We’re now over halfway through the first term of a new academic year, and all the initial excitement of the Freshers period may seem like a distant memory. Now you will be settling into your lectures, getting used to living away from home and trying to manage money, cooking, socialising and studying. For those of you entering your second, third or fourth years, the adjustment to new study pressures may be added to the already daunting set of challenges that come with living off-campus.
However, you might be surprised to learn that not everyone takes to Uni life as easily as it may first appear. It can be hard being away from family and friends, pets, school friends and your life at home. Living in Halls isn’t always easy and it’s sometimes hard to make friends with the people you live with. This is especially hard if you feel left out – for example, if you are not as outgoing as others, or if you don’t have the money to go out every night of the week.
Some students can feel pressured to fit in, pressured if they haven’t had sex or pressured if they don’t drink alcohol. However, if you feel any of these things, you are not alone.
Getting used to lectures, understanding your course, struggling to keep up and worrying about your academic abilities is also not unusual. Plenty of people come to Uni and find it hard to adjust after school - many feel intimidated by classmates who seem more intelligent, and can find their courses hard to get their heads round.
Parents and family members can get so excited when they know you are at Uni - they are so proud and thrilled, often because you may have an opportunity that they didn’t have themselves. There can therefore be added pressure to do well, work hard, make friends and succeed. All of this is usually well-meant, but for some students the pressure of being deemed a “failure” can get too much and they end up withdrawing from social gatherings, missing classes or hiding in their rooms - all the while telling their families everything is okay because they are ashamed or scared to admit that it’s not.
If you have already had an experience with mental health problems, the transition to University can also present further challenges, with the introduction of a new routine and having to establish a new support network. Having to adapt to this new environment when you are diversely-abled can provide an extra struggle too, with worries about whether the necessary adjustments have been made for you to have the same access to your education and extracurricular activities as everyone else.
As part of our commitment to improving the mental health of students all year round, Warwick SU wants to reach out to anyone who feels this way - to let them know that It’s OK to feel like this, and that we can help. Anyone who feels out of their depth isn’t the first to feel this way, and certainly won’t be the last - sometimes university just isn’t for them, and we want to support anyone who might feel lost or alone at Warwick.
Our It’s OK Campaign is designed to help students who might be feeling isolated, scared or worried. It’s for any student who is struggling with their course, worried about money or feels like they don’t fit in with their flatmates - whatever the issue, we are here to help. Countless members of our Staff and Officer team have been students themselves, and so we understand the range of concerns students may have.
All this week (from Monday 16th November), you can pop in to see Luke in his office upstairs in SUHQ for a friendly, confidential chat about any concerns you might have. Luke’s door is open to everyone so please don’t hesitate about coming to see him, or contact any of the other support services.
Please don’t forget that if you ever want help or advice on any aspect of student life at any time of the year, the SU Advice Centre is always here for you (www.warwicksu.com/advice).