So I thought i’d share three quick tips that i’ve gathered which help to tackle stress/anxiety. These are particularly relevant to being at university but also useful for everyday life!
1. Always take a bottle of water. This sounds incredibly simple but when you’re trying to concentrate all day and your brain is doing overtime worrying about that deadline/interview/application form, being dehydrated is just going to make you feel even more tired, confused and anxious.
2. Plan your day and pack your bag the night before. I realise we aren’t in year seven anymore, but the number of times i’ve turned up to uni with the wrong books is ridiculous. Having an organised bag and plan for the day ahead will not only help you stay calm, but also ensure you make the most of your day.
3. Be kind to yourself. You only got 55 on that assignment and your friend got 70? Does this mean you’re not as intelligent? Does it mean you’re a failure? No. One strategy which helps to maintain self belief is to jot down two things that you are proud of and one thing you want to work on every night. This doesn’t have to be in a cliché diary (although mine is), you can just write them in your phone if you want to. I find this helps with confidence levels whilst providing a gentle reminder of things that need addressing.
These might seem basic but often I find the small changes to be most effective and easy to stick to. Feel free to share your tips for staying stress free!
I hate the term ‘drop out’. Every time someone asks me why I ‘dropped out’ it makes me feel like a failure all over again. Mostly because people just can’t believe it. Why would you leave a top five UK university? From an outside perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. But if my experience taught me anything, it’s that there are hundreds of other students who are probably feeling miserable, inadequate and stressed right now at the thought of another year of academia.
Having studied at a comprehensive school and sixth form I immediately found myself a minority at my university. Although my background is that of the average Brit, the culture shock I experienced is undeniable. Our education system means that a significant proportion of students at the top UK universities are from the 7-8% of the population who are privately educated, which can make an average teenager feel incredibly out of their depth.
As a world -renowned institution, it goes without saying that the university I went to has a competitive environment. However, the sheer level of competition breeds a culture in which students are expected to push themselves to their absolute limit to not only succeed, but also outdo their fellow course mates. It seemed as though mental health disorders such as anxiety were accepted as a normal side effect of being highly functional academically. Excuse me if I’m being radical here but I was raised being taught to value my health and wellbeing over an exam result. Throughout the year I felt unsupported both academically and personally, and the overwhelming attitude I experienced was that struggling to cope equated academic inferiority. Eventually I made the controversial decision to leave, and my life has been all the better for it.