Imperial is challenging. Every Imperial student can tell you that. But some people REALLY struggle with their degrees. I am one of those people. Imperial was not what I expected and I have had a love-hate relationship with this degree. Before I leave Imperial, I want to share my up and down journey during the course of this degree because it really hasn’t been perfect, but I have almost made it and I know you will too.
I really loved maths. There is no other way to describe it. Between my four A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry, I spent over 70% of my time doing maths or calculations of some kind.
Celebrating Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Kindness comes in many shapes and forms: saying thank you to a key worker, giving someone a slice of your freshly baked banana bread, or even just encouraging your friends. But as life goes on, and we hold the door open again and again or help an elderly neighbour with running errands, we can often forget to be kind to one particular person: ourselves.
With exams, a pandemic and the daily stresses of life, we can get so caught up in being the best person for everyone else. We try being supportive to all of our friends, family and those around us but sometimes we forget about what’s best for us.
We have been in a state of nationwide lock-down for a few weeks now. This has understandably taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. Some may have managed to cope more than others. However, professional and academic commitments still need to be met even during a pandemic. The pressure from keeping up with that alongside the uncertainty of the current situation may lead to heightened anxiety among students. This can manifest in many ways some of which are erratic sleep, loss of appetite, irritability or panic attacks.
With the pressures from the crisis and everything being run remotely, the access to professional mental health support has unfortunately diminished.
After a week of lying around the house, “getting used to” isolation, as I like to call it, and feeling a little bit sorry for myself, I decided it was finally time to start revising for those all important final exams. Except, there was one big problem, I had absolutely no motivation to do much work. I would wake up and just not know where to start, it felt overwhelming that there was so much work to do.
I wanna take a moment to say that it is totally okay to not feel completely normal right now.
Insights on time management, making friends and self-care
Many Imperial students such as your departmental Mums and Dads (a support scheme of older students) would tell you that Imperial has a “work hard, play hard” culture – drink on weekends, study hardcore on weekdays. This is not necessarily true as you are the one in control of your uni experience. It’s also impractical if you cannot stand working for long hours. Moreover, not drinking seems like a social disadvantage since the most notable weekly event at uni bar FiveSixEight is when all sports societies head down after practice to chill. There’s so much going on, academics, socialising…- the people are one of the best things about Imperial – so how do you make the most of your time here?
I’d love to say I’ve spent all of my easter break revising super efficiently for my exams, but sadly this is not the case. I’ve spent way too much time ‘relaxing’ and was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Paris. The second year of my course, medicine, is rumoured to be the hardest year of them all. Not necessarily because the content is particularly tricky, but because of the timing. Second year so far has been a whirlwind, and now we’ve got three summative exams in the space of five days in early May.
This blog post was never going to be me telling you how to revise for your exams in medical school- I’m simply not qualified to give advice on studying, (especially advice I can’t even stick to) as it truly is very subjective and depends on your own learning style and what works best for you.
It is ironic, if nothing else, when people expect calm down to somehow solve, nay, cure someone’s anxiety, but won’t accept that climate change is real. How naïve it is to believe that a person with depression could simply “stop being sad” and go on about with their day? You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that easy & simple to cure, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place. I remember reading in Wonder, by R.J.
As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.
“Imposter syndrome is a recognised phenomenon, first identified by psychologists in 1978, and describes a feeling that your achievements are undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Those with imposter syndrome tend to feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes.”(1)
Getting into Imperial was a massive deal for me. I had not planned to apply at all- but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life looking back with what ifs.
I didn’t think I was smart enough. I’ve always had a fluctuating impression of myself; ranging from borderline conceited to possessing a pretty low self esteem.
Thursday was Time to Talk Day 2018, a chance for us to speak openly about mental health, something that doesn’t happen as much as it should. There is a certain stigma associated with mental health, however when 1/4 people are affected by mental illness each year, it really is time to stamp out the sigma and talk about mental health. Following on from Paula’s post about what to do if you are worried about a friend’s mental health, I thought I would share some first hands tips of how to stay mentally healthy in a university environment and what to do if you feel that you are suffering in any way.