So you’re about to start a new chapter of your life, at university. Whether you’re nervous, scared, excited, eager or all of the above I have a little advice for you from what I’ve learnt whilst being at university. A few little things I wish people had said to me when I started.
Firstly, let me tell you a little about myself. As I’ve mentioned in my blogs, I’ve suffered with severe depression and anxiety. My anxiety is very much focused on myself; how people see me and I put a lot of pressure on myself. When I started university I had just left therapy and I was learning to manage my depressive states and thoughts.
I couldn’t wait to start university. Get away from any reminders of how I used to be. Learn more about filmmaking. Make new friends.
When I arrived at university I was suddenly overwhelmed. I felt out of my comfort zone. I did isolate myself from social events and focused all my energy into university. I almost tried telling myself I didn’t really need a group of friends or anything but it is very important for your wellbeing. It was very strange for me as I’d always had a big group of friends through school and college.
Furthermore because I focused all my energy into university, I was very hard on myself, I never really allowed myself time to just enjoy what I was doing. I was starting to feel very negative about myself. I probably just seemed very miserable to my course mates because they only saw me in a working environment where I was worrying all the time. Because of this it caused me to start to care less about something I’d be passionate about for years because all I felt was extreme stress and critical thoughts. When all I needed to do was manage it.
So… A few things I’ve learnt and would like to share:
- Find yourself a balance between being social and your university work; having a group of friends you can trust and go through university together with is so important. You’re all in the same boat and they can keep you going at the very stressful times of year, such as exam period and deadline times.
- I found that getting a part time job really helped me; it gave me a place to be distracted so I didn’t worry about work at university. It helped me to socialise. And it seemed to give me confidence to talk to new people without worrying again. Not to mention a bit of money in my pocket.
- If you do suffer with severe anxiety or can be quite critical to yourself, when you initially meet people, remind yourself they probably don’t even have an opinion on you yet. Don’t avoid social events, set yourself targets on how much social activity you have each week and stick to it.
- Being invested in your course and the thing you love is important, it gives you good results BUT learn how to switch off, learn to appreciate what you’re doing, lighten up a little if you feel it is always bringing you down. Pressure and stress, to a certain extent, is helpful on doing your work. But too much can become unproductive.
- And most of all count your blessings, you’re only going to be a university student like this once so appreciate every second of it.
Oh and one more thing…
Look after yourself. Eat your vegetables. Drink plenty of water. And laugh.
Happiness is your birthright.