Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Blogger Collab: University Worries


Today I'm doing my first ever collab post on my blog (YAY). 
Me and my lovely blogger friend Steph are both going to university in September. Whilst we are both excited to start the next part of our life, we also have quite a few worries about starting university.
We decided to share our worries, not only to give advice to each other but to also help others who are starting university this year.

Making friends: For me, this is my biggest worry about starting university. With previously being bullied I’m not as confident with making friends as I used to be. In fact I get really nervous about making new friends as with having a bubbly personality I’m frightened that people won’t like me for who I am and that I’ll just end up annoying them (basically what I was bullied for). Also, with talking to new people for the first time I panic if I can’t keep the conversation going and I end up feeling stupid and awkward. I’m fine once I’ve made friends, I’m really chatty and I’m myself, however until that point the thought of making new friends is daunting.

Steph’s Advice: The long lasting effect bullying can have is often underestimated. Yes, everyone is worried about making friends, but living in fear that people won’t accept you for you is a horrible fear and one that the bullies should not be able to hold over you. Whilst it’s easier said than done, time and experience will help improve your mindset and belief in yourself so that you’ll learn just how lovely you are. If someone doesn’t take the time to get to see that, then stuff ‘em, they aren’t worth it! In a uni environment, there are so many people that you’re bound to find a nice group of friends, worthy of your time and that love you for you. When and where you can, have faith in yourself; a bubbly personality is nothing to be ashamed of (not the best choice of words but the only ones that I could pick that conveyed the right sort of meaning), in fact it’s a lovely trait to have. Embrace your personality and your individuality and own it!

Money: A few weeks ago I received my student loan and I was shocked at how much money I have to last me the year (that was partly due to I expected to get a bit more than I did and my accommodation costs more than my loan for the year- However my parents are going to help with paying for accommodation). I’ve always been a shopaholic and as soon as I receive money I have a tendency to spend it straight away, so this gave me a wake up call. I realise I now need to budget my money and I’ll also need to get a part time job to keep me going. However I’m still anxious that I’ll run out of money.

Steph’s Advice:
A worry that so many uni students face and unfortunately, a lot of people end up in the position where their loan doesn’t even cover their accommodation. If you are able to get help from parents then this can make the process of budgeting a lot easier although getting a part time job is still a very worthwhile, and sometimes essential, feature. My plan for budgeting is to have my student loan paid into one account and then pay myself weekly into my other account so that I control the amount of money I have available to spend each week, and limit the chance of needing to use my overdraft or of running out before the term is up. I’m also giving myself a budget lower than my loan allows so that if I need a bit more occasionally, I have some available, without going into another weeks allowance. By doing it weekly, I’ll be able to budget my food bill, travel expenses and then know what extra I have for socialising and shopping. I highly suggest trying this method and although I haven’t been able to try it myself yet, it seems like the option that is most likely to get me through uni, without a pile of money issues through out and at the end. My big advice in handling money through uni is to avoid using an overdraft at all costs if possible! Yes it may seem like extra, free money and a way of getting you out of money problems but it often causes more problems than it solves for uni and can mean you have a lot of money to pay off in the early years of life after uni.

Becoming independent: Up until moving to university I’ve always been quite dependent on my parents so moving away and learning to become independent scares me slightly. I can do basic chores, I know how to iron clothes and I’ve started to learn how to cook (however I’ve got no idea how to use the washing machine – unless my mum tells me what settings the clothes need to go on). I know that becoming fully independent is going to take some time getting used to and adjusting to.

Steph’s Advice: Finding your independence of course comes with time but it’s something we’re bound to be worried about. For so long, we’ve had people showing us the way and helping us with any and everything, saving us from doing many tasks. This then means when we do move out, we suddenly have a lot to learn and handle. You’re ability to do chores and general looking after yourself will develop and after a few inevitable mistakes, you’ll soon learn how to do all the things that seem overwhelming now. A solution on the cooking front, is to get some recipe ideas of things you love from your parents and write them in a notebook to take with you, maybe practise at home a couple of times if you get chance before you move. Another option is to purchase a student recipe book, I recommend the Nosh student books, I’ve recommended them to so many people and everyone seems almost as impressed as myself (though that’s a tough feat). They do a few options including vegetarian and not only show the recipe, prep time, serving size etc… but also the cost of the meal, weekly meal planners, shopping lists and lots of other things to help you in the kitchen. As for washing, I’m in a similar position but my plan is to go and check it out with my mum the day I move in, and she can explain how I use those particular machines so that I can make a note ready to refer to as and when I need it.

My mental health: I suffer from anxiety and with moving away from home I’m worried it’s going to trigger my anxiety (being in an unfamiliar surrounding without my friends and family can often lead to me having an anxiety attack). I’m also worried about who I’m going to talk at university if my anxiety becomes bad. I know universities now offer support for mental health but it’s finding someone I can trust and who’ll support me is the worry, especially as it takes me a while to build up my trust to talk to someone about my mental health. Also, at university these people will have never met me before and won’t know what I’m like as a person. Whilst I’ve been living at home I’ve had my parents to talk to and when I had bad spells at college I could always go and talk to my trusted teachers about how I’m feeling and they know what I’m like as a person as they’ve known me for a long time. So I’m basically worried about who I can turn to for support if I have bad days with anxiety (which aren’t that common) but I still need a bit of support and reassurance when they do happen.

Steph’s Advice: Moving to a new environment with a bunch of new people can cause feelings of anxiety for anyone, so for those who struggle with it on a regular basis, it’s no wonder they’re concerned about the possibility of it occurring and not feeling as though they have the people around them to help them get through it. This is not the case and whilst it’s easier to hear than actually believe yourself, there are people around that can help you. There are support systems in place, so if you make a visit to someone in the first week, you can explain your situation and familiarise yourself with them, should you feel like you need someone in the future. This way, you don’t have to go through it all during the time that things do get particularly difficult. You will also be able to contact family back home who will do all they can from where they are in order to make it as easy as they can for you. Knowing this, might help put you at ease even if they aren’t beside you. Furthermore, there is always help available online either through helplines, websites or online friends, so you can turn to one of them in a time of need.

I hope this post has reassured anyone who might feel anxious about starting university. I loved doing a collab post with Steph and you should check out Steph's post HERE. You should also check out Steph's blog anyway because she's lovely, a good friend of mine and I always enjoy reading her blog.

What are your worries about starting university?

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