The University Mental Health Guide

Freshers’ is a time for lists: hopping lists, things you need for your kitchen, a list of important documents.

Sometimes the list feels never ending, but here is a list that is accessible to everyone – a mental health toolkit. I know these things can often be easier said than done. Despite this, I hope these four emotions can serve as a small and manageable guide. If I could go back to the start of last year as a first year, I’d tell myself to have patience. There are so many expectations regarding what your first year should be like.

We get told it should be fun, it should be ‘the best years of your life’, it should be something that we look back on with fondness. This isn’t always the case and putting pressure on yourself to fit into the first-year stereotype can be damaging. My biggest advice would be to take your time – you have years of university. There will be more club nights, there will be more time to make friends; don’t forget that everything Cardiff has to offer is on your doorstep for years to come.

The amount of different people that come together in Freshers week is a weird and wonderful thing. You will have people from all walks of life come from all over the world…and you all end up in Talybont. It’s a beautiful but daunting concept. Be excited! There is so much opportunity for growth and independence in first year. You get to learn to live independently, you get given more responsibility than ever and you finally start to become your own person away from your home life.

I had a beautiful moment of realisation in my first year – you make your time at university your own and you are completely in control of that. Be excited for what has started and what is yet to come.It’s okay if the first few weeks feel like a whirlwind; your mum has texted you 50 times, your friends from home are asking what halls are like and your grandma is asking if you’ve made the curry recipe she sent to you.

Don’t feel guilty – things can be fast in the first term but it’s always good to take some time to think about your life before university if things get a bit overwhelming. I found it encouraging to think about my achievements pre-uni – you lived your life and achieved so much before leaving for your university adventure, and you can continue to do that after. If you don’t feel comfy and happy, nothing will. This is probably the most important emotion I want you to practice.

Feel comfy within your own company – make your room your own, spend some nights in making dinner and watching a film. Get to know who the university you really is. Learn to feel good within yourself; once you do, everything else will fall into place thereafter.

You got yourself to university through your own hard work and achievements and you should celebrate…well, you.

If you have any concerns about your own or someone else’s wellbeing, do not hesitate to contact Cardiff University’s Help & Advice team or visit their webpage at:

[email protected]


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