Third Year History and English Literature Student, Ciara shares her experiences of the University’s Counselling Service.
Coming to university is a scary thing – we have all felt it that day when you get dropped off at your halls and have to unpack your things and meet the people you’ll be living with for the next year. I came to Reading absolutely terrified – I felt like everybody else knew exactly what they were doing but honestly they were just as clueless as I was! I hadn’t even cooked anything before university – the fanciest I had ever ventured in the kitchen was making a pot noodle and serving it in a bowl and thinking I was a domestic goddess. I met people at uni who had never washed their own clothes, most had never done a food shop – everybody is on the same page.
But there are SO many people on campus to help you in every way, and that’s what I have used throughout my time at Reading. The people in the Carrington building and elsewhere on campus will help you for a million different reasons. If you sign up for weekly alerts from My Jobs Online you will get notifications about job opportunities and for events and workshops that are held by Counselling and other services. The Careers team provide workshops on topics like improving your CV and how to start a LinkedIn profile, and are based on the first floor of the Carrington Building. RUSU also run housing events if you don’t know who you’re living with next year– you can join the Find A Housemate Group on Facebook to meet others or pick up a leaflet in the RUSU building!
For the more stressful worries and concerns, the counselling service are truly incredible. Having used the service myself and having friends who have used it too for various reasons, I have seen how helpful it can be to voice worries and concerns to a counsellor to get it all off your chest. I went into Carrington in my first year as I was stressed about moving from halls to a student house and various other worries about university, and I didn’t know how to start thinking about moving out of halls when I had only just settled into them! They helped me so much and made me realise the ways I could stop myself from stressing and worrying – and just asking for help is a big step. Asking for help is scary, as once you come to university you may think that you should know all of these things and that people will judge you for not knowing how to wash your clothes or how to manage your money (I even knew a girl who didn’t know how to cook pasta!) and this includes the bigger obstacles that people face at university, but that isn’t the case! Having spent a lot of time with the counselling service I can reassure you that it is a judgement free zone, and that they have seen every problem a student can possibly face and therefore won’t be surprised if you come to them for help.
Don’t be nervous to voice your worries – everybody has them! In fact I’d be shocked if you weren’t nervous at all! Make sure you ask for help, whether that’s from your friends, your STaR mentor or from the counselling service – they will always have a solution and will go above and beyond to help you as the welfare of the students is the main priority for the university.