often lead to more stress, they say. Sam adds that students often found it hard to find the right balance; and that mental health wasn’t really spoken about – even in passing.

Harrison says: “I can’t remember a time where any lecturer ever brought it up of their own volition. I brought it up as a Mental Health Officer but thinks I learned, in that role, that there are not many lecturers who are trained in mental health – not even quick courses. I also found that they are not very aware of the services offered by the University.

“As a culture shift, lecturers should be more aware of where to get support and how to talk to students. But it’s all well and good me saying the lecturer should be doing more but I think it’s making it easier to access the support networks that do exist.”

Dealing with work pressure

Jordan admits he was an “‘all-nighter’ in the library” type of person who thrived on last minute pressure which had its own joy as he was in with other students, but he says there was an underlying stress of pulling together 3000 words at the last minute.

Sam added that everyone has their own way of working and part of being a student in the first year is figuring out which way of working best suits every individual student.

“It’s important to have a plan and figure out what you are going to do and when you are going to do it, how you are going to do it, and within certain time frames.”

“The key for me was making sure I had more time than I thought I needed,” Sam added, “there will be times when you just can’t do it, and you have to say to yourself: ‘I need to go to sleep and start again in the morning”.

“You do need to find your own way,” Sam added. “I think this has been the whole theme of this conversation. Whether it’s the social aspect, studying or whether you really want to go to university in the first place. It’s not for everyone and that’s OK.”

Check out the episode on Spotify (https://buff.ly/2ZgGA2f), Facebook (https://buff.ly/3lEoA9z) and YouTube (https://buff.ly/2XAtNaA)!

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