We all lead different lives as students. Some live in luxury apartments paid for by wealthy parents. Some struggle each day, balancing their studies with part-time jobs in order to get by. And some live at home, their bank balances singing with student loan bliss.
No matter your situation and no matter the differences you have with others, there is one thing that binds us students together: stress.
As university students we are used to exams and deadline stress – we’ve been dealing with them for years. It feels like since we first learned the ability to speak and write down words, exam papers and homework have been forced upon us.
But the work we are doing now feels different. As does our stress. It’s different because it feels like this is what everything has been leading up to. Our dreams and ambitions are on the line. It feels like if we fall now, at the final hurdle, then our lives are over and all these years of education have gone to pitiful waste.
In reality, it’s not like that. Life still goes on. Bad grades aren’t a death sentence as Jeremy Clarkson smugly enjoys telling his Twitter following every GCSE and A-Level results day.
But regardless it still hurts.
We’ve spent the past three or four years (dependent on your course) dreaming about our future career. A dodgy exam or an iffy essay can feel like the end of the world. As though the proverbial rug has been ripped out from beneath our feet.
A bad grade can feel like a punch to the gut. Winding and disorienting us to the point our health starts to falter.
Mental health is an increasingly talked about topic these days and students know all too well about its struggles. Many of us walk on a cliff edge, with the swallowing all-encompassing abyss of depression a mere step away. All it takes is a single push to fall and it can happen to any of us.
Despite the pressures students face, the effects are seemingly invisible. People can come to class every day, a smile etched on their face, while their minds are filled with cobwebs. Exam stress, money worries, social pressure, deadlines. These four things can consume the lives of a student.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Student Advice and Wellbeing services can help a great deal and talking to trained professionals can clear away the mental cobwebs.
However, there is a sort of inevitability to stress. The nature of a degree after all is challenging and with challenges comes stress. We hope to reach the goals we’ve set out for ourselves and this added pressure can be tough on our mental health.
But that doesn’t mean we give up. Stress doesn’t mean depression and depression is certainly not inevitable. With the right care, time management, and friends around you, the slippery slope of mental health can be avoided entirely.
We all struggle, but depression isn’t an impassable wall, no matter how it looks on the surface. It’s actually a hurdle and hurdles are meant to be jumped over.
Sometimes we fail to jump over a hurdle on the first attempt. But that’s okay. There is nothing stopping us from picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.
If we keep doing this and if we keep trying, eventually, we will cross that final hurdle. We will pass the finish line.
The health and wellbeing of our students is our number one priority. You're not on your own, we're here to support you. Get in touch with Student Advice and Wellbeing.