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Life During the Covid 19 pandemic as HE Student

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David’s Personal Reflections on resilience, self-awareness, and growth

First of all for the reader it’s important I state a few truths.

I am a mature student doing a PhD, I have myself worked in mental health care, and, like all human beings, I know I need help and support sometimes.

It’s important to know when to ask for help… and more importantly, do not feel guilty or weak for doing so! We are social beings through evolution: so by not asking for help when you need it, you are defying your own nature. We all need to learn self-care and emotional intelligence; this should be a basic education in our national curriculum, along with critical thinking. Both are needed for a healthy society to function.

I have found that during the covid 19 pandemic I have been putting others needs first instead of my own. I ended up in a very sever state of ill health. My family members were arguing and I tried to keep the peace, in the end it was myself who became ill through severe stress. I have learnt, that I still need to create and maintain boundaries with the people closest to me. In the end, I had to be honest in how people were acting was affecting my health negatively. Through heated arguments… I had to learn to stop these escalating by maintaining my own calm, and asking for reasonable conversations, which was really not easy, but once you’re aware of a problem, you can reflect on it, and when it happens again, act appropriately – reflection here is key! The bad thing might happen two or three times, but as long as you reflect, and know you need to be calm and ask for an adult, reasonable conversation, you will eventually act best in your interests – and if you don’t get this, be the adult and walk away, and say you will discuss this in the future, when the other person has calmed down.

Now we have developed a way of communication, by now being honest about how we feel, even though I had to bring up past, extremely difficult situations. To my surprise, I myself had miss information about the meaning behind someone’s past actions. By hearing this, I was able to forgive and let go of my past anger; this made the anxiety and depression around the situation completely disappear. Things still aren’t perfect… but there is an understanding that communication and honesty will allow us as a household to function more healthily.

Studying during this time has been severely difficult, but now, by dealing with the stresses, I’m getting back to a good balance: try and keep up with stuff, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t, healthy people study better.

I had a great mentor, who listened and advised me through the situation I described… I feel so lucky to have someone on my side, supporting me with great advice and someone I could talk to. Most importantly, don’t keep it in, or to yourself, or you’ll hold in all the stress just like I did and make yourself ill… stress is a silent killer.

David

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Success stories

  • I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to receive specialist mentoring because of the wonderful personalised support that has helped me get through university

    Some days I’ve been feeling down, but after my session I leave feeling infinitely better because it’s an outlet for whatever’s on my mind and my mentor’s warmth and enthusiasm is really uplifting.

    Cansu T, Zoology Student

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  • With the help of my mentor I have done things I didn't think I'd be able to

    like present a poster at a conference, and now, I am a PhD student and the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Oliver B , Phd Student

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  • When I first came to university, I was extremely anxious having never been away from home

    My mentor has been instrumental in helping me deal with various concerns by talking through them and coming up with strategies to help manage them.

    Vincent S , Phd Student, Robotics

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  • I feel more in control

    With time I let myself slowly face the situations that used to paralyze me. I am now back at work and have reconnected with my friends. I started with meeting out in the open to now being able to have a drink in a bar. I feel happy and back in control.

    Mark R , Tewkesbury

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