Having Anxiety and Depression Whilst at University

a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa
a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa
Photo by Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

Anxiety and depression are not uncommon, in fact, one in six people will suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression in any given week. Catalina Roncal, a second-year student at the University of Nottingham, who has certainly lived a life of diverse experiences shared her story.

Born in England, Catalina has moved around the world several times, at one point living in Argentina. Ultimately, she found herself back in her native country once again. She said that her anxiety only got worse since her relocation. “I think ever since I moved to England it got progressively worse,” said Catalina Roncal. 

Currently, in the second year of her studies, Roncal has spent more time learning remotely than she has on campus, much like countless other students across the UK. “It’s been up and down, a bit like a rollercoaster. At the time when things were really bad, I had to go home. But right now I’m living in Nottingham with my housemates.”

Roncal relishes being around her housemates, as she appreciates their understanding of the importance of mental health. However, despite being in what she described as an “Upbeat” social setting, she has still experienced episodes of depression. “At times having a depressive episode in a social setting where everyone is upbeat and all of sudden you get hit by it.”

Starting university is a landmark moment in anyone’s life, as we move from the small world of school to the gigantic social sea that is the uni environment, butterflies are absolutely there to be felt. Roncal was no different to anyone else, also taking into account her anxiety, she revealed how she disliked her first year. “First-year I personally hated it. I went into this hall and it was filled with people who planned to go in together from certain communities, everybody knew each other.”

However, despite her rollercoaster journey, Roncal has endured up to this point, her perseverance and hard work have led her to start her own business. “I’ve got my own online tutoring business which I have students from across England and across the world, it’s been a massive thing that has helped me.” While she has no aspirations to become a teacher, Roncal credits having her business as something which has been rewarding, especially as she has been able to earn money from it. 

The challenges students have faced in the past 12 months have been like no other. With constant uncertainty in the air, they have widely been unable to ensure a future for themselves. But as the challenges persist, their resolve continues to remain as strong as ever. Roncal is a prime example of a student who has shown her determination. 

Another interesting method Roncal has adopted is using a journal. As well as writing her own thoughts and feelings, the journal also allows her to become her biggest motivator every day. “It requires you to write daily quotes, so I will always write a positive/inspirational short quote every morning to start my day and tick things off on the list as I go on, which helps me feel like I’m getting things done.”

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