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Looking after your physical and mental health at University

Going to University is an extremely exciting time. The opportunity to meet new people, live somewhere new, and immerse yourself in a subject you are passionate about makes for a truly brilliant experience.

Anyone who is about to begin at University has doubtless heard many people talk about how great this chapter of your life is, and it truly can be. From the much-anticipated ‘Freshers' Week’ to trying new activities and spending time with new friends, this is a period of change which can so often result in lots of fun, laughter, and incredible memories.

At the same time, moving to University is a big change. From moving to a new town to moving to a new country, so many students find themselves in a completely new environment. Furthermore, gaining a new degree of independence at the same time as getting to grips with a new workload and social environment can seem like a lot to cope with.

One easy way to make sure the beginning of your time at University is as great as you want it to be is to take care of your physical health. Before you begin at University, there are two highly recommended vaccines that all new students should get. They are Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and Meningoccal ACWY. These are available free of charge from your GP (in the UK), so it is important to get an appointment as soon as you can.

Furthermore, it can be easy once transitioning to University to really embrace the independence you have by abandoning everything you’ve ever been taught about eating well! As dull as it sounds, remembering your nutrition will definitely assist you through the initial few weeks at Uni, and may even prevent you from catching the ‘Freshers' Flu!’

The transition to University can also take a toll on your mental health. Often, you will know very few people there (although this will change very quickly!) and you might be very far away from your family and close friends. You can always talk to your registered GP about your mental health. You should also remember to register with a GP in Oxford, so you have a doctor to go to during term time.

As an alternative to this, many Universities offer brilliant welfare support, which is often faster, and less intimidating, to access. For instance, at my college, Magdalen, the welfare team organise so many events throughout the term, something which is mirrored across the University. There are welfare dog walks, frequent ‘welfare tea’ events, which are opportunities to have some free snacks and drinks whilst chatting to trained student welfare representatives, and welfare reps around college who will happily chat to you if you have any problems. They are volunteers, and are there to help you, as long as you are willing to reach out.

The most important thing to remember is that you get out what you put in. Looking after yourself when you move to University will set you up to be in the best position possible to meet new friends, engage with social and extra-curricular life at your University, and excel in your degree choice!

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