Today is Uni Mental Health Day – a day devoted to encouraging universities to make mental health a university-wide priority!
To celebrate, we’ve asked our contributors the question:
“What’s one piece of advice that you wish you could give to yourself in your late teens/early 20s?”
Whether you’re a current student or a soon to be student, we hope this advice helps you alongside your journey through uni.
Advice for Students from Our LJP Contributors
Alyson Marsh, Author & Illustrator
“Not everybody’s opinion matters, be who you are and love yourself for everything that you are <3”
Alyson Marsh is an author and illustrator, as well as an art teacher. Her book, A Better Place is designed to help children and adults deal with loss and offer hope in difficult times.
- Check out Alyson’s previous blog: 5 Tips for Helping Children Manage Their Grief: An Interview with Alyson Marsh.
Mari Stracke, Writer, Influencer, and Mental Health Advocate
“I wish I could have told my younger self not to worry about the future. I spent so much time worrying about what could happen, envisioning vivid worst case scenarios and living in an ongoing state of fear that the decisions I took would lead to a disastrous future. Back then, I didn’t know I was suffering from anxiety.
None of the things I worried about 10-15 years ago came true. Absolutely zero.
And for the bad things that did happen, it turned out that I was either well equipped to deal with them or I had a support system around me – friends, family or a good therapist – who helped me through whatever life threw at me.
Now, in my thirties, I often remember those many hours spent worrying and it serves me as a powerful reminder when my worries try to take over. Time has taught me that my mind plays tricks on me. However accurate my mind’s gloomy predictions for the future feel to me – it is not the truth. We cannot foresee the future. We can take active steps and plan for a positive outcome but ultimately we do not know what’s gonna happen. In fact, it would be pretty dull if we did.
My advice? Try to acknowledge the uncertainty as part of being alive and trust that the universe has got your back.”
Mari Stracke is a London-based writer and mental health advocate from Germany. She suffers from PTSD and anxiety, and often shines a light on what life with these mental struggles feels like. She also does stand-up comedy where she explores these issues in a humorous way and speaks at events about the importance of mental health.
- Check out Mari’s previous blog: How to Self-Care When Battling Anxiety: Mari’s Story.
- Check out Mari’s previous podcast interview: Navigating depression and anxiety with writer, influencer, and mental health advocate Mari Stracke
Kaleigh Cohen, Personal Trainer and Spin Instructor
“Time doesn’t slow down and fear is only a feeling so dream BIG and GO FOR IT!”
Kaleigh Cohen is a personal trainer and Spin instructor with a passion for helping people get stronger, stay motivated, and have fun doing it.
- Check out Kaleigh’s previous podcast interview: Confidence and purpose: building mental resilience through exercise with Kaleigh Cohen.
Samantha Babooram, Author and Motivational Speaker
“I was anorexic from the ages of 13-22 and the utter hatred I had for my body and for myself, completely engulfed my life, stripped me of my confidence and held me back from all the things I dreamed of.
So the advice I’d give my younger self is learn to accept, appreciate, and celebrate every part of yourself. You can choose what you let define you, so don’t let it be someone else’s idea of beauty, talent, or success. Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth, you ARE enough, so learn to love you. The freedom, peace, joy, and power that comes from that will truly change your life.”
Samantha Babooram is an author and motivational speaker on a mission to help children and young people everywhere realise their true value and worth.
- Check out Samantha’s previous interview: Born to Be Awesome: An Interview with Writer, Illustrator, and Mental Health Advocate Samantha Babooram
Stuart Walkinshaw, Sports Coach and Mentor
“Don’t overestimate yourself now, but don’t underestimate who you could be.”
Stuart Walkinshaw is a sports coach, mentor, and co-founder of Primary Sports Coaching Limited.
- Check out Stuart’s previous podcast interview: Staying Active and Setting Boundaries with Stuart Walkinshaw from Primary Sports Coaching Limited.
“I think my advice would be that sometimes your brain is lying to you and nobody hates you!!
There were times especially when I was younger that I would believe everything that my brain was telling me things like, ‘Everybody hates you’, ‘You’re worthless, ‘You’ll never be good enough’.
It’s taken me a long time years even to recognise that my brain can still at times be mean to me!
Now I am able to recognise that actually, I am worth something. But more importantly, I can recognise when my brain is being mean acknowledge those mean thoughts and know what my true worth is.”
Rebekah Cook is a mental health support worker on a children and adolescent mental health ward of a hospital in Manchester.
- Check out Rebekah’s previous podcast interview: Using Your Story for Good! Insight from Mental Health Support Worker, Rebekah Cook
- Check out Rebekah’s previous blog: From psych ward to psychology degree…
Further Mental Health Resources for Uni Students
If you found this article helpful, check out these additional resources on managing mental health while in university.
- The Lily-Jo Project’s self-help resource
- Emma’s advice How to Survive Uni: 5 Positive Mental Health Habits for Students
- Student Space from Student Minds
- Mental health support from Young Minds
About the Author: Shelby Hale
Shelby has been with The Lily-Jo Project since October of 2018, serving as the platform’s PR and Communications Manager. Having lived in four different countries throughout her young adulthood, Shelby is passionate about the positive impact new experiences can have on mental health.
When she’s not working with The Lily-Jo Project, she supports other projects through her creative agency, Hale Marketing and Communications. If you’d like to stay updated with Shelby’s story, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter.