Minding your mental heath at the University of Limerick

By Roisin O’Donoghue

University is wonderful, but it can also be rather terrifying. You’re thrown into a world of study, experiments and debating all of which can totally overwhelm you even if you enjoy it. University is also a place where you learn not just about the world but also about who you are as a person. You discover new interests, new friends, what type of person you want to be and what your place in the world really is. Some of these revelations may not be what you expected or even what you like.

My own experience of this was rough. In school I had no particular identity and nothing stood out about me, not that standing out is that important. However, I felt that I didn’t have a personality, people skills or a life in general. Coming to UL changed all that. Starting my course I found what I was passionate about, what kind of person I was and I began to see that there is a place in the world for me. However, my self-image still had not improved much and I harboured a lot of resentment and bitterness from the years before. Meeting new people and learning about how much there was to be achieved in life didn’t excite me but rather paralysed me. Insecurity and confusion about the right way to be infiltrated my brain and I couldn’t see any aspect of myself that was worth acknowledging. I knew I was not behaving rationally but the fog wouldn’t lift.

All hope was not lost though as UL has an amazing attitude towards mental health and caring for the students. I was advised to seek help from the free counselling service which provided me with a safe way of airing my grievances without being told I was overreacting or that my problem wasn’t bad enough to care about. I explained how I was feeling and it helped a lot. Although your mental health is something that can be both strong and fragile and this means that it takes looking after. Even now I still have moments, days and weeks of greyness and because I’ve got used to it it’s almost become a comfort but I can’t stay trapped in it forever.

Coming to university means exposing yourself to the world and this will likely lead you to take on a new perspective of it and yourself. If you are struggling with your mental or emotional health I would strongly urge you to seek help from someone. As I’ve said UL is brilliant in how helpful it can be to its student body so don’t be afraid to get the help you need.

 

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Tips for Staying Healthy in the New Semester

By Ashley Taylor

The second semester of college comes directly after the celebrations and parties of winter holidays, and, with it, comes new year resolutions. The most common of which: get healthy/workout more/lose weight. This goal is complicated, however, with the addition of classes, homework, and the studying required by college. Despite this, it is important to take care of yourself and remain healthy, unless you want to risk getting sick and the possibility of falling behind. So, without further ado, my tips for remaining healthy during school-time:

Tip #1: Sleep

Seriously, sleep is one of the most important factors in your day, because it gives you the energy to continue through your day, as well as helps to regulate hormone levels. Most doctors recommend 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but it really depends on the quality of sleep you get, as well as how much you need simply to function during the day. Remember, lack of sleep contributes to concentration problems, mood swings, and overall tiredness.

Tip #2: Eating!

College life is stereotyped by takeout containers, drinking, and pizza. However, these activities can take both a hit on the wallet and on your health. Instead of ordering out, consider making meals ahead of time or cooking your own meals at home. This can be much healthier, as well as cheaper, meaning you have more money to go out and have fun (or spend on school supplies)!

Tip #3: Exercise

Possibly the most difficult thing to find time for on a busy school day is exercise. However, exercising doesn’t just mean going to the gym for an hour or two. Instead, consider going for a walk around campus or the city, asking friends to play a quick game of rugby, or simply go to the gym with your weekly reading and sit on a stationary bike and tear through.

Tip #4: Mental Health

Please, take advantage of any services offered by your community regarding mental health. Here at UL, there is a campus health service which offers counseling for students. However, if you feel uncomfortable with contacting a community service, there are several online services available to you.

The most important thing is to do what is best for you, and feel free to add any suggestions below!

UL AmbassadorHello, my name is Ashley Taylor, and I am a first-year student at the University of Limerick, currently studying Politics and International Relations. I’m from Northern California, from a town about forty minutes north of San Francisco.

I applied to the University of Limerick because I have always wanted to study outside of the United States. I’m thrilled to be in Ireland, although I was definitely not prepared for the weather. However, after a while, the rain begins to grow on you, and it’s nice to watch rainstorms while I study.