What They Don't Tell You About University #TimeToTalk



Living as a student is never all fun and games. It's incredibly difficult.

It's time for some more real talk, friends - in fact, there should be more real talk in casual conversation. We should be addressing the issues that we're faced with, and even if it's not an issue you're going through at present, there are people who are and they deserve to be heard and advised.

We're told university is this great place where you can continue to learn more about your chosen industry, create meaningful relationships, have fun, party, eat takeaway dinners, and learn how to be independent, and this is all true. Finishing your degree is fulfilling and it's a great achievement because all that hard work has paid off, but that hard work can take its emotional toll on students.

The reality is: being a student is exhausting, and we need to talk about this more. Today is #TimeToTalk day, so let's talk.

Limbo

When you're in university, you're in stuck between two worlds. You've just taken a big step into your future, yet you're not quite there yet. You're in limbo. You're training to become the adult that everyone expects you to be, that you expect yourself to be. Isn't that so much pressure? So much pressure that if you go through a minor slip up, it's dangerously easy to be hard on yourself about it. All this pressure can build up, and this is only one feeling you experience.

What if?

And with the pressure, the doubt starts to settle in. Am I good enough to do this? What if I fail my degree? What if I try my absolute hardest just to figure out I don't even want to do this? And then sadness kicks in, and now you don't know how to move on from this point. Overthinking is taking over you and the hole just keeps getting bigger. Why am I not better? What if I keep letting myself down?

Trapped

The irony. You're surrounded by thousands of young people all in the same boat as you, all living life as a student, yet you can still find yourself feeling lonely. Sometimes you feel like the struggles you're feeling are purely on you and that no one will truly understand how you're feeling. Sometimes you'll say to yourself it's easier to keep things to myself so I don't bother other people - they have their own problems to deal with too. Sometimes, and in my opinion this is the most self-destructive thought, you keep your struggles to yourself because you think you can handle it all on your own. You've trapped yourself in your own head.

On top of all that, you're probably dealing with a lot of other things, such as feeling homesick, falling out with friends, your romantic life, financial struggles, timing, etc.

These feelings are hard to talk about. Feelings are hard to understand, they're hard to come to terms with - heck, they're hard to even pinpoint. When I was at university, I struggled just trying to realise that I was struggling.

What everyone really needs to realise is that these feelings are related to our mental health.

Mental health is something everyone has. Your mental health can be stable, but you can also go through issues with your mental health. Whether minor or major, it is important to be aware of these issues.

I cannot stress that enough. 

It's vital we all take a step back and ask ourselves if we are okay, and be honest with ourselves too. 

You know one more thing that they don't tell you more about at university? That there is help available to you.

Look up what student services has to offer; is there a drop-in clinic? A counsellor you could talk to? Student support? Your mentor? An advisor? A helpline?

If you find yourself feeling any of the above, please talk to someone.

I'm writing this for all of you who found yourself, or who are currently, feeling the pressures of being at university. I may sound chirpy in most of my blog posts, but these feelings were all too real for me too, last year in particular. I wouldn't have written this post if I didn't go through these feelings - and more - myself. Even though I'm not ready to publicly share my story in detail, even mentioning my mental health problems last year on such a public platform is a massive step forward. Let's take the next step together.

Being a student is so difficult, but please know that you are never alone in your struggle and that you can get out of this darkness. Believe in yourself because you are worth all the happiness in the world. We are worth all the happiness in the world.


Thank you for reading my contribution to #TimeToTalk day. I hope you've taken time to discuss mental health with those around you today, but if not - there's always tomorrow!

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