Health and Wellbeing

Struggling to settle in

People often expect that starting university (or coming back after the summer break) will be a brilliant experience, and something that all students will love all the time. However, almost all students experience feelings of homesickness at one time or another – these feelings are completely natural and to be expected, but usually don’t last long.

Some students are better at coping with such feelings, some never admit to them, but almost all of you will have them at some point. There is a positive side to this – relationships with family members can improve and mature as you gain independence and confidence. However, despite what our social media feeds might say, university life isn’t always amazing - almost all students will find it difficult to cope at some point.

Taking positive action

It’s really important to know that you’re not alone and that there are thing you can do to help:

  • Try some new things– it might be tempting to spend a lot of time alone in your room, but getting out and meeting new people will help you to feel more settled. Why not take a look at the Student’ Union’s clubs and societies including the Buddy Scheme, or have a look for volunteering opportunities? It’s never too late to join up!
  • Get out and explore Brighton and Hove – getting to know your new home will help you to feel more settled, so find out about some things that interest you in the local area and go check them out
  • Keep in touch – keeping in touch with friends and family from home is important, but try to get the balance right so you spend more time here getting to know new people.
  • Look after yourself – looking after your physical health by sleeping enough, eating well, and doing some exercise will give you a good starting point for everything else
  • Be mindful of alcohol - try not to manage those difficult feelings by relying too much on alcohol as a social icebreaker

Stress

There’s no doubt about it, university level study is demanding and sometimes it can feel really stressful.

We often think of stress as a very negative thing that’s always really bad for us, but feeling stress is a natural part of life, especially during periods like exam times, and the right amount of stress can actually motivate you to focus on your work and reach your goals. At other times stress can feel overwhelming and prevent you from being able to concentrate or cause anxiety.

There are a few things to you do to help try to avoid those negative consequences of stress:

  • Look after yourself on a day to day basis (things like getting enough sleep, developing your study skills and managing your time well)
  • Make time to do things you know help you to relax, like watching a film or going for a run or cooking with house mates.
  • Seek help if you need to - if you are concerned about your wellbeing or that of a friend then it’s important to seek support. Although certain levels of stress can be normal, it’s important to seek support for prolonged or very extreme stress, especially if it’s having a negative effect on your life

Getting Support

We all need support sometimes, no matter how well we try to look after ourselves. If something is making you unhappy, whether it’s your choice of course, where you live or your feelings of isolation, anxiety or depression then it’s important to get some help in making a change.

The first place you go to should be the Student Life Centre, where a Student Life Advisor can advise you on a wide range of issues or refer you on for further support. Remember, you are not alone so don’t suffer in silence - come and see us!

You can also find more information about student wellbeing issues on the student wellbeing web pages and more information about Sussex services on the support for students’ page.