My studies and my self-worth are intricately tied
a narrative of remaining mentally well in order to perform well resulted in increased anxiety and feelings of being worthless, which was connected to poor performance. The academic pressures compromised my wellbeing, which resulted in a relapse of anxiety and depression and became the greatest barrier to my study.
I went to headspace when I became paralysed in needing to justify my place at university and being overwhelmed by its demands. My clinician helped me to implement practical strategies to reduce stress, while also giving meaning to my studies and giving me motivation and engagement.
Struggling with my mental health is clear when it comes to my studies, more so than any other area because this is the place where the social, personal, and vocational parts of my life interact.
In the National Student Wellbeing survey, physical and structural needs – such as housing and financial difficulties – were not recorded as impacting on mental health as much as loneliness. Though we are recorded by student ID numbers and concession cards, we are not just students.
I think that we don’t talk enough about just how hard university is – not just academically, but as a major readjustment and period of self-discovery. Many of my friends feel disconnected and unable to talk about what is going on for them because there remains this idea that everyone around them is managing and succeeding.
The results and responses in the survey are all too familiar. There is a tendency to frame poor mental health in measures of productivity and success, which has consequence of harming struggling students. This report demonstrates not only a great presence of stress but also the many degrees of commonality in its cause, symptoms, and impact.
Thanks for reading,
Published 6 April 2017