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Welcome back to Lancaster! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and a happy New Year. Whatever you got up to, I hope you got plenty of rest because Lent term is when things really start to get busy.
For first years, Lent is when you’ll have to start looking at homes for next year – if you haven’t been told to do so already – and thinking about who you want to commit another year of your life to. Second years will be bracing themselves for another term of hard work, rather than being able to party all the time, and realising that third year is creeping up fast. For third years, like me, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you need to get done this term – dissertations, essay deadlines, graduate job applications, what you plan to do next, etc.
Unfortunately, with the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves at university, a large proportion of students find themselves struggling: be it because their course isn’t turning out the way they expected, they’re homesick, they’re lonely; and a few of us may find ourselves stressed to the point where you feel like you can’t cope, and it gets difficult to want to get out of bed everyday; for reasons other than a massive hangover.
This is normal. This is a completely normal reaction, to feel overwhelmed or have moments where you cry for no reason other than you need to. Whilst it might seem scary and you might feel completely alone, there are so many support systems in place for you at the University that you shouldn’t be afraid to make the most of.
The best thing to do if you find yourselves in an overwhelming situation is to talk to somebody; your friends, your flatmates if you can, your family back home, even your tutors if the source of your worry is your degree. There will always be somebody who can help talk you through your concerns or feelings to try and solve the problem.
If you find yourself awake in the dead of the night – a time when most people find themselves unable to sleep because they’re worried about something – and you need to talk, you could call Nightline. Nightline is a service provided across many UK universities and we have one here at Lancaster, where fellow students volunteer their time to provide emotional support to anybody that needs it throughout the night by either phone or email.
Stephen Fry says it best, quoted on the Lancaster Nightline website: “Student life is not always the party people might think it is. I can’t think of a service that does so much for so little, but even that little needs to come from…somewhere.”
In the coming weeks, I hope that SCAN will be involved in an upcoming campaign about Mental Heath Awareness, as it is something the majority of students will be affected by and something that we should all feel free to talk about and seek help for if we need it, without fear of judgement.
In this issue of SCAN, we’ve got a whole plethora of fantastic content. We’ll also be at Refreshers’ Fair on Tuesday, Week 2 (or tomorrow) and of course, you’re more than welcome to come chat to us about getting involved and what we do. Stop by our table and say hello if you’ve got a moment – it’s never too late to get involved, especially with the upcoming Full Time Officer elections, which take place later this term, and 50th Roses in May!
Best of luck to you in the first couple of weeks back and to keep you motivated, here’s a cute picture of my dog Doug.