The very moment I got my offer from Oxford, I realised my life was about to change. I had been struggling with severe mental health issues of various kinds for more than half my life, so all things I really did know about life were haunted by a darkness which made me lose all hope, and love, and positivity. In the sense that I know I would not have given therapy another chance, I genuinely believe that Oxford has been (and still is!) on its way to saving me. Let me introduce to you my personal team of superheroes - the University Counselling Service.
Oxford University is unique not only academically, but also in respect to the support offered to those who need it whilst at uni. Because everyone is aware of the exceptional high demands on the students, people here really seem to understand the importance of looking after one’s mental health. As part of my application, I indicated my disabilities and was later put in touch with the Disability Advisory Service. After I had accepted my offer and exchanged some very helpful emails with my Disability Advisor, it was time to arrange a beginning-of-term meeting. In this, my case was talked through on a one-on-one basis in order to assess the specific needs I would have whilst at Oxford.
It took less than 12 hours for my student support plan to appear in my mailbox, and there I had it: for my entire time during my studies at Oxford, I would be having regular counselling-like meetings with my personal mental health specialist. Besides this, I would be granted an extra 15 minutes per hour in written examinations, and on top of that, I would also be allowed to tape record all lectures and other taught sessions required for my degree. Oxford suddenly felt more manageable, and the fact that I would be able to continue with some sort of ‘therapy’ gave me a sense of relief which still carries on to today.
Now that we have made it into December and my first term at Oxford has come to an end, I can deep-heartedly say that I have never felt better before. Evidently, this makes me both happy and immensely proud because, at the end of the day, it was my own initiative to change my life around like this and come to Oxford. If I am able to manage this, you are, too. Do not let any doubts or anxious feelings hold you back from achieving brilliant things. Oxford is a place for people like you and me. Oxford has saved my life, and it can do the same for you - if only you believe in yourself.