A student’s guide to wellbeing at university

Five tips to stay on top of your mental health

If there is one thing I have learnt during my degree, it’s that university life is a rollercoaster of experiences.

From the stress of finishing high school or leaving home, to the initial excitement of going to your first lecture and meeting new people and the challenges along the way, every moment is a part of our unique journey.  

As someone who has navigated the twists and turns, I want to share some insights for Mental Health Month.  

Taking care of our mental health is essential - an important foundation impacting our day-to-day wellbeing and performance at university. So, let’s dive into some valuable tips and resources to help you navigate your mental health and wellbeing as a uni student. 

1. Build a support network

One of the best decisions I made early on was building a solid support network throughout the University, through connecting with other students and academic advisors. You can also do this by joining clubs and events that interest you. These connections can provide the emotional support, guidance, and friendships that you will treasure throughout your university journey.  

University life can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially in the beginning. Having a support network in place not only helps you navigate academic challenges but also provides a sense of belonging. It's the friendships forged during these moments—whether it's a late-night study session or a shared passion for a particular club—that often become some of the most enduring and cherished relationships in your life. These connections offer not only a helping hand during tough times but also a wealth of shared experiences and memories that enrich your university experience in ways you can't imagine.  

2. Manage your time effectively

I have had my fair share of cramming study and doing assignments last minute, however doing projects and studying in advance whilst balancing your social life, work, and personal time is a skill worth mastering. 

It's a journey towards a more balanced and less stressful academic life. Throughout my degree, I've discovered that success is often not about working harder but working smarter. Effective time management involves setting priorities, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, and staying organised. Tools like calendars and to-do lists have been my trusty companions in this endeavour, helping me keep track of deadlines and commitments. By mastering this skill, you not only reduce the last-minute panic but also create space for personal growth, social connections, and those well-deserved moments of relaxation, making your university experience more enjoyable and fulfilling. 

3. Stay active 

Keeping physically active during your university journey is more than just a way to maintain your physical health; it's a key ingredient for overall well-being.  

Personally, I've always enjoyed an active lifestyle, but university has taught me the importance of balancing mental exertion with physical activity. A favourite routine my friend and I adopted is taking study breaks to go for walks. These short pauses not only refresh our minds but also provide precious moments to connect and enjoy the outdoors and the uniquely natural surroundings on the UOW campus.  

UOW also has a bunch of sport and recreation activities, including a gym, Olympic pool, tennis courts, football and hockey fields, plus a bunch of free activities like morning yoga and table tennis. You can also join a team sport to release some of that study stress through social competitions held on campus.  

4. Seek professional help when needed 

In the hustle and bustle of university life, it's crucial to remember that reaching out for professional support when you're facing difficulties is perfectly okay. If you ever find yourself struggling with the demands of coursework, personal challenges, or the overall transition to university, don't hesitate to seek help.  

At UOW, you have access to an invaluable resource: up to six counselling sessions at no cost. These sessions offer a confidential space where you can discuss your concerns, gain valuable insights, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles.  UOW also has a 24-hour student wellbeing support line for free use to all domestic students.  

It's a testament to the university's commitment to your wellbeing, ensuring you have the support you need when you need it most. Remember, seeking professional help is a courageous step toward prioritising your mental health and ensuring a successful university experience. 

5. Stay connected with your passions

Amongst the whirlwind of trying to get high distinctions, don’t forget to stay connected with your passions and hobbies. These are the things that ignite your soul and bring joy to your heart! Whether it's painting, playing music, or diving into a subject you love, these activities offer a break from the daily grind and give your university experience a sense of purpose and joy. So, make time for what you love because it's a key part of your personal growth and happiness during your university journey. 

Remember, your wellbeing is as important as your academic success. During Mental Health Month and beyond, remember to create a support network, manage your time wisely, stay active, reach out for help when you need it, and stay connected to your passions. You are part of a caring university community that is here to support you every step of the way. Think of these tips as friendly companions, guiding you toward a balanced and fulfilling university experience filled with personal growth and cherished memories. 

Maddie Graham
Bachelor of Psychological Science