Mental Health & Wellbeing During a Warwick Degree
Hi guys, I hope you’re all well, and happy first day of the month! Today’s blog is going to focus on mental health, and some of the ways you can look after your wellbeing while at Warwick. As always, feel free to comment any questions or whatever else you want to share down below! x
Before coming to Warwick, a heavy workload in my degree was something that I not only expected, but was also motivated by. One of the reasons I chose PPE at Warwick was because both the university and the degree were known to be challenging, and I wanted to be in an academic environment where I knew I would be challenged. Warwick and PPE have definitely met these expectations, and although I’ve really enjoyed a lot of my degree, there have also been times when academic stress and pressure have made it anything but enjoyable.
Two of the ways that I’ve looked after my wellbeing during my degree is by voicing my struggles and worries to friends, and letting staff members know when I’ve felt like the pressure was getting too much. Talking to other students when I’ve been going through academic stress has been really useful for me because not only do they understand exactly what I’m going through, but sometimes they’ve been through or are going through the exact same thing themselves, so they can offer advice and support. Talking to staff and asking for help when the academic pressure has felt intense has also been really useful. For example, at the end of last term, I had four deadlines in the space of a week that I wanted to submit to a high standard, but work and society exec responsibilities were eating up a lot of my time, and my lack of sleep in order to juggle everything was making me ill. I decided that, rather than damage my mental and physical health, I would email the seminar tutor for one of the modules I had an essay due in, explain my situation to her and ask for a deadline extension of a few days. I definitely made the right decision because not only was she understanding and supportive, but the deadline extension she gave me was a week longer than I requested, and because of this I was able to submit all of my work to the standard I wanted without putting too much strain on my body or mind.
Doing a degree can be tough, and my three tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing at Warwick are:
1. Ask for help and advice when you need it. I think that one of the reasons that I’ve found staff members to be so supportive when I reach out to them is because Warwick as a university cares a lot about the mental wellbeing of its students. For example, the SU campaigns regularly about mental health in order to destigmatise it and raise awareness of what help is available; there is a free counselling service offered by the university for students; the medical centre on campus has a mental-health-specialised doctor for anyone registered with the centre to book an appointment with if they are worried about their mental health; and Warwick Nightline is a student-run, confidential, and non-judgmental peer-to-peer support listening service open every night of term where trained volunteers listen (via call, text, email, or face-to-face) to anything students wish to discuss. All of these facilities are available to you, so use them if you need to!
2. Don’t try to do everything to an amazing standard; determine what your priorities are (e.g. essay deadlines and exams), and decide which of your non-essential duties you can afford let go off while you look after yourself – e.g. when I’m working on my essays, I make sure I get enough hours of sleep by cutting down on how many seminar readings I do.
3. Remember that it’s okay not to be okay; everyone has mental health, and sometimes it’s great but sometimes it’s not.
I hope this post has been useful, and please remember that your mental health and wellbeing are definitely more important than your degree, so you should never jeopardise the former for the sake of the latter!