By an NTU 2nd Year Fine Art student
So before going to University, I was in a toxic relationship of four years. Being filled with body image issues and social anxiety, doubting and questioning myself in everything I did was a daily thing for me. Three weeks after starting at NTU, I had to break the relationship off. I had dealt with being told I looked better with makeup, my clothes were stupid, my hair looked good on one side and trying to keep the relationship going was mentally draining. We were both incredibly depressed, and we just couldn’t be together. I finally let go and had fun.
I was excited to start something completely new, exploring a new city, being independent, meeting new people and studying something I love.
Everyone has their expectations of what first year at uni would be like. Mine were constantly drinking, joining clubs and societies, spending all my time with new people, going out 24/7 and being on top of my Uni work. When my reality of it was different; sleeping all the time, leaving everything last minute, being sick nightly because of the amount of alcohol I was consuming every day, binge watching tv shows, eating less than one meal a day and the lists goes on. First year was ultimately the hardest but also greatest year of my entire life.
I look back at my Freshers’ Week and my god was it exhausting! My first ever meal at uni was bread, just bread, because I didn’t have time to eat because I was late to pre-drinks. A few months later, my daily routine was going out at least five/six times a week and only going into uni maybe once a week I studied Fine Art and that was not okay at all. I wish I realised that it’s okay to have time alone and to look after yourself. It’s okay to not spend £50 on a night out and to not please everyone with social commitments, going into uni for studying and lectures is more important.
I got myself into a lot of situations that I regret. I was struggling with drinking and drugs, not remembering most of what I got up to the night before. I used that to avoid and ignore my mental health which later slapped me in the face. I had discussions with some of my close friends and family. For some that might be hard to do but if you know that there’s something wrong then you need to seek help. It’s a big step but trust me, it’s worth it.
I went to Student Support Services and I received weekly online counselling. This was so unbelievably helpful as I could talk about what was going on in my mind. You have a week to write down your thoughts and I could do it in the comfort of my bed. They reply the next day and they really listen and give you advice. By getting everything off my chest it helped me see things clearer, helped me organise my life a bit better, and I managed to finish first year with a good grade. I was feeling extremely happy for the first time in a while.
What I’m trying to say is that you will one day have the realisation of what you need to do, you can change the situation you are in! You can balance social life and university work, it will be hard, and it does take time, but it will be the start of saving yourself.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness