It is a well-known fact that almost everybody will experience depression at some point, if not multiple points, throughout their lives and it is certainly not uncommon amongst the student population.
Being a student at University is one probably the largest emotional rollercoasters to date for most students; and as with rollercoasters, life at as a student has its ups, downs and ‘bits in the middle’. The factors contributing to the ‘ups’ include the life-long friendships evolving, the hard work paying off when you receive good grades and the gaining of independence; with you being able to spend your last £2.80 on cheesy chips if that’s what you really want.
However, it is unlikely that the ‘up’ factors are what are leading to the development of depression. There are many factors that lead to experiencing low mood and it is important that you can identify these factors as well as your emotional states.
Although University is full of life with thousands of students it can feel like the most isolating place. This is probably because we all feel this pressure to socialise with others, especially through nights out and drinking. We need to understand and accept that not everyone enjoys this and if you are uncomfortable socialising it is important for you to know that you will not be the only one who feels this way. If you do want to socialise through methods other than drinking and that do not necessarily need much interaction take a look at the societies you can join that fit this criteria.
Deadlines can also impact negatively on your mental health, whether you are prepared for them or not. As soon as a deadline is set you aim to start early, and even if you do it does not make the deadline date any less alarming. Also, with all the deadlines and exams it can lead to you overworking which can lead to a ‘burn-out’. To avoid this, it is a good idea to set a timetable for yourself and set limits e.g. doing work between 9-5 and none at weekends. This way, you are giving yourself time to relax and unwind and hopefully lifting the weight of work off your shoulders.
Comparing ourselves to others, socially and academically, is something we cannot resist doing. Although not necessarily a bad thing, if you let it over-rule you it can be detrimental to your mental health; it is important to not wrestle your self-esteem to the ground with comparisons. If you find your confidence particularly low, try listing your positive qualities that you know you have. This can be a hard task to do for us modest beings but it is important to love yourself through your positive aspects.
Finances can be another drowning factor whilst at University, not just the small amount of student loan we receive to live on but also the awareness of the looming £9000 debt accumulation each year. It is important to remember that the SLC will not turn around and ask for the mountain of debt once you finish your degree and that they are rather fair in deciding the amount you pay back monthly, which is wage dependent.
As for living on a small sum of money for the year I suggest budgeting and planning in advance to prevent running out of money before the next payment by the SLC. This way you should not worry as much as you know that you will have your bills paid and food which are all you need to live and if you do want additional money for yourself there are plenty of job opportunities both within the University and around Liverpool city centre.
Even with this advice, if you are starting to feel like University life is becoming overwhelming and you are struggling to cope there are confidential services available to help you offered by the University; Nightline – an information and listening service available 8pm-8am and the counselling services.