By Lizzie Midgley-Peters, BA (Hons) Creative Writing, 2nd Year
1. How to cope with financial stress
For most of us, university is the first time we have lived away from home, and therefore the first time we are financially responsible for ourselves. So first things first, we have to cut ourselves some slack. We’re going to make some mistakes, and we’re probably going to end up skint for at least some of our time as a student.
After blowing all of your spare money in fresher’s week, only to spend an entire semester eating pasta and beans, you’ll probably start to feel the bitter sting of financial stress. So try to be aware. Be as smart as you can be. Think about the memories you want to have, and how you can make your money go as far as possible toward them. Remember that it is okay to be scared, to ask for help, and that everyone is pretty much in the same boat.
2. Drinking can have a negative influence on mental health
Although you might be deep in the midst of financial stress, there somehow always seems to be enough money to drink at university- especially in a city with a night-life as good as Sheffield. But it can catch up with you. Not only does it add pressure to any financial trouble you’re having in the first place, it can be a slippery slope to a complete lack of self-care and difficulties with mental health, especially if you struggle already.
I drove myself to a massive depressive breakdown in my first year at Sheffield Hallam by self-medicating with alcohol. It took me so long to realise that I couldn’t ignore my mental health for the sake of a good time, even if I sometimes wanted to. Know your limits. Be aware of what your mental health can handle.
3. Your degree is the priority (second only to your wellbeing)
Another, rather important, thing to remember when starting university is the whole reason you are there: to get a degree. Yes, living as a student for 3 or 4 years can be good fun, but if you let your lifestyle get in the way of all of your work then you will just end up in a lot of debt with nothing to show for it.
I have had to rekindle my passion and motivation for my course a couple of times over the past 3 years, and getting my head down to get on with the work felt like a huge task at times, but it pays off. Although everything else is super important too, try not to let your social life, or any relationships, get in the way of your workload for too long- it only makes for more stress.
4. What support Sheffield Hallam offers
One of the biggest things I wish I had known when I started uni is exactly what support Sheffield Hallam offers. I spent my first year struggling with stress, depression and anxiety, leaving me overwhelmed with coursework, with no money and friends I would constantly bail on. It was only last year that I found out about all of the student support services at Hallam. The wellbeing service is available for assessments, appointments, support and advice all year round. If stress, or any other problems, are effecting 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 225 2136 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org