How To Prevent Loneliness During The University Summer Break

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How To Prevent Loneliness During The University Summer Break

Adam shares five tips for preventing loneliness and staying positive during the university summer break. – Adam Jones
After finishing my first year of university, I was aware that I might feel quite lonely during the summer break. To prevent this from happening, I made lots of different plans to keep myself busy during the four months I’m away from university. You may be in a similar position. Here’s five things that you can do to prevent loneliness during the university summer break:
1. Meet up with your friends from home Whilst, like me, you may have lost contact with old friends since starting university, I would advise that it’s important to re-connect with them. Not only will this help you escape possible loneliness, it will also show your friends that you still value them and want to keep in contact with them. This could be beneficial to both parties, with some of your other home friends possibly experiencing the same feelings of isolation and loneliness. Never be afraid to message people, even if you haven’t been in contact with them for a while.
2. Make the effort to meet up with friends from university Personally, I think it’s important to meet up with your university friends in the summer, even if it’s just once. It might be expensive. It might be quite a way to travel. However, people will appreciate the effort you make to see them, even if they don’t necessarily say it.
Seeing your university friends will also allow you to build stronger bonds with them ahead of the next year. Maintaining a close supportive network of friends can only help in the long-term, especially if your degree entails a lot of teamwork. Don’t wait for others to arrange plans. Take charge and it’s more than likely that you’ll reap the rewards.
3. Build up your portfolio Building up a portfolio can keep you occupied and can help raise your professional online profile. If you want to impress potential future employers, this is a good thing to do. It can also make you appreciate the knowledge and skills you’ve learnt at university. Whilst creating a portfolio of work may sound like a lot of effort, it can be very rewarding if you show off the range of skills you have. Plus, when you graduate, you can spend less time building a portfolio from scratch and spend more time looking for your first full-time job!
4. Create a vision for the next year Setting ambitious targets for next academic year can help you find your direction and purpose. For example, as a journalism student, I’ve set myself the task of completing a certain number of articles next year on top of my university work. Aim high and you’re more likely to reach the top, I believe in you all!
Show your vision to others on your course, show it to your lecturers. Both will try and help you achieve your aims; you often need people by your side in order to achieve your goals.
5. Update your CV As well as building your portfolio, regularly updating your CV with your latest skills and achievements is also very important. You never know when an opportunity could come around the corner. A fully updated CV showcasing all your skills will be useful to have at your fingertips. Whilst it needs to be short enough for a potential employer to read, include as many skills as you can to impress those who view it.
You can find more advice on looking after your wellbeing here
Hello! My name is Adam. I study Journalism and Media Production (BA Hons) at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Being a keen blogger and having several experiences during my academic studies, I hope that I can help people along the way whilst enjoying writing for you
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 20:11 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: HolidaysOriginal Article

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Getting The Help You Need For Anxiety

This was an interesting article I found on Student Minds
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Getting The Help You Need For Anxiety

Adam shares five tips for identifying and accessing support for anxiety – Adam Jones
Anxiety is something that everyone feels at different points in their life. However, the severity of it can differ from person to person. Sometimes, you may have to make that step to get help for when it gets out of control. When that anxiety builds, everything can feel scary. Nothing is simple. However, you’re not alone; there’s more people than you think that are going through a similar situation right now. Don’t’ ever feel like you’re a burden on anyone else. Get the help you need.
Here are five ways that you can get help when going through a tough period with managing anxiety:
1. Talk to friends and family When times get hard, it’s important to talk to the people closest to you; the people you can really trust. Whilst it can be hard to acknowledge that you do need help for anxiety, speaking to your friends and family sometimes, can help.
Although they may not be able to provide professional advice, the people closest to you will know you inside out, and will be able to give you advice and look out for you, seeing as you may either live with them or see them frequently. If they don’t know about how you are feeling, they won’t be able to help as much. Please do speak up about anxiety when you feel comfortable enough to do it!
2. Get the external help you need If your anxiety is quite severe, it could also be wise to seek professional advice. Booking a doctor’s appointment would be the first step in doing that. They’ll have a good idea as to what could help depending on the type of anxiety you experience and the severity of it. From there, they may refer you on to services like counselling where you will have the chance to talk about how you’re coping and how you feel. These counsellors will be especially trained to support the anxiety you’re going through as well as providing possible solutions.
Alternatively, a doctor could decide to prescribe you medication in an attempt to aid your anxiety. Without booking a doctor’s appointment, you may not be able to find out exactly what help you may need. Whichever route you take, it’s always wise to seek professional advice and help.
3. Find coping mechanisms that work for YOU Everyone’s methods of coping with anxiety are different. It’s always good to test out different methods that suit you, and to not persist with strategies that you don’t find helpful.
Whilst you need to find your own ways of coping, it’s always good to research ways that other people deal with their anxiety. This is especially useful information to have when these tips are given by people who experience a similar type and severity of anxiety to you.
However, if these tips don’t work for you, don’t panic. Everyone is different. It may take a while to find your own coping mechanisms, but it’ll be worth the wait when you do find ways of coping!
4. Learn to respect the boundaries of anxiety – then test those boundaries Whilst you may be very frustrated, like I am sometimes, at having very high anxiety, I wouldn’t be tempted to go completely out of your comfort zone to push its boundaries straight away. Doing this may give you panic attacks, which could have a long-lasting effect, or could make you feel even worse both physically and mentally.
It can be great to push the boundaries of the anxiety that you have. However, it would be a good idea to find coping mechanisms that work for you first, then gradually push them. That’s how I’ve learnt to deal with my anxiety, and I feel much better for it. You can overcome it!
5. Help yourself by helping others Even if you may have received professional help for anxiety, self-help can be a really useful form of therapy. Often, the battle with anxiety is ongoing, so it’s always important to take care of yourself.
One way you can do this is by helping other people who are going through similar things. It can be very self-rewarding and help reassure yourself when you give these words of support to others. It can be as simple as listening to friends and giving them advice. Another thing that you could do is write about your experiences and share advice with the internet, in the form of social media and blogs. There are so many things you can do to help others where you can also help yourself.
You can find more information and advice on anxiety here.
Hello! My name is Adam. I study Journalism and Media Production (BA Hons) at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Being a keen blogger and having several experiences during my academic studies, I hope that I can help people along the way whilst enjoying writing for you
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 11:42 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: AnxietyOriginal Article

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Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

This was an interesting article I found on Student Minds
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Comfort Zone!

To a growth-committed individual, comfort is merely somewhere to retreat to momentarily as you get prepared to push again. It will never give you that. The term comfort has ever been an unfamiliar term to me.

If you wish to live beyond your comfort zone, you’ve got to learn what occupies your zone. In case you have any strategies for breaking from the comfortable zone, give me a shout-out! The thing about comfort zones is it is comfortable for a great reason. Basically, you want to persuade yourself to CHANGE, to DEFEAT the comfortable zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone might be scary but it might be the very best decision you earn. Comfort zones are the simplest spot to remain in. In reality no 2 people will have the same comfort zone.

Don’t despair as you may just be experiencing an internal shift. Incremental change can result in a lasting shift. You’d be astounded at what a change of scenery can do to help your mindset.

For some folks, the thought of talking to strangers is completely ordinary and relaxing deep in the protection of the comfortable zone. With just a little understanding and a number of opportunities, it’s possible to infuse new creative ideas into everyday practice. The thought of the comfortable zone goes back to a traditional experiment in psychology.

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Ease The Anxiety

5 Ways To Avoid Social Media Addiction

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5 Ways To Avoid Social Media Addiction

Adam shares five tips for reducing mentally unhealthy social media usage. – Adam Jones
More and more people are now using social media platforms. Social media can have both pros and cons, often depending on how you use it and the amount that you use it. Young people are increasingly using social media in mentally unhealthy ways, with some developing social media addictions. This can be a problem because, in excess, social media can lead to psychologically unhealthy thought patterns, whilst also being a challenging environment for people who are going through mental health problems. Even if you do have many followers, social media can sometimes feel a very lonely and isolating place, and encourage you to negatively compare yourself to others.
Here are five ways you can escape the jaws of a social media addiction.
1. Get In The Fresh Air It can be easy to become attached to staying inside with phones, computers and games consoles at your fingertips. However, when was the last time you went out to get some fresh air? It can have numerous purposes, allowing you to clear your head when you need to and get away from social media. Exercise is also very important. A healthy body = a healthier mind. This is why going for a run or a walk, if you have the time and strength to do it, is so useful to have as part of your routine.
2. Utilise Screen Time Apple have installed features within their iPhones to help people manage how long they spend on their phone. Users now can enable app limits and downtime so they can stay away from certain apps for a period of time. Whilst the prospect of not using certain apps for a period of time may not sound appealing, it could help you manage your social media use, whilst also helping you to be more productive, as you won’t constantly be receiving notifications.
Even if you don’t implement these restrictions, screen time reports are available within the iPhone settings app so that you can see how much time you spend on your phone, and on what apps. This can allow you to set targets in terms of reducing the amount of time you spend on your phone.
3. Call/Meet Friends Instead Of Messaging Them It’s strange that even calling someone on your mobile phone seems to have become old-fashioned. It’s now far more common to text/message someone instead. Hearing someone’s voice is psychologically and emotionally important. It can help you get out of the habit of just messaging people, whilst preventing you from feeling isolated amidst the social media whirlwind. It’s even more beneficial if you meet your friends as well as calling them. Spending time with friends face to face is so important. No matter how you use social media, my advice would be to never lose that face to face contact with people.
4. Be More Productive By spending less time on social media, you can also have more time to update your CV or build your professional profile to help enhance your career path. It’s essential that you get the balance between work and play right. Whilst you may want to work hard, ensure that you do use social media to your advantage. For example, you have the ability to promote your work on social media. This could help you change the way you use social media.
5. If It’s Serious, Get Help Gaming addictions are now recognised as a psychological problem. You may think that excessive use of social media is not necessarily an addiction. However, the problem may be more serious than you think. If you’re in doubt, speak to friends and family. It could also be a good idea to seek external advice, help and support from doctors, addiction specialists or counsellors if you feel like the problem is getting too much. Don’t be afraid to speak out about these things, people are here to help.
Hello! My name is Adam. I study Journalism and Media Production (BA Hons) at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Being a keen blogger and having several experiences during my academic studies, I hope that I can help people along the way whilst enjoying writing for you
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 10:06 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Friends and Relationships, Social MediaOriginal Article

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5 Things To Do To Ease The Anxiety Of An Upcoming A-Level Results Day

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5 Things To Do To Ease The Anxiety Of An Upcoming A-Level Results Day

Adam shares five tips for staying busy over the summer to reduce any anxiety about upcoming exam results. – Adam Jones
The summer of 2018 was very difficult for me. England’s success at the World Cup was one of the few highlights of the summer. Why was my summer difficult? I was waiting for my exam results all summer after finishing on the 18th of June. It wasn’t until the 16th of August that all the uncertainty was swept away, and that I was definitely going to university! Here’s five things you can do to keep yourself busy and reduce any anxiety about results during that time of uncertainty:
1. Spend time with your family and friends During your hard revision amidst all your exams, you may not have spent as much time with your family and friends. As well as needing their support during the exam period, they could help you to cope with the anxiety of an upcoming results day. You may have the opportunity to go to events or go out with your family and friends, perhaps even going on holiday with them. If you don’t spend a lot of time with them at the moment, now could be a good time to start. They are there for you so you can share your worries with them. They’ll listen to you. Please don’t go through this worry alone, it will not do you any favours!
2. Find work experience in the summer Spending too much time at home is something that will also not do you any favours. Currently, I’m doing an internship after finishing my first year at university. Not only is this stopping me from worrying about things that I would be if I was stuck at home, it’s also allowing me to gain experience for when I finish university. You should try and do the same when you finish your A-levels. This is something I regret not doing this time last year. An internship/work experience is one of those things that you can put on your CV.
3. Build up your portfolio This is similar to the last point, but you can build your portfolio from home which may feel easier. Creating a website could be very useful as a portfolio. You could use this website to express yourself, show off some of your best work and display your passion for the theme you’ve chosen to base your portfolio around. From there, you can promote your work on social media. This work could be a useful asset to have in the future. The summer is only the start of this portfolio creation, you can add to this as you go through university.
4. Find alternative options Don’t place your eggs all in one basket! Sometimes, things don’t exactly go to plan. This was like my AS level results day, when I performed very poorly and thought that I wouldn’t be able to get back in to sixth form. If you don’t at least research alternative options for if your Plan A doesn’t quite work out, you may worry about results day. Finding alternative apprenticeships and preparing for UCAS clearing might be a wise thing to do. This will not do any harm and only make it even more satisfying if everything goes to plan! I thought I would never get in to my first choice university but somehow, I did. There’s one lesson I learnt from that, something I would like to share with all of you: believe in yourself!
5. Always keep in mind that you can re-sit If you do not get the results you were expecting, always remember that you can re-sit. The only reason I managed to get to university is because I decided to resit two of my AS level exams in my A-level exams year. These improved results helped push my overall grade up.
If you’re worrying about possibly falling behind and being older than everyone when you get to university, don’t worry! On my course, most of the people are the year above me in school, whilst being in the same university year as me. This is because some people come from 3-year BTEC courses or have re-sat their A-levels. Re-sits could help you get to where you want to be, they certainly helped me! You may not need to re-sit, but remembering that it is an option could just help to ease some of the anxiety over results day.
You can find more information and advice about looking after your mental wellbeing here
Hello! My name is Adam. I study Journalism and Media Production (BA Hons) at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Being a keen blogger and having several experiences during my academic studies, I hope that I can help people along the way whilst enjoying writing for you
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 15:39 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: #JustTheStart, Anxiety, Exams & ResultsOriginal Article

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My Journey to Oxbridge with OCD

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My Journey to Oxbridge with OCD

Lottie writes about the challenge of managing high pressure expectations with OCD and the importance of remembering and celebrating achievements.
– Lottie Brown
College was the first time that I really began to excel academically. Following surprisingly impressive AS results, it was suggested that I consider applying for Oxbridge. I never in a million years thought that I would get an offer. Even so, I applied just so that I didn’t have to live with the disappointment of not knowing. When I received an interview I was absolutely delighted yet adamant that I wouldn’t become too attached because I didn’t want to be too upset when I got rejected. To my utter amazement, I received an offer. It was such a dream come true!
At this time, I was also living with undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so I knew that the next few months would not be easy. The more I succeeded academically, the worse my OCD would get because I felt I had more to lose. The build up to the A-Level examinations was particularly difficult for me, I carried hand-sanitiser everywhere and there were days when I would be constantly going back and forth from the bathroom washing my hands because I was fearful that if I didn’t, I would do badly on my exams and thus not get to go to Oxford. I struggled to decide which clothes to wear and would get so annoyed if any of my revision papers had been moved, because I thought that they might be contaminated and cause me to fail my exams. It was, in a word, exhausting. The problem was that I was still undiagnosed, so I had no idea how to stop the time-consuming rituals. I wish that I had sought professional help at this point, then I would have been able to use the techniques from ERP therapy to challenge my OCD. It would also have better prepared me for the psychological breakdown that I experienced in the final year of my undergraduate degree. Instead, after sitting my A Levels, I had to use the subsequent months of respite to recover from the exhaustion of OCD.
When results day came, I was so anxious. I remember going back and forth from the bathroom to wash my hands until it felt ‘just right’; I felt that I didn’t want to negatively affect my A-Level results by having contaminated hands when I opened them up. To my absolute delight, I had fulfilled my offer. I was going to Oxford. I couldn’t stop crying as I ran into my parents’ room to tell them. They started crying as well. Hearing the commotion my sister came out of her room and joined in the crying too. Almost eight years on, this is still one of the happiest moments of my life. It’s a moment that I constantly look back at when I am feeling lost or struggling to find direction. It reminds me that, in spite of a constant and debilitating struggle with OCD, I still managed to achieve my dreams and study at Oxford. And that is something that my struggle with mental illness is never going to take away from me. For anyone who is facing a similar struggle, it is important to get help sooner rather than later. There is no substitute for professional help; it would have been so helpful to have this in place before (rather than after) beginning university. Then I would have had the necessary coping strategies for dealing with the pressures of university life.
Find out more about OCD and how to support a friend here.

Lottie is a PhD student in Classics at the University of Bristol. She has been struggling with OCD and anxiety for several years, and is very passionate about raising awareness of mental illness and challenging stigmas. She regularly blogs about her own experiences with mental illness here.
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 11:27 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: #JustTheStart, Exams & Results, Finding support, OCDOriginal Article

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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Going to university is important for academic and personal development, and deciding which course to study can feel like the tip of the iceberg. Whether an individual has the resources to fledge the family nest however, can be a key consideration for student wellbeing. – Nicola Forshaw
With the cost of education increasing, coupled with expensive living costs, deciding whether to live at home with parents or to move away for uni is a serious contemplation for many students. For my undergraduate studies I made the decision to stay at home and commute to university rather than incur the additional cost of student accommodation. Whether or not this is the right decision for you depends on a number of factors; I will consider three.
First, how does leaving the family nest feel to you? I know some of my peers seized the opportunity and absolutely could not wait to jump fully into the student life experience. For me, however, the thought of living in shared accommodation with four or five other strangers and sharing a kitchen and bathroom was rather anxiety provoking, making it a less than ideal living situation in which to thrive.
Second, what’s your relationship like with your parents? Maybe living at home for another three years is just not a realistic option. Perhaps you need your own space and independence, or maybe the relationship you have with your parents isn’t that great and the timing of moving to university couldn’t be any better. In this instance, moving away from home could actually improve your wellbeing. Alternatively, staying at home could be comfortable, and you’ll be well looked after, and you might not be ready to give up that lifestyle or family support just yet. Feeling supported is, after all, important for wellbeing. If you are estranged from contact with your family, Stand Alone can offer information, advice and support on financing your studies and accommodation.
Third, is it a top priority to go to a particular university? Fortunately, the university I wanted to attend was within commuting distance. However, for some students moving away is a necessity, especially when the degree they wish to pursue is only at a select few universities or the university they attend is key to their professional development.
Now that I’ve graduated, did I make the right decision to not live away from my family home whilst at uni? Firstly, I must say that I really enjoyed my home comforts, and as an introvert not having to live with several other students and navigate shared accommodation suited me just fine. Secondly, and this is the best part, I actually had savings at the end of my degree and enough money to successfully see myself through my driving test.
On the flip side, however, I felt like I missed out on making friends because when class was over, I commuted back home. There were other students who commuted, and we got to know one another quite well. However socialising with peers and feeling part of a group is important for one’s self esteem as it not only provides a sense of belonging but a support network too. Second, I wonder if I would have grown more as a person if I was involved to a greater extent in student life. I also wonder though if I would have achieved as much academically if I was more involved in student life. There is no right or wrong way in pursuing your educational goals. However, reflecting on your likes and dislikes, and being aware of your academic and career goals, can help in guiding you through this chapter of your life, and indeed the next chapter. Post-graduate studies anyone?
You can find information and advice on managing your finances here
Hello, my name is Nicola and I am passionate about supporting the wellbeing of students. Having studied in the UK and abroad, coupled with my experience in research and teaching, I understand the challenges and struggles that students face. As a Mental Health First Aider I take each day as an opportunity to help and inspire others. I also write for Students Minds to share my own experience of wellbeing during undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 15:44 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Finance, Friends and RelationshipsOriginal Article

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So you have your A-level results…what next? #JustTheStart

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So you have your A-level results…what next? #JustTheStart

Students share how they felt finding out their A-level results – this is #JustTheStart of your journey! – Alys Daniels-Creasey
The highly-anticipated moment that’s been looming on the horizon for months is finally here: A-level results day. Some students will be celebrating and some breaking out the box of tissues – whatever your reaction, you won’t be the first to feel the way you do. We took to social media to ask students how they felt on the day and where their results led them…
For some people, this is an amazing day full of celebration. If you got the grades you were hoping for then the relief after such a long wait might take a while to sink in.

After the shock wears off, the concept of going to university suddenly becomes a reality and that can be scary. Apprehension is a normal emotion to feel alongside the excitement – this is exactly what our Know Before You Go guide is here to help with.
For others, results day can throw disappointment into the mix of emotions. Whether you’ve missed out on your top university or haven’t been accepted into any of your choices, the uncertainty in this moment can be unsettling. It can feel like you’re alone: you’re not! So many students have been in this position before and have come out the other side.
A-levels are tough. Much tougher than any exams at university. Even just to get through them makes you a badass’ - Rachel and ‘Even if you don’t get into the uni you wanted, it might turn out for the best!’ - Jess
It’s disheartening to not land a spot at your favourite pick – but if you’re holding an offer at your insurance choice this is still a huge achievement and can lead to an equally amazing, or perhaps even better, university experience.
‘Grades don’t mean everything’ - Ashlee and ‘Not getting the grades I needed for my firm choice wasn’t the end of the world - all unis are much of a muchness, and you can have a good time wherever you end up’ - Grace
And just because you might not have done as well as you hoped in your A-levels, it doesn’t mean you won’t go on to get those high grades.
‘Even when your grades at A-level aren't deemed phenomenal, you can still do amazing things afterwards e.g. top grades at university!’ - Brittany and ‘Results do not define you as a person and you can still succeed at university’ - Grace
If you’re facing no offers, remember…
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the results you wanted. You do have options!’ - Catherine and ‘Whatever happens, there will be options and you will get somewhere you love’ - Lorna
One of those options is applying for a different university or course through Clearing. UCAS has all the information on this.
‘Getting lower than expected grades led me to a Clearing course and a career I love!’ - Bobbi
What’s important is making an informed decision that you’re happy with: you shouldn’t feel pressured to make certain choices but talking to others can give you clarity in deciding what is right for you.
‘It’s helpful to talk through your options with someone so you don’t get overwhelmed’ - Ethan
Times like this can be overwhelming: if you are worried about yourself and need someone to speak to now, Samaritans are open 24/7.
No matter what results are in your envelope today…
‘If you’ve done all you can possibly do, be proud’ - Georgia
Finding out your A-level results is #JustTheStart of a much bigger story. As graduate Carys says, ‘it will all work out eventually’.

Alys has produced content as the Communications Intern at Student Minds, passionate to share student voices in creative and engaging ways. She is going into her second year studying Sociology and sporadically writes about mental health over at www.alysjournals.com.
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 11:13 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Exams & Results, First Year (Freshers)Original Article

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Being Proud of who you are

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Being Proud of who you are
Emily speaks about cherishing your identity.

“Sexuality and sexual preference is always handled in a private matter. Everyone knows about it, but no one truly speaks about it. And when it is spoken about there is hate, judgement and fear… Sexuality, I believe it is something that helps mould you into something greater. It is an expression, an experience and a journey.”
The month of June is also known as Pride month for those of us within the LGBT+ community. With the recent homophobic attacks shown in the news, I believe it is more important than ever to be proud of who you are, and be proud of being part of the LGBT+ community – no matter which or how many of the LGBT+ terms you identify with. I, myself, identify as both asexual and bisexual. It wasn’t until I was at university and first started to meet people who also identified as LGBT+ that I finally had the courage to first be open about my own sexuality and learn that it is okay and that it is good to be proud of who you are!
It’s not always simple to be proud of your sexuality or to even be open and honest about it. Sometimes, I still feel worried and anxious about what people might say. I have particularly found this since graduating from university and starting different jobs. It’s difficult enough to be open about having difficulties with depression and anxiety without being scared about what colleagues at work might say or think, but to also wonder if you should be open about being part of LGBT+ community without feeling judged.
Through my experiences of being LGBT+ and coming out as bisexual and asexual at university and now in the workplace, I have learnt a lot about what being LGBT+ means to me and also what it means to me to be proud of my sexuality. I think that sexuality is a personal thing but feeling comfortable enough to be open to people, whether it’s friends, family, colleagues or an LGBT+ society, is certainly something to be proud of, in my opinion. I have also learnt that if people aren’t okay with my sexuality and who I am, then that’s their loss. Having this mind-set makes it a lot easier for me to be accepting of myself.
“Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone. I won’t apologise for who I am.”

My name is Emily (Em). Last year, I graduated from Swansea University with my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting; I was also passionate about and dedicated to Swansea Student Media and the University students’ newspaper – Waterfront. I blog for Student Minds because I have experienced mental health issues as a student and now as a graduate, as well as other health issues, and I support friends who also have mental health difficulties. I am a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences – both in helping me to explore and to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help others. For more information or support see: LGBTQ+ Student Minds Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 13:44 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: LGBTQ, Use Your Voice

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The Long Road to University

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Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Long Road to University

Beth writes about her journey to university, A-level results day, and the importance of prioritising personal wellbeing over ‘conventional’ expectations and standards.
– Beth Matthews
I didn’t have the conventional linear journey to university.
My mental health declined during the first year of my A-levels (2015) due to the stress of struggling with my studies. It was therefore decided that, in the circumstances, it would be best for both my mental health and learning to drop A Levels for the rest of that year and start again the following September (2016).
I restarted and ended up taking A Levels in Sociology, English Language and History, with grades predicted at AAB. I applied for university through UCAS; 3 drafts of personal statements and endless cups of tea later, I settled on Politics and put down my first choice and insurance choice. My first choice required ABB and my insurance wanted BBB.
Then along came results day 2018. My alarm woke me up at 7am. The way my college worked was we could go and collect our results at 9am if need be, but they would also be emailed to us at 6am. I didn’t look at my results until after I knew which university I was going to. Instead, my Mum looked. 7:30am rolled around and UCAS track had now updated. I glanced at the screen anxiously. “Congratulations! Your place at Brunel University London (my insurance choice) to study Politics is confirmed.”
My heart sank. I finally opened my email to see my results. I got BCD. At the time, I felt heartbroken. I felt in denial at what had happened. How did I get BCD after being predicted AAB? In my disappointment, it didn’t even register that it was amazing I had got into Brunel considering I technically didn’t meet their entry requirements. Instead I was so focused on my first choice that I immediately rang them up to try and see whether I could negotiate a place. When I couldn’t get through, it eventually sunk in that there was nothing I could do. I had to consider my options. I did even contemplate ringing other universities because I still felt that I couldn’t accept going to my insurance, as this would be too disappointing.
However, those feelings of disappointment soon faded away. I got into university, for heaven’s sake! That’s still an amazing achievement. I suddenly thought going to Brunel was going to be the right thing for me. But there was still one hurdle.
The combined stress of A Levels and results day meant I simply wasn’t ready for university, and so I contacted Brunel to ask them to defer my entry which they did with no hesitation. I took a gap year to mentally prepare myself for university and spend time with my family before the next chapter. In that time, I’ve changed my degree to Politics and Sociology and I now blog regularly. My journey to university has taught me that it can be helpful to take time out for your mental wellbeing and go at your own pace; try not to compare yourself to the ‘conventional standards’ or expectations and instead remember to do what is right for you and celebrate your own achievements.
From my experience then, here are three pieces of advice for those waiting for A-level results day.
1) Consider all options. Are you prepared if you don’t meet your first choice offer? Have you thought about other universities and courses?
2) Don’t be afraid to ask. Ring up universities to explore the options. Get help from your college or school. I didn’t need to, but they made me aware that they could provide support if I needed it.
3) Have your family around. My Mum made me see sense that day, and feel proud of my achievements.
It may have taken 4 years to get to university since I started my A Levels but that doesn’t matter; I’m here now. I made it.
You can find more advice on managing exam stress here, and information on starting university here.
I’m Beth and I’m just about to start my first year at Brunel University London studying Politics and Sociology. I am a lifestyle blogger and I also like to blog about Mental Health, my journey with my Bullet Journal and my travels. I am also a musical theatre enthusiast and I’m hoping to become involved with my university’s societies and campaign for mental health whilst I’m there!
Posted by Student Minds Blogging Editorial Team at 18:59 Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Exams & Results, Looking after yourself, Stress

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