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How to cope with student life

Explains how you can look after your mental health as a student, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.

What happens when I finish my course?

Preparing for graduation and moving on after studying can be both exciting and daunting. You may be thinking about your future career or about the support you will want after completing your course. It's a good idea to think about the steps you can take to help you manage the move out of studying and look after your mental health.

This page covers:

Save the Graduate also has a helpful list of things to consider as you prepare to leave university.

Preparing for life after your course

It is completely normal to have no idea what you want to do after your course finishes. This can feel stressful, or affect how you feel about yourself, but it's important to remember that many people take months or even years to work out their next steps.

How do I decide what to do next?

  • If you are studying a course that could lead onto a specific career, relevant societies will provide information about career options in your field.
  • Make use of your university or college careers service. This is a great place to help you start thinking about what you might like to do when you finish studying.
  • The National Careers Service has advice and information on planning a career.

Remember: lots of graduates describe the process of finding a career as trial and error. Most students don't have a road map planned out – you don't need one!

Maintaining your support network

When you graduate, it is likely that the support networks you have may no longer be as easily available. If you are moving away from the city where you studied, it might be worth thinking about the support that is available in the new place you will be living.

  • Stay in touch with coursemates – everyone finds this transition tricky, and hearing from an old friend is reassuring.
  • Try online support – you can access this wherever you move to. See our pages on online mental health support for more information.
  • Speak your local Mind to find out more about the support in your new area.

Arranging your healthcare

If you are moving away from where you have been studying and are currently receiving support from your GP or an NHS service, you will need to plan how the move might affect the support you receive.

  • Visit your current GP and think about the process of transferring your care to a new GP.
  • Find out where you can register with a new GP.
  • If you're in touch with your community mental health team (CMHT) or crisis team, make sure you let them know that you're moving and find out how you can access the support you want in your new home.

Transitioning into working life

If you're starting work or returning to a job after your course, it's important to think about how you'll manage your mental health in this new environment.

Work, just like studying can take different forms; part-time, full-time, freelance, there are many options to find something that works for you.

Workplace support for students and new graduates

Find ways to help manage your mental health and wellbeing, and get support:

  • Check out Mental Health at Work. Get information, resources, tools and training to promote good mental health in the workplace. Visit the Mental Health at Work website.
  • Create a Wellness Action Plan. Wellness Actions Plans can help you support your own mental health at work. They can help you identify what keeps you well, and what impacts your mental health. See our guide to Wellness Action Plans.
  • Find out if you're protected by the Equality Act. Some people with mental health problems have a legal right to ask their employer for reasonable adjustments. See our legal information on the Equality Act 2010 and disability discrimination.

See our pages on how to be mentally healthy at work for more information.


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This information was published in September 2018.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

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