It is finally over. Seven days and nights of ‘The Famous Freshers Week’ have come to an end. The reality of having to do a degree settles on to your shoulders. The first few weeks after freshers can pose very difficult challenges to our mental health. Being aware of what those are and how to combat them would have made such a difference for me as a fresher so hopefully this is of some help.
Post- Freshers Blues
For those lucky enough to have loved every second of freshers week then it’s end can bring about a sort of ‘post-holiday blues’ feeling. Having had such a long summer away from education can make the return to it seem far more difficult. Paired with the fact you have spent the last week partying with no responsibilities, this fact can be daunting.
It is important to remember why you came to University in the first place. Of course, the social aspect is a huge contributor and what can make university so fun. However, you came for your degree. You should be doing a subject that you really enjoy and are interested in. Without sounding too cliché, although fresher’s week is over you do still have things to look forward to. Starting your course and settling into a routine over the next few weeks will start to make Cardiff feel like your home. That sense of place and stability will do wonders for your mental health and although having to start work may not be the most exciting thing- it will bring its own perks.
Giving yourself something to look forward to can help to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Plan a day trip or grab a friend and a go to a sports club or society. Even buying your reading list and starting on that can help you shift your mindset and re-motivate yourself for learning rather than partying.
Running out of time to settle in
Many people emerge at the end of fresher’s week in a panic. Feeling as though they didn’t make all the friends that they thought they would or had as much fun as they should have done. The end of freshers therefore marks the perceived end of opportunities to do so. Emphasis on ‘perceived’. Despite the claims of its reputation, fresher’s week is not the highlight of your university life, neither is it an accurate representation of the future. The majority of people have not found their ‘forever’ group by the end of freshers.
There will be people on your course you haven’t even met. There will be friends of friends that you meet, even ten weeks in that you get on with. You can join societies at any point during the year, just because you didn’t sign up at the fresher’s fair it doesn’t mean the doors are completely closed. It is such a common misconception that fresher’s week reflects what university is like, when in reality that is completley false. Consequently, if the cause of your post freshers slump is because it didn’t live up to expectations then you must rationalise your feelings. They are based on assumptions and you shouldn’t have to feel disheartened as a result.
As much as we hate to admit it, a week at university with no responsibilities and total freedom from our parents often leads to poor health decisions. Many of us binge drink throughout the week. Following this up with hungover fast food and sleeping until the afternoon. It is no surprise that after a week of doing this we do not feel our best. Sometimes all we need is an early night, a pint of water and a bowl of vegetables to feel better. I know for me I threw in a facemask and fresh sheets to really top the whole thing off.
You are not going to feel your best with seven days’ worth of partying in your system and sometimes getting back on track with your physical health can work wonders for your mental one. Unfortunately, it is not always so simple but the principle of looking after yourself is never a harmful one to adopt for the future.
The post freshers slump can affect any of us and many of us. Like always, if you notice your mood remains low for a long period of time then do not hesitate in reaching out to a friend, family member or the university services:
+44 (0)29 2087 4844
“Grey skies are just clouds passing over”– Duke Ellington