By Lizzie Midgley-Peters, BA (Hons) Creative Writing, 3rd Year
I have toyed with the idea of dropping out of university on numerous occasions in the time I have spent at Sheffield Hallam. After attempting to move into the city twice, my first and second year, and both moves ending with major depressive breakdowns, I felt like continuing was impossible. I had messed up my second year so badly that I was living back with my parents in a completely different town, my mental and physical health was at an all-time low, and I had lost pretty much an entire group of friends in the process. I felt alone, overwhelmed, and the thought of coming back was simply terrifying.
Talk to Someone
I had to do something about it. So I sat my parents down and told them I was going to drop out. This made me feel even worse, like I wasn’t just letting myself down, but everyone around me. After a lot of talking, my parents convinced me to give it one last chance, so I decided to make an appointment for a progression meeting to discuss my options. I didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to talking through my depression with any academic staff, but I was so pleasantly surprised.
I was instantly asked if I had a learning contract for my mental health problems. When I said no, I was signed up for one almost immediately, which meant I was provided with extensions for my deadlines, extra support when needed, and the promise of a year with a lot of pressure off of my shoulders. I was also offered a year’s break in study, however I thought that if I took this I would never come back, so I decided to retake my second year. Even with all of this help, I knew I had to change my mind-set towards my education. I had to stop considering quitting in the face of my depression and avoiding the real problems, and start to get the support that I needed to boost me on the way.
Refuse to Give Up!
Last year wasn’t easy for me. I was terrified to be back at uni and trying to build an honest support network with my course faculty. It meant I had to start talking, or emailing, about how my struggles were influencing my work, which took me a while to get used to, but I am so glad that I have put all of this effort in to stop myself giving up. Last year was the year I found my drive for a career, developed skills that I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise, and saw me come out with nearly all 2:1 and 1st class grades. I am excited to see what my next and final chapter brings me, and I urge anyone else struggling to accept some of the support our university offers, and find your next chapter here too.
What support Sheffield Hallam offers
The wellbeing service is available for assessments, appointments, support and advice all year round. If stress, or any other problems, are affecting your workload, Hallam also offer learning contracts which provide permanent extenuating circumstance agreements allowing deadline extensions and other kinds of support to those who are struggling. Remember it’s okay to ask for help. Always. And if you do, you will receive a brilliant quality of support at Sheffield Hallam.
*If you would like to speak to a wellbeing practitioner call 0114 2252136 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org