Second year student George talks about his experience of dealing with depression and anxiety during Fresher's Week and shares his survival tips.
How could I leave home and move to a big city when I’d hardly left the small town I lived in for three years? The day I was meant to leave, my dad opened up the car, helped me put my things in, and before I knew it we were on our way.
I had a migraine from the stress of everything halfway there and I was emotionally exhausted, but I managed to make it to Cardiff and before long I was a university student.
"The first few nights were tough… I was on the phone to our university Nightline sobbing my heart out, convinced I’d made the biggest mistake of my life."
The first few nights were tough. My birthday was my third day at university, and at 4am that morning I was on the phone to our university Nightline sobbing my heart out, convinced I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.
But I’m sat here now writing this on the anniversary of my journey to university and I haven’t looked back. I’ve been able to get help with my mental health conditions and they’re all but gone now.
I also feel more and more confident about facing up to my fears. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do, but I still can’t appreciate how far I’ve come, and I don’t think I will for a while yet.
It’s a big step for anyone to leave home. You’ve lived with your family for your whole life, then all of a sudden you’re thrown out into the new world of university and now everything is up to you; you need to shop for yourself, do all your own washing and keep on top of your chores - not to mention aiming for the best in your degree. It’s an awful lot, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
"Nobody goes to university an expert in how best to live away from home - it takes time."
The great thing is that just about every student will feel the same as you.
Nobody goes to university an expert in how best to live away from home. It takes time. You’ve decided to take this step because you hope that the life experiences and the qualifications you gain from there will help set you up for the rest of your life. That’s your goal, but how do you navigate the tricky first few weeks?
I remember my first night vividly, like it was yesterday. My dad dropped me off, and before I knew it I was in a strange flat with strange people, and all my things were in bags on the floor of a strange room.
A year later, I’m still here. I feel totally settled, with a great group of friends. I’m loving my degree and the city I’ve moved to.
If I can do it, the chances are you can too. Here are some things that I learned on my journey:
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