Starting University | Essential Wellbeing Advice

With the new academic year fast-approaching, we asked mental health advisor Julianna Pusztai for her top wellbeing tips... 


As the new academic year comes closer, we're looking forward to welcoming new students as well as those returning to study at ICMP. 

The last year has obviously created some unique difficulties for students but we've been delighted at how our community has risen to the challenge. 

Here, we catch up with ICMP's Mental Health Advisor Julianna Pusztai to hear about some of the common concerns she's heard over the last months - what she recommends for anyone studying with us looking to prioritize wellbeing. Her tips include the below...

Look to ICMP’s Covid guidelines

Returning to the campus and face-to-face learning is a big step after the last year of lockdowns and all the uncertainty this has created. 

We know this is a concern for students so it’s worth reading the guidelines around how ICMP is making the building Covid-19 secure for peace of mind. 

Give yourself time to ease back into this social environment 

It’s important to not be too hard on yourself and give yourself the time and space to ease back into the social environment of the new term. 

Don’t force yourself to do every social engagement on offer. Look at your schedule and plot a way through it. 

If things get too much - take yourself out of a situation 

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable being surrounded by so many people, then take some time out for five minutes. 

We recommend one of the simple breathing techniques such as the Triangle Breathing technique. Doing this in a calm and quiet space should help. 

There is also the third floor Library and quiet space area for some calming moments when onsite.

Engage with the Wellbeing team 

You don’t have to have a mental health diagnosis to speak with us. That is a common misconception among some students that we are all only reachable if you go through some sort of incident or episode. 

Use the last year as a conversation starter with your peers 

In some ways, your experiences of the last year can be an effective conversation starter. You can ask your peers how they are doing in this new reality. 

It’s a good way of connecting with people and to be heard - but also to be there for someone else who might need to talk about what they’ve been through. 

Feeling homesick? Bring something from home with you

Think about how you can find ways of representing your home in your room or wherever you might be staying. Perhaps a familiar object or photo can recreate some of the atmosphere or memories. 

Also, use technology to reach out to your networks and connect with friends and family.

Prepare some conversation starters 

One of the best ways to overcome any social anxieties during the first few weeks of the year is to ask questions. So prepare some in advance. Keep them in your mind or perhaps somewhere on your phone. 

This can help ease some of the pressures new students may face when they first attend university. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself 

Freshers is full of sessions and events so try and be conscious of how much information you can take in. If you miss something, don’t be worried about reaching out to someone to help. Everyone is there to support you and available to answer questions via email. 

Watch your alcohol consumption

Try and keep an eye on how much partying is going to happen in the name of bonding with other people. Don’t go too hard and try. 

Alcohol doesn’t ease anxiety - it often makes it worse. It’s always good to mix water and alcohol.

Try and establish a routine 

As we’ve said, there can be a lot going on for new students, especially if you are working in a part-time job to support your studies. 

It sounds obvious but establishing a routine can be really helpful, to outline what happens in each part of the day. This gives you a framework on how you manage your time and either write it down or use a calendar to try and follow it. 

Don’t try to keep everything in mind - if you’re working, studying and making music, the less things you have on your mind, the more headspace to be in the moment and engage in conversation and make friends. 

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
September 6, 2021
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