Five Top Tips to Live Well at Uni
By Caitlin Cousins
Going to university is honestly one of the weirdest times of your life. I had the added stress of studying in two places and so definitely have experience with dealing with the madness.
My first year hit me hard. When I look back to photos I see how little I was caring for myself by not eating well or exercising, but also mentally as the lack of routine really messed with me.
Thankfully I was surrounded by great friends and found myself in a wonderful community of Christians. It was during this time that I realised that I wanted and needed a deeper faith in God. This step of faith combined with practical health steps helped me look after myself far better and going into second year, I was in a much healthier place. In my second year, these friends helped me decide that taking a gap year would be a great thing for me. I used it to work for one of the Christian groups on my campus, and honestly, this was when I grew up. Working sixty hours a week meant that I treasured the routine of bedtime and by this point, I had lost any FOMO (fear of missing out) that used to be so prevalent in my first two years.
All of these things made it a thousand times easier when I started my final year of uni. In knowing tools to help my wellbeing and to support my faith, I again rooted myself in community and made a real effort to take care of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The combination of these things helped me to have a fantastic year, and I will always treasure it as one of the best ever.
Here are some of my five top tips for students:
1. Take care of yourself
By having regular meals, exercise and spending time with people, you will 100% be in a better mental and physical headspace.
Side note one: eat plenty of eggs, they are full of protein and healthy fats and are super easy to cook in many different ways!
Side note two: the gym can be really intimidating at the start but after a couple of goes you’ll find your rhythm and hopefully start to enjoy it. Don’t give up!
2. Find a community
Surround yourself with people who want to see you thrive. It might feel exciting when people are heading out for drinks in freshers week but very few of those people will stick around later for any kind of encouragement or quality time. Meeting the Agapé UK Student Team was such a stepping stone in meeting new people, being encouraged to find a church and it gave me confidence in my ability to live in the city alone, yet always having a friend to call. They are still some of my closest friends and I am so thankful for them.
3. Give yourself a chance
A new season in life can be really stressful but is also a beautiful opportunity to enjoy life more. Celebrate the little victories, like understanding the bus/train systems, finding a new coffee shop/bar that you love and feel comfortable in. Don’t expect to be perfect at everything in the first couple of weeks but be encouraged that there are literally thousands of students around you feeling the same thing.
I managed a few day trips with friends and on my own around the North East of England and honestly it was lovely. Take photos, laugh with your friends, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Your soul and your mind will be refreshed.
5. Ask for help
Most of us have heard the phrase, “It’s okay to not be okay,” and as cheesy as it may be, it’s so true. Make yourself aware of somebody that you can talk to about life, whether that be an Agapé UK staff member, a close friend, a trusted lecturer, counsellor, minister or anyone else. It’s so important that you know that you are loved and valued regardless of aspects of life that you feel get in the way of that.