“Grin and Bear It!”
Happy New Year and welcome back to Term 2! I hope that you all managed to get a break over this winter holiday even with exams and assignment deadlines coming up!
Some students can’t wait to come back into Term 2 or are pretty excited to move onto the New Year. For others it can be quite difficult, so I thought that this would be a timely reminder of an important message.
You’re thinking about applying to university. Perhaps you’re in your last year. Regardless, there are 2 traits which you probably constantly get told you need to develop:
- Independence – moving away from home and doing everything yourself is said to be the first step to becoming an ‘adult’;
- Resilience – university is tough. Academically, socially and mentally.
It’s true. There’s no one telling you what, how, and when to do anything so there is an element of self-reliance.
HOWEVER, it can get to a point where we rely too much on ourselves. Amongst all of that we forget that sometimes to be resilient we need support from others.
Too often we’re told to:
That’s the impression we get when we go to university. You’re an adult now so just “deal with it” and if you can’t you’re a ‘snowflake’.
That’s not true. There’s NO shame in seeking guidance when you need to. Neither does it make you any less capable of being able to do well at university or in your future career. If you think that something is not worth talking about,
ANY struggle IS worth talking about.
Loneliness? Academia? Homesickness? Perhaps you have just had a rough week?
One thing I really appreciate is that academics and admin staff in Psychology are constantly reminding us that they are here to provide us support anytime we need it. It’s not just mentioned once and brushed off but reiterated throughout the year, whether that’s in tutor meetings, in lectures , or even through emails . They want you to take care of yourself.
Nevertheless, to say that it’s daunting to admit that you are unhappy (to yourself and others) is a complete understatement. It’s one of the biggest steps you have to take, but also one of the very first which doesn’t help at all.
I spent weeks with an email saved in ‘drafts’ asking my personal tutor if it would be okay to talk about non-academic concerns and had to force myself to click that send arrow. It was one of the best decisions I have made. They will understand. Chances are, they will have been through the process more than once!
If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can ask the senior tutor in your department or one of your other lecturers, or perhaps an older student who can give you some guidance. I know that many people find it awkward to speak to someone they have close contact with, but if that puts you more at ease, text or call a friend; a family member. They’re probably missing you!
Do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.
Sometimes all we need is a good chat or someone to help us detangle our thoughts.
There’s also the ‘lighter option’ of using some online resources then taking the above measures when and if you ever feel the need to, but of course, that still requires you to be honest with yourself.
Before I list some examples below, it should be emphasised that you shouldn’t let the ‘well-being’ and ‘mental health’ scare you. They are things that exist in everyone and remember that no one will be checking your search history so don’t let that stop you from seeking some practical advice.
I know that what I’m saying sounds so simple, but I also know that it’s far from a breeze.
Really, if you have managed to build up the courage to click onto just one of the links below despite that lingering fear, give yourself credit!
· Self-Help Resources (Warwick Wellbeing Support Services) – As well as their consultations and one-to-one/ emailing services, they have selection of self-help resources which can be filtered using the check boxes on the left-hand side. Personally, I think that they are brilliant. They can help you identify how you’re feeling, your needs, and measures that you can take through podcasts, articles, and guides and resources from external websites.
· Big White Wall – This is a wellbeing service that is now open to all Warwick students. It is completely anonymous and is managed by trained professionals. All you need is your Warwick email address, so for those of you who would rather anonymously share their thoughts and feelings but still get solicited guidance, this is great. You can contact a Wall Guide (a trained counsellor) at any time through a messaging service on the website.
· Mind – They have some really good information under the ‘Information & Support’ tab. On there is guidance for individuals who may be struggling, but also guidance on how you can support someone you know who may be. They list some really useful helplines if you want to chat to someone about either scenario. The language on there is really easy to understand to.
· Student Minds – Probably one that you are familiar with already. Similar to the above but focused specifically on student wellbeing. They also have programmes that you can join if it’s something you’re interested in volunteering with.
If you’re a Psychology student be rest assured that there are staff members who you can speak to. Hopefully, you all know by now that they are so approachable, and the department has 3 trained mental health first aiders who you can access if you think that is something that would benefit you (see the wellbeing board to the right of the common room).
If you are from another department, I am sure that you have been told about available student support. If you need a reminder, it’s worth checking your departmental guide on Moodle (or your departmental notice board if you have one) to locate this information.
It’s so easy to feel like there will be no one who understands, especially if others haven’t taken you seriously in the past or if you have grown up being told to “grin and bear it”, but please don’t let that deter you now. Sometimes it takes time to find the right person to speak to.
Remember that your wellbeing matters no matter what you’re struggling with. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Take your time. There’s no obligation to spill everything at once.
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