Which University to protect my mental health? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I'm at the point of applying for university and I'm really excited to go and study and move out next year. However, I've struggled from a lot of severe mental health issues particularly in the last few years, and only recently, after a lot of medication and therapy, have I been able to pick myself up enough to motivate myself to actually properly study and think about university and the future.
I'm scared that when I go to uni I'll break down again, without having the support and familiarity of my home, parents, boyfriend etc..
I want to do Mechanical Engineering and I'm looking at applying to Oxford, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. But I get the idea that some of those might be more detrimental to my mental health than others.
I suppose what I'm asking is firstly, how other people with pre-existing mental health issues have coped since starting university, and also which of these unis people have found to have the best atmospheres and support systems in place for helping with this kind of thing.
Thanks : )
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm at the point of applying for university and I'm really excited to go and study and move out next year. However, I've struggled from a lot of severe mental health issues particularly in the last few years, and only recently, after a lot of medication and therapy, have I been able to pick myself up enough to motivate myself to actually properly study and think about university and the future.
I'm scared that when I go to uni I'll break down again, without having the support and familiarity of my home, parents, boyfriend etc..
I want to do Mechanical Engineering and I'm looking at applying to Oxford, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. But I get the idea that some of those might be more detrimental to my mental health than others.
I suppose what I'm asking is firstly, how other people with pre-existing mental health issues have coped since starting university, and also which of these unis people have found to have the best atmospheres and support systems in place for helping with this kind of thing.
Thanks : )
I would say don't do Oxford. You can still get an amazing degree from other institutions and have less pressure. I was gonna apply to Oxford a couple of years ago. Glad I didn't because don't think it would've done me any favours. I would much rather go somewhere which lets me have fun too. I haven't heard great things about Bristol either, but I think they are working on how they support people. Not sure about any of the others, they are probably ok
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tbofig
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If you’re concerned about your mental health (actually as I was last year) I would say to not go for Oxford. I only applied to see if I could get in, and then had to turn my offer down as a result of this worry (Which was very difficult to do). Those other unis as still very respected and won’t hold your future back at all!

(Ps, for reference I’m going to the University of York this year!)
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by tbofig)
If you’re concerned about your mental health (actually as I was last year) I would say to not go for Oxford. I only applied to see if I could get in, and then had to turn my offer down as a result of this worry (Which was very difficult to do). Those other unis as still very respected and won’t hold your future back at all!

(Ps, for reference I’m going to the University of York this year!)
What course are you doing?

I am in a similar position with applying for a very taxing course to kind of trial to see if I could get in. Got in. Makes it hard to feel like you can turn it down, even though you know it is the right thing for your mental health. So well done being able to do that.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I would say don't do Oxford. You can still get an amazing degree from other institutions and have less pressure. I was gonna apply to Oxford a couple of years ago. Glad I didn't because don't think it would've done me any favours. I would much rather go somewhere which lets me have fun too. I haven't heard great things about Bristol either, but I think they are working on how they support people. Not sure about any of the others, they are probably ok
Thanks, to be honest I had heard similar things too. Obviously Oxford is very high pressured so I can't imagine that would help, but also until recently I'd thought Bristol seemed like a safe option, but now I hear it has the highest student suicide rates in the UK or something, so that's not exactly encouraging. I think you're definitely on the right lines wanting to go somewhere you can have fun
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm at the point of applying for university and I'm really excited to go and study and move out next year. However, I've struggled from a lot of severe mental health issues particularly in the last few years, and only recently, after a lot of medication and therapy, have I been able to pick myself up enough to motivate myself to actually properly study and think about university and the future.
I'm scared that when I go to uni I'll break down again, without having the support and familiarity of my home, parents, boyfriend etc..
I want to do Mechanical Engineering and I'm looking at applying to Oxford, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. But I get the idea that some of those might be more detrimental to my mental health than others.
I suppose what I'm asking is firstly, how other people with pre-existing mental health issues have coped since starting university, and also which of these unis people have found to have the best atmospheres and support systems in place for helping with this kind of thing.
Thanks : )
Bristol is notorious lmao. and definitely rule out Oxford. maybe one of the smaller, scenic and community-oriented unis will the best for you.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by tbofig)
If you’re concerned about your mental health (actually as I was last year) I would say to not go for Oxford. I only applied to see if I could get in, and then had to turn my offer down as a result of this worry (Which was very difficult to do). Those other unis as still very respected and won’t hold your future back at all!

(Ps, for reference I’m going to the University of York this year!)
Wow it must have felt pretty great to get to turn down that offer haha. University of York seems great, good luck!
Something else I'm a bit worried about is if the night/party life drags on my mental health. I know that you don't have to be involved in the night life and drinking and stuff, but the thing is I love all that. I go to lots of parties and gigs and stuff and it's only recently that it's occurred to me that all the drinking probably isn't helping with my mental health, and I'm sure that in uni all that will do the opposite of get better. Are you looking forward to the night life at York?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by A Rolling Stone)
Bristol is notorious lmao. and definitely rule out Oxford. maybe one of the smaller, scenic and community-oriented unis will the best for you.
Oh is Bristol really that bad? Do you know anything about Nottingham and Sheffield? Nottingham would probably be my first choice but it seems to me that Sheffield could be better for my mental health.
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ihatePE
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bristol has high suicide rates not because of bad mental health services, I think it's pretty standard based on the amount of good and bad confessions on the uni fb page. you got to visit the city in which the uni is in, have a feel for it in person to know whether the character of the city suits you. Bristol for me was edgy and pretty with lots of cafes and people living here are big on dressing however you want, for me that's what I wanted and I made the right decision so far 1 yr into uni. if I had stayed in Cardiff, id have my best friend but the city was lacking for me and im ok with being in a different city by myself.


I cannot however do campus unis like bath or quiet towns like oxbridge or Swansea. I also have a short journey home to family when I need to. Bristol is a small city however, and I have friends from Manchester who say its lacking in comparison, and not to mention there's a lot of private educated students here who I admit is hard to get along with due to lack of common backgrounds even if they are nice people. plus engineering takes all your social life away. speaking from Bristol perspective, I was in lectures 27~ hrs a week and that was only civil engineering, mechanicals and aerospace spend a little bit more. so if im going to be honest with you, you're going to find it hard with time management at times already with the course, so to be really helpful to yourself, spend actual time in the city before making a decision.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by ihatePE)
bristol has high suicide rates not because of bad mental health services, I think it's pretty standard based on the amount of good and bad confessions on the uni fb page. you got to visit the city in which the uni is in, have a feel for it in person to know whether the character of the city suits you. Bristol for me was edgy and pretty with lots of cafes and people living here are big on dressing however you want, for me that's what I wanted and I made the right decision so far 1 yr into uni. if I had stayed in Cardiff, id have my best friend but the city was lacking for me and im ok with being in a different city by myself.


I cannot however do campus unis like bath or quiet towns like oxbridge or Swansea. I also have a short journey home to family when I need to. Bristol is a small city however, and I have friends from Manchester who say its lacking in comparison, and not to mention there's a lot of private educated students here who I admit is hard to get along with due to lack of common backgrounds even if they are nice people. plus engineering takes all your social life away. speaking from Bristol perspective, I was in lectures 27~ hrs a week and that was only civil engineering, mechanicals and aerospace spend a little bit more. so if im going to be honest with you, you're going to find it hard with time management at times already with the course, so to be really helpful to yourself, spend actual time in the city before making a decision.
there is something about Bristol though. I was shocked at how many middle-class people i know at Bristol dabbled in drugs there. virtually all the posh people i know who went to Bristol turned hippie there
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Noodlzzz
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The_Lonely_Goatherd - Oxford and mental health?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Thanks for the tag

(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm at the point of applying for university and I'm really excited to go and study and move out next year. However, I've struggled from a lot of severe mental health issues particularly in the last few years, and only recently, after a lot of medication and therapy, have I been able to pick myself up enough to motivate myself to actually properly study and think about university and the future.
I'm scared that when I go to uni I'll break down again, without having the support and familiarity of my home, parents, boyfriend etc..
I want to do Mechanical Engineering and I'm looking at applying to Oxford, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. But I get the idea that some of those might be more detrimental to my mental health than others.
I suppose what I'm asking is firstly, how other people with pre-existing mental health issues have coped since starting university, and also which of these unis people have found to have the best atmospheres and support systems in place for helping with this kind of thing.
Thanks : )
:wavey:

Personally, based on my own experience of Oxford and that of some friends too, I would heavily caution you about accepting an Oxford offer (if you decide to apply and you were to be made one). Oxford is an extremely fast-paced and intense environment, which is not always helpful or conducive for those with severe mental health issues. It could derail you and that would be a shame, since you seem to have come a long way with your mental health

That said, it is not for me to dictate whether you should apply or not, or indeed accept an offer or not. I would strongly suggest that, as someone with pre-existing severe mental health issues, you find out as much as you can (ideally before or whilst applying) about what reasonable adjustments Oxford could offer you. I mean this in terms of general support, but also reasonable adjustments and concessions for exams. Weigh what Oxford offers up against other unis and see which support provisions would suit your needs and goals best.

Finally, it is far better to go to a non-Oxbridge uni and get good support and a strong degree classification, than to spend three (or in your case, four?) years struggling and end up with a 2.2. The latter is what ended up happening to me :nopity:
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tbofig
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Wow it must have felt pretty great to get to turn down that offer haha. University of York seems great, good luck!
Something else I'm a bit worried about is if the night/party life drags on my mental health. I know that you don't have to be involved in the night life and drinking and stuff, but the thing is I love all that. I go to lots of parties and gigs and stuff and it's only recently that it's occurred to me that all the drinking probably isn't helping with my mental health, and I'm sure that in uni all that will do the opposite of get better. Are you looking forward to the night life at York?
Yeah I’d say I am. From what I’ve seen, some people will always get smashed on drugs/alcohol, but i plan on keeping my dignity at least. I have friends who went to uni, didn’t drink and still had a good time so it isn’t a necessity!
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tbofig
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(Original post by Anonymous)
What course are you doing?

I am in a similar position with applying for a very taxing course to kind of trial to see if I could get in. Got in. Makes it hard to feel like you can turn it down, even though you know it is the right thing for your mental health. So well done being able to do that.
I’m doing Biochemistry. It’s not the most competitive (about 10:1) but it’s still one of the best courses in the country. What course are you doing? And feel free to ask any questions about it.
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OxFossil
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You mention a few things that you are worried about. Would another way of looking at it help - making a list of the things you need to keep you well? The standard advice on low mood (as you may know) is to have regular *physical activity * social contacts with people you trust * contact with nature * self-chosen goals * mindfulness *doing good things for others.(You will have your own list of things, of course)

Personally, I'd find it disastrous to be in the vcentre of a big city because it would be too difficult to get the contact with the natural world that keeps me sane. Other people might freak out at the prospect of being so far from home that they couldnt pop back if they were needing a weekend of being looked after by their Mum. Another person might need to be next to a gym or a swimming pool to get the exercise they find lifts them of a low mood. Hope that's not too patronisingly obvious.
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Dexter321
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Are home and boyfriend near a university? Also, have you been to any Open Day events? You need to look at only those Uni's (if any) that you can see yourself feeling at home, or at least, see yourself going to.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Thanks for the tag


:wavey:

Personally, based on my own experience of Oxford and that of some friends too, I would heavily caution you about accepting an Oxford offer (if you decide to apply and you were to be made one). Oxford is an extremely fast-paced and intense environment, which is not always helpful or conducive for those with severe mental health issues. It could derail you and that would be a shame, since you seem to have come a long way with your mental health

That said, it is not for me to dictate whether you should apply or not, or indeed accept an offer or not. I would strongly suggest that, as someone with pre-existing severe mental health issues, you find out as much as you can (ideally before or whilst applying) about what reasonable adjustments Oxford could offer you. I mean this in terms of general support, but also reasonable adjustments and concessions for exams. Weigh what Oxford offers up against other unis and see which support provisions would suit your needs and goals best.

Finally, it is far better to go to a non-Oxbridge uni and get good support and a strong degree classification, than to spend three (or in your case, four?) years struggling and end up with a 2.2. The latter is what ended up happening to me :nopity:
Thanks, it's definitely helpful to hear a point of view from someone who has actually had the Oxford experience. Some of my cousins who went to Oxford always talk about it as if it will be easy, which I've found hard to believe, but I guess they haven't known the extent of my difficulties.
And yeah I would say I have come a long way, thank you! It definitely feels really good to actually be able to think about my future and genuinely feel some excitement towards my studies. Losing that by backtracking on my mental health would be a huge shame, especially as university is probably when you need the most academic motivation. You're right that it probably wouldn't be worth it if there was a high chance I was putting my health at risk.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by OxFossil)
You mention a few things that you are worried about. Would another way of looking at it help - making a list of the things you need to keep you well? The standard advice on low mood (as you may know) is to have regular *physical activity * social contacts with people you trust * contact with nature * self-chosen goals * mindfulness *doing good things for others.(You will have your own list of things, of course)

Personally, I'd find it disastrous to be in the vcentre of a big city because it would be too difficult to get the contact with the natural world that keeps me sane. Other people might freak out at the prospect of being so far from home that they couldnt pop back if they were needing a weekend of being looked after by their Mum. Another person might need to be next to a gym or a swimming pool to get the exercise they find lifts them of a low mood. Hope that's not too patronisingly obvious.
Thanks, it's always good to be reminded of the importance of those things. I guess it's easy to prioritise academia way too much in these things. It definitely really helps me to excercise, spend time in nature and with my family, so I know to try and include those things. Tricky thing is, I live in London and I don't really like any of the London unis, so looks like I'm going to most likely end up somewhere at least a fair drive away. I'm used to running on the streets, so that shouldn't be a problem for me, and lots of the unis I'm looking at have good gym facilities. Also an advantage of Sheffield is that although it's in the city, it's also right next to the Peak District so plenty of opportunity to get back to nature.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thanks, it's definitely helpful to hear a point of view from someone who has actually had the Oxford experience. Some of my cousins who went to Oxford always talk about it as if it will be easy, which I've found hard to believe, but I guess they haven't known the extent of my difficulties.
And yeah I would say I have come a long way, thank you! It definitely feels really good to actually be able to think about my future and genuinely feel some excitement towards my studies. Losing that by backtracking on my mental health would be a huge shame, especially as university is probably when you need the most academic motivation. You're right that it probably wouldn't be worth it if there was a high chance I was putting my health at risk.
No problem at all. I do like to encourage people who are intelligent enough to apply to Oxford, because it can be a wonderful place and most people enjoy it. However, I no longer feel comfortable advising those with mental health issues (particularly serious, long-standing ones) to just go for it
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MidgetFever
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Sheffield may be a good option in terms of mental health, I suffer from GAD and struggle with the social side of university quite a lot (ironically I'm also studying law).

So far I've found them to be very supportive, as well as having therapy centres and whatnot they're quite good with mental health awareness. There's a big mental health awareness society, where you can meet others in the same boat as you, as well as lots of 'mindfulness' events around the uni. I've been to yoga sessions, dog walking sessions, trips around the scenic parts of Sheffield.

My tutors have all been very accomodating with my illness and a lot of the students are understanding and helpful too. Not to mention Sheffield is a pretty good choice for engineering anyway.

Edit - They also offer free gym access during exam season to tackle exam stress.
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