By Dean Fido, an NTU Alumni
BSc Psychology w/ Criminology (Hons.) 2007-2010 MSc Forensic Psychology 2010-2011 PhD Cognitive Neuroscience 2011-2015
University life is an intricate web of conflicting commitments, requirements, and experiences. Nottingham Trent University in particular, works hard to provide such a wealth of opportunities, which is great. But when combined with an eager and curious student body who realise their time at university is limited, it is unsurprising that students can over-stretch themselves. Rest assured, it is not the role of this blog post to reiterate the quite frankly damning mental health statistics across UK and international institutions, but what this post does contain are suggestions of how to implement a select number of safeguards when navigating student life.
(Note. No, I’m not going to suggest you skip those nights at Ocean)
You’ve been told throughout your life to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep – but the reasons why have never been made clear. Not only does a lack of sleep affect our ability to physically engage with work, sport, and social activities, due to exhaustion and fatigue, but it increases our risk of mental illness. Specifically, sleep helps support our day-to-day resilience; without which we are not equipped to successfully deal with emotionally-tasking situations (such as juggling your overtime at work to pay the bills; knowing full well you have coursework due at the end of the week). Yes, you might hear that successful people ‘go to bed late and wake up early’, but we live in an age where demands placed upon us are increasing – creating pressure that we must mitigate against.
But if demands placed upon us are increasing, and we’re sleeping more, how can we ever possibly hope to succeed? If you only take one thing away from this post – let it be this. Being able to plan ahead, identify key goals, and allocate your limited time accordingly, is for me, the single-most important method to succeeding at university. Only by doing this can we work efficiently and truly identify whether or not taking up that extra sporting team, volunteering role, or research post is truly achievable. If your schedule does not allow you to make such commitments…
Learning to say no
…then it’s perfectly fine to say “No”. From my experience, the regret brought about by a missed, poorly-time opportunity, is vastly outweighed by being able to fully dedicate yourself to a select number of achievable and manageable tasks.
I fully understand the pressures of emerging from university with a comprehensive CV that ‘ticks’ all of the necessary boxes that employers are looking for. However, your CV is ultimately worthless if your overall degree grade, health (both physical and mental), and happiness is ultimately impacted. Time is on your side, and opportunities will emerge in the future. Enjoy your time at university and care for yourself.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
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
This post is part of our regular NTU Alumni feature. Over the next few weeks we will be posting guest blogs written by our Alumni Fellows sharing their experiences and tips on their student journey while here at NTU.
If you are an NTU graduate and are interested in writing for us contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more information about our Alumni Fellowship volunteering programme via the alumni website