By Mel Chilekwa a current BA Business Management and Accounting and Finance NTU student.
No matter what stage you’re at, relationships are tough. From your first all consuming crush at aged 13 to marriage (if that is something you’re considering), relationships need work. Herein lies the problem, at this stage of life how do you start or maintain a healthy relationship? You’re already trying to balance university and social life, maybe looking for or already have a job. Maybe you are uncertain what exactly the next step is for you and that’s okay. Be patient. You may be confused, stressed or depressed right now but trust me, it’ll pass.
I’ll say it twice, relationships are tough. Let me use this space to give you some advice, that I am in no way qualified to give. I hope it’ll help. Firstly, my advice is to wait. Remember that relationships aren’t everything. Work on yourself first, have good friends and positive influences around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You are half of this relationship, and you need to make sure you are happy and healthy before anything else. Time for a little cliché – wait for the right person. I have no doubt you could find someone today but don’t lower your standards. You deserve someone that will treat you right.
Secondly, make time for your significant other. It may seem obvious, but it is something that is often overlooked. Whether it’s your first date or your 500th, taking the time to do even a simple act of sending them a text (no, you’re not clingy) can go a long way. Think of relationships like plants; however, instead of photosynthesis, they need affection, care and understand to bloom – not to be left on the side to wither and die. Don’t get me wrong here, this is not to say you should be expected to be there all the time for your partner. It is impossible to do so unless you spend every waking moment with them. I don’t think I need to tell you how unhealthy that is. You both have two separate lives and you need to work on finding a balance.
Next, I will advise you to listen. As they say, love is blind and it’s difficult to realise you may be falling into a hole. Listen to your family and friends, their opinion is important. They can point out that something may be wrong so never isolate yourself. A new perspective from the outside is invaluable, it can prevent heartbreak and abusive relationships. You are equals in a relationship, don’t allow yourself to be treated like anything less.
The main takeaway point here is that no matter your race, sexuality or religion, you are still young. Whether you’re in a relationship, still looking for one or if relationships aren’t your thing it’s okay, don’t worry too much. Relax, have fun, experiment. We live and learn from experience. Make mistakes, do stupid things and grow from them. Enjoy yourselves and most importantly, take care of yourselves.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Personal Pastoral Support at NTU (general worries and anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, a relationship breakup, or a bereavement)
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