My personal recap of 2020
In 2020, our society became more separate than ever before in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The coronavirus pandemic forced us all to be ‘alone’ in some way, whether we liked it or not. Many were separated physically in being hundreds of miles away from friends and relatives, whilst many found themselves living, working or studying alone for the first time ever. In my experience, the year 2020 brought many firsts - completing my final year exams in a tent in my garden (the only place I could find peace and quiet to work), graduating without a ceremony, then starting a brand new job from home. In many ways, I’d never felt further apart from my friends and family. But, in many others, I’d never felt closer to them.
This wasn’t an instant realisation. Initially, it was confusing, sad and isolating. Whilst this feeling was completely normal, I missed my friends, family, going out, dancing (my favourite activity) and all the other things that I took for granted when there wasn’t a worldwide pandemic going on. It took many months of video calls (I swear I can hear the ringtone in my sleep), a few ‘how are you doing?’ messages from people that perhaps I wouldn’t have spoken to so often if it weren’t for the pandemic and, most importantly, the collective need and want to make things better and get through this together. I found myself alone, but throughout the pandemic I have never felt lonely. While 2020 hasn’t exactly been a year that I’d call my best friend, I’ve been able to realise and understand the support around me - something that I think is an invaluable lesson.
Blue Monday 2021
As we approach Blue Monday, branded the ‘most depressing day of the year’ in another national lockdown, feelings of loneliness and isolation are likely to feel much more tangible. It’s really important that you know what support is out there for you and engaging with that support as much as you feel able.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
It is understandable that your mental health and wellbeing may have taken a toll in what has been an incredibly difficult 12 months. We have had to adapt to ever changing situations, lockdowns, Government guidance and a change to our way of learning. With this pressure and uncertainty it is ok to feel as though you are struggling. You are not alone. What is important is tht you make yourself aware of the signs of depression and anxiety and seek support when you need it. Often talking to someone about how you are feeling can feel like a weight lifted, and this is what Student Advice are here for. For information on the signs of depression and anxiety, tips on managing your mental health and how to access support visit our Mental Health webpage.
Get support from us
At the Students’ Union, the team in Student Advice can support you and signpost you to organisations that may be able to help, as well as directing you to the Student Support and Wellbeing team within the University. Student Advice is open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Support doesn’t necessarily mean you have to speak to a friend or relative about how you’re feeling if you don’t feel up to it. Some feel that they’d rather speak to someone they don’t know about what’s troubling them. If you’d rather speak to somebody independent and objective of your situation, give us a call in Student Advice or send us an email.
We’re open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday, via telephone, email or live chat. We’re here to listen to your concerns and help you to get the support you need. We’ve also created a Loneliness, Isolation & Homesickness page which is specifically aimed at combatting loneliness, isolation and homesickness.
Anything you say will be kept confidential and won’t be passed on to your School or anybody else, unless we think you or someone else is at risk of harm.
If you’re concerned about a friend or fellow student, you can contact the University’s Student Intervention Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, in an emergency where you are concerned about yourself or someone else’s welfare imminently, always dial 999.
Other places to access support
As Wales goes back into lockdown and the future is yet again uncertain, it’s important that you know what’s out there for you - while you might be physically experiencing yet more time alone, you’re never left alone by those who are there to support you. There is always someone at the end of the phone - be it a friend, a relative, a University or Students’ Union staff member in Student Advice or Student Support and Wellbeing, or someone from another organisation
Here are some services that could support you:
- SHOUT: text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 and a volunteer will respond to talk to you 24/7 about whatever is on your mind.
- Samaritans 116 123 – available 24/7
- Victim Support Supportline 0808 168 9111
Remember, whilst we are all still separated physically, you’re not alone if you’re feeling lonely. If you need us, get in touch. We’re here to support you.
Student Advice and Wellbeing Assistant
Student Advice: 02920 781410 | email@example.com | Live-Chat cardiffstudents.com/helpandadvice 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.