Monday, 17 September 2018

#DearFresherMe: 5 Tips on how to maintain mental wellbeing


Emily writes about the experience of starting University, and gives five tips on how to maintain mental wellbeing.
- Emily

Having finished my degree and graduated from Swansea University this summer, and having a younger brother preparing to return to Swansea for his second year, I have found myself feeling disappointed that I’m not one of those students either excitedly looking forward to going back to University, or anticipating starting University for the first time. 

If I could rewind the past five years and start my time at Swansea University all over again, I would. There are some things that I would definitely do differently, and there are some things that I wish I knew when I started University. 

1) Firstly, I would not try so hard to “fit in”. My thing has absolutely never been nights out involving alcohol and clubs and bars. In my first year, I paid so much money for a Freshers’ wristband and I only went to one event, which I ended up leaving almost as soon as I arrived because I had a panic attack. It wasn’t until I joined the Hogwarts society halfway during the first term that I really started to settle in a bit more, and make close friends. 

2) Secondly, if I could relive my entire University experience again, I would try to make more of my compulsory year abroad. Whilst I feel that my mental health difficulties prevented me from getting the most out of it, studying abroad is such a fantastic and valuable opportunity, so I would still definitely recommend it!

3) Thirdly, I would definitely get involved with Student Media opportunities a lot sooner than I did. Being involved with Swansea Student Media, especially the students’ newspaper – Waterfront – was something that I got so much out of and became extremely passionate about and just enjoyed it so very much. I would make the most of such opportunities and other volunteering or work experience opportunities. 

4) Fourthly, if I could do University again, I think I would focus on myself a lot more, in terms of relationships, my sexuality and discovering who I am. I spent too much time trying to impress people who perhaps, in hindsight, I definitely should not have been trying so hard to impress. Instead, I would try to love myself more.

5) Finally, I think I would tell myself to just focus on my own journey, my own degree, and my own experiences and to try not to worry about having to impress people whether it’s friends, family, colleagues etc.! Also, I would remind myself that it’s okay to change my mind about what I want to do after graduation! 

We go to University with our own priorities, looking to experience different things and some people struggle to adapt more than others do. One of the main things that I have taken from my University journey is that it’s perfectly okay to put myself first, and not worry so much about trying to fit in and impress other people.

You can find more support on starting university, and managing some of the challenges it brings, here


My name is Emily (Em). I have recently graduated from Swansea University with my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting; I was also passionate about and dedicated to Swansea Student Media and the University students’ newspaper – Waterfront. I blog for Student Minds because I have experienced mental health issues as a student and now as a graduate, as well as other health issues, and I support friends who also have mental health difficulties. I am a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences – both in helping me to explore and to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help others.


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