Showing posts with label university. Show all posts
Showing posts with label university. Show all posts
University, the unknown and what to do when you can't cope.

University, the unknown and what to do when you can't cope.



It's now been over a year since I finished university which feels like such a long time ago in some aspects and like it was yesterday in others, yesterday, I was invited along to speak on BBC Radio 5 live about mental health awareness whilst at university from the perspective as someone who has made it through university (by some miracle) whilst having a mental illness in tow. The experience of the radio was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed having that verbal platform, I also decided it would be great to share my experiences on my blog as there is so much more which needs to be spoken about and as you've probably guessed from my blog and my huge section on mental health, it's something I am passionate about. I have previously touched on my experiences on What Uni and decided it would be great to expand on this on my blog too. Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments below your experiences around mental health and university. 

The pressures of going to university: 
University can be a difficult experience for anyone who goes, whether you're the most outgoing person around or the quietest. The picture painted for most of us around university is one of the best times of your life, no parents, a ton of alcohol and parties, making new friends and for most of us love interests too. Oh and that *small thing* of work, lectures and learning new things. I went to university on a whim, which is definitely not something I'd recommend, during college, I felt like I was talked into going to university, it was never something that massively interested me, as I didn't know the career path I wanted to go down. I remember when everyone was at college, applying to UCAS and choosing the universities they wanted to go to, I felt like I wasn't ready to go or if I was going to go at all. Although we are all considered adults at 18, I don't feel like many of us are in the right place to make the decision of what our future could hold and for £27,000+, it is a pretty important decision to make. I was told to apply by my tutors and then if I didn't go then all I'd lose is the application fee for that university. So I did. I applied to the local university as at this point the idea of moving away and living with strangers was not something I could deal with. 

For anyone who isn't sure about the route to take, after college/sixth form it can be extremely difficult to decide as it one of the first times in your life you have to make that choice yourself, but it is important to remember that if you decide you no longer want to be a part of the course which you've joined you can drop out within 1st year and then go on to start a new course and get full funding for the three years. Which is something I wish I had done as I knew from the early days the course is not something I wanted to carry on doing. 


Change, so much change:
I remember the first few weeks of my lectures were absolutely awful as I struggle to take the information in, let alone write it down as I was convinced my stomach might rumble (like really loud) or that I might not be able to get a seat despite there always being way more seats than people. It feels somewhat like going back to school as you're in a whole new place, on your own and you don't know how to feel. Then comes the workload and for me that felt like it was never-ending, you'd get work for each of your modules and were told you needed to put like 40 hours study in at home a week which in reality isn't really possible and to top it all off, making new friends involves having somewhat of a social life. Of course, with that much change, the majority of us are going to feel floored by that, but it is important to remember that other people will feel the same as you and you can talk to people about it. I often found myself taking to the internet mainly Twitter to talk about my anxiety around university and I found a lot of other people related to how I felt.

I'm struggling: 
Whether it is you or a friend who is struggling, there are platforms of support out there for them. I know a lot of university students don't reach out to their parents for fear of feeling like a failure. Others struggle to reach out to their friends due to what they're seeing on social media and for me, that was a huge part of the FOMO I was feeling, as all of my other friends were meeting new friends, partying and I struggled to keep my head above water. Most universities offer counselling on site to help those struggling and in the last few years, the support keeps getting bigger and better. There shouldn't be any stigma in needing to reach out for further support, no matter who you reach out to. I ended up needing to be signed off university for a while, which meant I needed a sick note from my doctor which is when my university became aware of my struggles and told me all about what they offer on site. I was assigned a note taker for those times in lectures when I wasn't able to cope with coming in or when I was struggling to take focus. I remember feeling really embarrsed when the note taker would hand me my notes as from the outside I look and act 'fine'. Before my sick note, I wasn't really aware of my university offering these services, so it is important to speak to your lecturers to find out what is available for you.

This is not your fault:
It's easier than said done to believe in situations of crisis that you are not to blame. But the same as any illness physical or mental you cannot help it. I remember thinking how pathetic I am, surrounded by a room of people who are doing the exact same thing as me, but yet again I am the one struggling to come to lectures, not being able to make friends and finding it hard to comprehend the 40 hours of work I am due to do after this. But now I am starting to understand these situations aren't my fault and can't be helped. Whatever course you are studying, in whatever town or city or even country you are allowed to feel overwhelmed and shouldn't feel guilty for doing so.

P.s. If you don't feel like you can talk to anyone around you in real life, remember there are people you can call to talk through your feelings such as Samaritans who are free to call  and you can reach them on 116 123
 and they're open 365 days a year 24/7 and are happy to talk through just about anything you're struggling with, as someone who has used them previously, it is great to be able to talk about your feelings with someone who doesn't know you and can offer an ear. Mind also offers a lot of amazing services, including resources if you're in crisis. Finally, if you or someone around you is feeling distressed it is worth ringing 111, who can offer you the best advice and services that may be needed. 

I am thinking of creating a series of posts around mental illness/health and university and I would love to know if this is something you'd enjoy, let me know in the comments and I hope you found this post somewhat useful. 

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Olivia Jade
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I hate clubbing & that's okay | Lifestyle

I hate clubbing & that's okay | Lifestyle


I have just started my third year at university, and I can't believe how fast the last few years have gone, and that this is my final year at uni before I have to start working full time. Although I will be sad about leaving university I will be glad for so many other reasons too. I am a shy person, who suffers with anxiety and depression and the idea of being in a club freaks me out, big time. The idea of being around lots of people, who are pushing past, talking loud and getting far too close, just doesn't make me feel okay.


 To be honest the idea of any night out, makes me feel uneasy, I would much rather spend the money on a quiet night in, with films and pizza or even on a nice meal than spend £20-30 on a night which I probably won't remember much of in the morning and end up being sick (fun fun) now don't get me wrong I have been to clubs a fair few times, but from the minute I enter the club, I can't wait to leave again. In fact I spend the entire night thinking about bed, how much my feet hurt and how much I want some cheesy chips when I leave the club. I probably sound like the saddest person on the planet but I am not even bothered anymore. I much prefer to stay in, having a night in with friends or even on my own speaking to my friends online.

To me I always feel out of place too, the club is filled with pretty girls, in short tight dresses, with perfect hair and huge heels and I am there with a black down to the knee dress with a 2 inch pair of heels and smudged makeup half way through the night, but I have come to terms with the fact that is just me and that is just how I'll always be. Don't even get me started on the people in the clubs, you have drunk guys trying to grind on you, which to me makes me want to cry and scream at the same time, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS! I feel uncomfortable watching all of my friends make out with random people they've just met whilst you stand there, thinking of your boyfriend who is at home (probably with his PC, and food). Not everything about clubbing is bad, I do like dancing I think it's amazing that at clubs, it's okay to dance how you like and noone really pays attention and even if they do, half of the time you don't even care. I hate clubbing, and that's okay and this is my post of why. 
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Olivia Thristan
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My Week In Pictures #1 | Lifestyle

My Week In Pictures #1 | Lifestyle


I have to admit it is not often that I can do one of these posts as I don't tend to do much in the week apart from go to university as I tend to have periods of time where I feel unable to go out. But as I've had a pretty busy week, and taken a fair few pretty pictures I thought I would share with you what I have been up to this week. 

Where have I been? 
This week I have attended an awesome event at Next in Birmingham with more information in a new post to follow, which is where the cute pic of food in the top right hand corner came from as well as the bra in the bottom line of pics. I found out some super interesting info about bras and how important it is to get fitted regularly. After this me and Luke went out for some food at Bella Italia where we had these adorable little warm bread battons and garlic dip as well as a huge ice cream sundae which we both loved. On Friday my lush order also came filled with amazing Christmas goodies which I am super excited to dig into, as well as this I have a giveaway for you lovelies to win some amazing lush goodies which you can enter here. 

What have I been doing? 

As well as this I have been to university where I have learnt some pretty interesting stuff and I have to create my own app (well design one anyways) and create a promo video for it, I also had an awesome business lecture learning about the different ways to market online which is totally down my street. I also have ordered a Dominoes Pizza which was lush and some of their amazing cookies as well as eating a ton of chocolate for certain reasons haha and also trying to increase how much water I drink as well as re-dying my dip dyed hair a bright pink yay. 

I hope you've had a fab week and I would love to know what you've been up to! 
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Olivia Thristan
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Living with Mental Health as a university student! Lets Talk

Living with Mental Health as a university student! Lets Talk


Mental health is something I will always talk openly about on Dungarees & Donuts as it's not something I am afraid to talk about, if you are looking to find my mental health story check it out here. Today's post is about what it is like dealing with mental health issues at university.



Some of you may know that I never actually stayed in halls as part of my first year at university due to the stress of being around and living with strangers, the crazy amount of thoughts that went through my head talked me out of even considering thinking about halls. I'll never know on what I missed out on not going to live at university halls. I am now just finishing my second year and am moving in with my friends and boyfriend for third year, which I am over the moon about. Although there are still parts of it which scare me, the whole what if I annoy everyone with my weird moods, or what if they start to hate me despite being my friends these are the thoughts that constantly go through my head.


One part of my anxiety and depression which I have noticed does effect my university social life is the way I feel uneasy about visiting my friends at their university and going to clubs. The idea of going to club makes me want to be sick, people all around me, it's warm and so many people are touching you by accident. The fear is unreal. I have been to clubs before but always freaking out and having to leave early, or getting so drunk and feeling so unwell that once again I have to leave early, which really does suck. I'd to be able to experience the 'fun' in clubs but I am not sure it is something I will be okay with in this lifetime. There is one good thing though, I am finally starting to be able to go out to pubs and have a social drink, I can sit in a pub for hours and actually start to enjoy it, I am not sure if it's the fact I don't have to wear 6 inch heels or the fact that I won't randomly get touched that makes going to a pub more okay in my mind.

My friends are so great with my anxiety and depression and when I struggle to go out at all they are great about it and try their best to help me the ways they can. My boyfriend is amazing with it all, if we miss a night out because I can't face it he never once holds it against me, he says he doesn't fancy it anyways, which really helps with my guilt issues. I am not saying this will be the experience for everyone who goes to university, in fact for some people it does them the world of good and helps them break out of their shell! I just wish I was able to take that leap.

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Olivia Thristan
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Freshers Kit With Three | Students

Freshers Kit With Three | Students


Recently the lovely people at Three, sent me a freshers kit to help me survive during my time at Freshers, when I opened the package I was super happy with the contents. The first being a Nokia Lumia 835- with the reasoning being that everyone needs a spare phone when they go out, which I think is totally true whether you're on a night out or at a festival an extra phone can always come in handy. If you're using your phone a lot whilst you're out, your battery may become flat (holla all Iphone users) and if you end up in a dangerous situation, end up losing your friends or in need of a taxi you always have your spare phone. Next in the kit was a small charger, which is perfect for long days if you are on a night out, you can often find that your phone days half way through the night especially if you take a lot of photos (like me) then having a charger to carry around with you is perfect, especially when it's tiny and perfect to carry in your clutch bag or even your pocket.

 Next in the kit was a sim filled with £10 credit, which is perfect for my emergency phone, and ready and loaded for emergency calls or texts when it's needed. If you are interested in checking out Threes sim only deals check them out here. The final item in the kit was an awesome selfie stick and not just any selfie stick, one like the purple guy (Jackson) on the advert if you haven't seen it, feel free to check it out here it's the one that says MAKE IT RIGHT and is super catchy, and everytime me and my housemates have the hand, we cant help but say "Alright" like on the advert, so yeah a Selfie stick with a huge fluffy purple hand attached.


So my verdict on the kit on a night out: 
With my super unpredictable Iphone battery dying out within a few hours of the night, having a spare phone with my friends numbers and a local taxi service proved to serve me well when getting split up from my friends, its key to stay in contact with your friends when you're on a night out as you never know what can happen to you. Although I remembered my super cute charger I completely forgot the wire with it, so it was pretty much useless but I have used it since at uni and it keeps my phone topped up throughout the day, which keeps me happy. Unfortunately Jacksons hand stayed at home, but was very fun for those pre night out selfies and is also now our house mascot and he will often pop up around my house and he is also amazing for reaching things off of the top shelf.



I want to thank Three for this awesome Freshers Kit, and for teaching me the importance of #MakeItRight. 


*In Collaboration with Three
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Olivia Thristan
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Clearing Queries | Lifestyle

Clearing Queries | Lifestyle


It's a stressful time this week for those expecting A level grades as they are what is between you and getting into your dream university, for me the worst part is definitely building up to the big day and contemplating how you did in exams which you took months ago but they can cause a huge impact. Although I was lucky and didn't go through clearing I know of a few people who did, if you are unaware of what clearing is, it's about finding a similar course or the same course but a different university to your chosen one enabling to you still be able to study and although it's disappointing to have to do this its an great way to be able to study what you want to study. Clearing itself can be a stressful thing to have to go through and involve you spending a lot of time on the phone trying to find a place on a course as many courses can be filled up quickly and you need to find one who will accept the points/grades you do have. I thought I would share with you a few tips to dealing with clearing and how to stay calm during the process.



Tip One:
Write a list of things you wanted from the university itself beforehand, e.g. location, the things that the course offers and then when taking another offer from university it gives you the chance to find out what that university offers so you aren't too disappointed when you arrive at your university.

Tip Two:
Stay postive, it's super important to remember you've still done well enough to get into university, and although it may not have been your first or second choice, there are still options. Which means there are still paths you can take to achieve your dreams.

Tip Three:
See what is out there, talk to people like universities, colleges and careers advisers as they may be able to help you find a new course or help you by finding another alternative to what you want to do, remember university isn't the only option.

For those of you who are coming to the end of your courses, I think this video will be super helpful for ways to better yourself and learn about life outside of university.




*This post is in collaboration with The University Of Greenwich*
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Olivia Thristan
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Top tips for finding student housing!

Top tips for finding student housing!



As it's getting closer to the point of the start of a new university year, I thought it would be awesome to share some tips on looking for your perfect student property, as some of you who have been previous university students may know, sometimes finding a property which is actually okay to live in can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but don't give up! Today I have a guest post sharing the top tips when looking for a student place to live! 



Top tips for choosing the perfect student property
Whether you’re a first-time fresher or a third year veteran, sooner or later you’ll have to tackle the difficult subject of picking the perfect student flat. Unfortunately, this can be a tough task due to the over saturation of rubbish studios and dingy house-shares that litter student listings.
The ideal pad depends on your means and your social situation. Do you like your space? Avoid house-shares and communal living. Do you love socialising? Dive into halls and big shared accommodation. Follow the tips below when you’re looking around to ensure you live somewhere you love.

Make the choice – Agency or private
You can either opt for a letting agency or a private landlord. Agencies carry letting fees and other costs, but ensure your rent is protected and your property is maintained. Private landlords won’t charge an admin fee, but you’ll have less security.

Ensure you've got the funds
It can be tempting to dive on the nicest property you view, but you need to work out exactly how much you've got in your budget. Otherwise you’ll end up living on noodles and tap-water in your shiny new flat.
Calculate the deposit, first month’s rent and any admin fees to get a picture of the initial cost. If sharing, you all need to be comfortable with the amounts you’re paying and everyone should agree to avoid any arguments/fallout. Ensure you all have each other’s details and home addresses in case one of you drops out – that way you can contact their parents to pay rent.


Pick your location
Most student properties are located in different areas across a city. Do your research and pick an area that suits you (or your groups) interests. If you’re a party animal you’ll want a flat near the nightlife. If you’re a homebody, a quiet suburb with good transport links. Don’t opt for a property that makes travelling to campus a hassle or you’ll end up resenting it.

Pre-move in checks: comb over the flat for any problems
When you’re off to view your flat, don’t let excitement muddy your evaluation. You need to have a keen eye and look out for the following – don’t be afraid to mention these or you’ll end up being charged on the deposit.

·       Mould/Rising Damp: Two of the biggest problems in old properties, mould and damp can really damage a property as well as affect your health. Look for wet-looking wallpaper, dark blotches on walls and mouldy surfaces hidden behind cupboards etc.

·       Pests/insects: look out for droppings and any dead insects as these could be a sign of infestation hidden by the landlord.

·       Check that all of the electrics and taps are working.

·       Double check all furniture and fittings. If anything is broken or in bad condition, take photos and note it down. Alert the landlord and demand it’s fixed or replaced. You don’t want them to mess you around.

·       As a final step, check all of the security on the property. Check the locks and any other measures and consider whether you’d feel safe living there – especially important if you’re living alone.

Grill the landlord
Before you sign anything, ask all of the questions on your mind. Don’t worry if they sound rude or you’re unsure about anything – ask! A housing contact is a considerable investment and you need to be 100% comfortable before you move in.

Moving in

There are few experiences you’ll treasure as much as living away for university. It can be one of the most exciting, exhilarating, emotional experiences of your life. Take the right precautions before you move in and you’ll reap the rewards. All that’s left to consider if who gets the biggest bedroom and for the love of god who keeps leaving the dirty dishes in the sink!? 

*This is a guest post, featuring sponsored content
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Olivia Thristan
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