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“I Talked”…………. Talking is a sign of Strength!!

Here in the Please Talk blog section, we hand over to you; hear from students, who, like many of us, have first hand experience of going through a hard time, reaching out for help and starting their conversation about mental health. If you wish to become a contributor, contact info@pleasetalk.ie

To most, college signals exciting opportunities however, to some the thought of being away from home and moving to a new place where they might not know anyone is daunting especially if you are like me and suffer from anxiety.

I started my degree in DCU in September 2016 a nervous wreck some might say! I knew people around campus but I knew absolutely nobody on my course. I was terrified that my anxiety would start to take over my life again and that all the progress I had made would be undone. Orientation week came about, I was certainly apprehensive of what college was going to be like. To
my surprise, the friendly faces of the staff and students of DCU really had a huge impact on me in those first few crucial days. The university that I had dreamed of attending for so long certainly did not disappoint! It took me a while to get settled into my new life here in DCU but that’s to be expected.

Here are some of my tips for those who may be finding college difficult and struggling to settle in.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t settled in after the first few weeks. College is going to be different to school, give yourself time to settle in.
  • Talk to new people, even if it’s a simple smile and a hello! Getting to know the people in your course will ease your anxiety.
  • I got involved in college life as much as possible, becoming a Class Rep and getting involved in as many societies as possible. Finding people who have common interest with yourself whether that be student politics and getting involved with you Student’s Union or joining the Dance society, find something you’re passionate about and get involved! It’s a great way to meet new people and provides for easy ways to start a conversation.

For me, it was so important that I realised that my anxiety disorder wasn’t my entire personality, it was just a part of me. However, if you find yourself struggling don’t be afraid to speak to your family or friends. They will gladly listen to you for hours on end! Your family, friends or even your Welfare officer on your SU can guide you in the direction of professional help if you feel you need it.

I know myself when my anxiety is acting up, talking really helps take the load off your shoulders. It is such a comfort knowing that the counselling services on campus are there if times get tough or if you have that feeling of being lost in your own mind. I know it’s hard for some of us to talk about our concerns, but utilising the counselling services on campus during those early stages of college life helped me to gain control of my new surroundings.

Don’t feel embarrassed seeking help, the strongest people in this world have been those who have gone through the toughest of times! Best of luck in your new chapter of your life! College provides so many great opportunities, make the most of them. Always remember you are not alone. Someone is always there to talk if you need them.

Ciara