Deciding to pursue a university degree is never an easy choice. When an eighteen-year-old kid has to decide what their future career will be and then pay thousands of pounds to make that career a reality, it is normal for high amounts of stress to rise up.
Even so, it sometimes seems that stress isn’t the hardest thing that students face while studying. It’s the loneliness.
During my last undergraduate semester in the U.S., I decided I wanted to pursue a master’s degree abroad. After a harrowing application and visa process, I have arrived in Scotland as a proud student of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations program.
While I was excited to come here, I was also really nervous. Apart from a week in Guatemala, I’ve never traveled abroad before. All of my close family members have been state-bound their entire lives. I’m not following a family tradition. None of my former classmates decided to pursue their master’s degree. I am all on my own.
Upon arriving here, I discovered I am the youngest person in my program. That is not a big deal, of course, but it is a little intimidating. Everyone I have met is so different than me. In the U.S., I felt pretty normal. In Scotland, I feel weird.
I love to go to bed early and sleep in late. I’d rather eat a peanut butter sandwich than cook anything of my own. I’m not a huge fan of tea or coffee, and I don’t drink alcohol. I enjoy quiet nights of studying and watching Netflix more than I enjoy going out.
I’ve always thought of myself as quite brave, but here…well. I feel uncertain.
Luckily for me, our uni has a new club this year, right in time for my arrival. I had the pleasure of meeting the President of the SU Mental Wellbeing Society and getting introduced to the purpose behind the weekly meetings they hold in Cottrell room 2B87. I have since attended several of those meetings, and I have gained so much support from the new friends and colleagues I have met.
Sitting with two random strangers and building Lego robots is the strangest thing I have ever done. It was also the most fulfilling. The SU Mental Wellbeing Society’s meetings, beyond offering stress-relieving activities and hangouts, has offered me a support system I was afraid I would not find after leaving behind America.
This Monday—October 10–the society will have a stall located in the atrium to celebrate World Mental Health Day. There will be a #helloyellow photo booth with fun props for students to use while taking a selfie to support mental health. The #helloyellow campaign is sponsored and created by Young Minds, a UK charity for mental health.
Come to the atrium on Monday, say hello, and take a picture with us! We’ll be there from 10 to 3. There will be a Lego station and other stress-reducing activities throughout the day. Don’t forget to wear your yellow skirts, shirts, shoes, or even lipstick to show your support and join in the #helloyellow fun.