People like to think of university as all fun and games, but when it comes down to reality, it’s not. Yes, we might get money given to us for three (or four) years, but it’s usually hardly enough to cover our rent. Yes, we might be able to sleep in until noon sometimes, but that’s because we were working on essays until 1AM the night before.
Students end up facing several new things when moving to univeristy – you become completely indepedent when just a few months ago you had zero to worry about.
Problem number 1 – Money
In my first year of university I received a scholarship off the university for my A-Level grades that went straight into my pocket which massively helped me. Second year, I don’t receive a scholarship and I feel like I may need to sell a limb to get by this year.
An earlier study showed that financial stress was the most significant factor in triggering depression at university. The current financial stresses on students are significantly greater than they were at the time of the study! – studentsagainstdepression.org
Student loans are CRAP. Students who’s parents do not earn a lot get higher loans than student who’s parents earn more – the government do not take into account that just because a student’s parents aren’t badly off, does not mean they will fund their way through university. Students who get a bigger loan, are likely to have a bigger overdraft to dip into too. If you don’t end up in debt with your bank, you’ll end up in debt with your parents!
Savethestudent.org conducted a survey that found that 78% of students that took part think student finance is unfair and that 80% worry about financially making ends meet, which effects their diet and grades. Students who struggle to get a job during university will turn to some extreme measures to earn some quick cash. One student on savethestudent.org said “I ate an entire flower for £20” … maybe stick to the normal jobs available guys.
Need help on budgeting? Click here for some advice!
Problem number 2 – Moving away from home
Whether you’re an hour away, or a country away, the move is hard. One minute you have your mum cooking up a delicious roast dinner, next think you know you’re at uni and realizing you haven’t changed your bed sheets in 5 weeks (oops).
People struggle with different aspects of the move; whether it’s taking responsibility for yourself and having to do adult things like food shopping and washing up, or if it’s because all your close mates are dotted around different parts of the country.
It is well known that any such transition or change, however positive, entails a certain amount of stress. Indeed, for some students – especially international students – these changes can add up to what is known as ‘culture shock’. – studentsagainstdepression.org
Problem number 3 – Balancing everything
If Ethan Hunt thinks he’s done mission impossible, then he obviously didn’t go to university. Trying to balance several different aspects of university is extremely difficult.
From trying to have a social life, but not getting behind on uni work to attending lectures but finding time to go food shopping or hit the gym, to wanting to go explore exciting things of the new city you’re living in to not spending outside of your means. It’s EXHASUSTING!
Problem 4 – Stress
Stress is a very common things in university students; the University of Reading says there has been a 20% year-on-year increase in students wanting help from counsellors. Also, a nationally representative study of 1000 students found that 75% of them had suffered with some form of emotional distress whilst at university.
It’s easy to get stressed at university, whether it’s due to money or your work load, but it’s important to take care of yourself as too much stress can make you unwell and could effect your grades and lifestyle.
Particular stress points occur at the beginnings and ends of academic years, especially at the start and towards the end of the academic year. These times of increased stress can represent a tipping point when coping resources can become overwhelmed – a recent study found that student suicides more commonly occur at these times. – studentsagainstdepression.org
Wanting to understand more about stress? Click here where you can take a test to see how stressed you are, read about symptoms of stress and advice on how to beat it.
OK, so university isn’t all doom and gloom, but it’s important to understand the negative aspects of it too. As stressful as it can be, you’ll make new friends, you’ll create new memories and a large percentage of people I know who went to university describes it as “the best years of their lives”.
Try make life easier for yourself by not doing an essay last minute, socialising a little more if you’re lonely, seeking consounselling if you’re stressed and/or depressed and finding money saving techniques to be able to afford experiencing the city you’re living in.
Enjoy the good times, and seek help if the bad times get too much!