Starting university, for anyone, can be a big step. The complete change of environment, moving away from home, meeting new people and starting a new university course can be a lot to adjust to. When I first came to university 6 years ago I found that while there were so many new great things to discover and take part in, I also got a bit lost. I was so preoccupied with meeting new people and making a good impression, joining new clubs, going out to all the student nights and worrying if I would do well enough on my first essay – I forgot to take the time to reflect and think about how I was really doing.
While services such as nightline and counselling are great and absolutely necessary, I think a concept like mindapples would have helped me adjust and take better care of myself – providing a way to set a routine in a new environment. For example, some of my mindapples are “go for a walk”, “have a really nice breakfast” and “call my parents”. If I would have done those things back then on a regular basis, as I do now, I think I would have felt a bit more settled and in control. It would have also given me an opportunity to take the time to check in with myself on a daily basis.
Simple things can help you maintain yourself, whatever they are, and I think having Mindapples for students could really help them adjust better. Not only would it give them a reason to have a think about their wellbeing, but also a positive way to talk about it with their friends making it a completely normal conversation. Not a conversation you only have when you’re not doing too great.
Back in February this year, seven universities had mindapples at their University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day. The success of this and the great responses we received have inspired us to invite more universities to take part in promoting mental wellbeing at the beginning of this academic year. Students are likely to feel more pressure this year than ever before. Faced with increased tuition fees, an unstable job market and lack of guaranteed employment in addition to the usual stresses of moving away from home – we want to empower students and equip them with tools which can help them manage their wellbeing.
If you would like to have mindapples at your university please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your university has a wellbeing programme please tell us about it, we love hearing about what universities are doing for their students.
We also have brand new trees and toolkits, which are available at our shop www.mindapples.org/shop. Mindapples are offering discounts for universities and schools; please e-mail us to get a discount code.
By Ruta Marcinkus