Dumping Fast Fashion: Why Buying Second Hand is the Way Forward

Dumping Fast Fashion: Why Buying Second Hand is the Way Forward

In an age where instant gratification is just so darn achievable, it’s hard to say no to something we want right this minute. Everybody wants cheap clothes, and in an ideal world, they would all be produced ethically. It’s all well and good picking up Primark’s finest bits and bobs without having to deal with a hefty price tag, but can we really guarantee that the places our clothes are coming from are ethically sourced? And it’s not just the low-cost companies that are the problem: with bigger, more expensive brands like Victoria’s Secret and Beyonce’s line Ivy Park being called out for unethical practices, can we trust anyone at all?

It’s easy to shove all that ethical and environmentally friendly business to the back of our minds and pretend that it doesn’t concern us when we’re browsing Topshop’s latest stock, but in reality it does concern us. We are responsible for our planet, and we are responsible for the health and happiness of our fellow human beings, whether they’re people we know personally or not. These are the things that we should be training ourselves to actively think about when we make a purchase, because it has become all too common to sweep it all under the rug. Does it really matter that the person who sewed your garments is a child, or is paid a suitable amount for them to survive, or has clean water that isn’t polluted by dyes? Does all that stuff matter when that dress looks so good on you?

It’s time to start having a guilty conscience and making active changes when it comes to the way we think about fashion.

The average consumer spends over £1000 on clothes each year – a pretty hefty amount. That can add up to a whole lot of new items, and inevitably a whole lot of clothes ending up as waste. Fast fashion is a fun concept for anyone – the ever-changing fashion industry is fun to follow online and in magazines, and even more fun to join in with – but it’s having a devastating impact on our environment that goes way beyond the sweatshops we’ve all heard plenty about. Dyes used on the fabrics that make our favourite prints and patterns are polluting water worldwide – in fact, textile dyeing is the one of the largest contributors to the pollution of clean water, second only to agriculture. On top of that, microfibres that come off our clothes when we wash them are making their way through our drains and into our oceans, and they don’t biodegrade – that poses a huge threat to our fishy friends, who go on to consume these tiny fibres, and if you eat fish, you’re more than likely consuming those microfibres through them, too. Not to mention that cotton is often picked by children in dire conditions, and it also takes a whole lot of water to grow, causing a higher risk of draught in these areas.

In addition to the questionable sources of the clothing that we fork out our cash for, we should really be considering the aftermath of fast fashion, too. In the UK, we throw out more than a million tonnes of clothing every year. Clothing that, for the most part, could have been donated, recycled, or sold on to another loving home. The more we buy, the more we chuck out, and all of our once-fashionable pieces are sadly ending up in landfills.

I know we’ve all been through the “I’ve got nothing to wear!” drama whilst staring into a wardrobe that’s fit to burst. There are a multitude of reasons why we might abandon our once-loved (or even never-before-touched) items of clothing: they don’t fit, they have a stain or a rip, we don’t like them anymore, or they just don’t go with anything. But instead of going straight to the closest black bin bag with all those things and then heading straight to the shops for a brand new look, think about how your old apparel can be reworked or rehomed, and how you could give a new home to something else. Selling to your friends or on sites like eBay or Depop will gain you a bit of cash back, or even better, you could donate to one of your local charity shops who will sell it all on for good, or donate to people and places that could use the help. It seems like common sense, but with the amount of clothes ending up in our landfills, it sounds like a lot of people are overlooking these simple steps and just opting for the closest bin. If you didn’t know, there are even clothing, shoe, and textile recycling points that you can take tattered, stained, or ripped bits and bobs to if you don’t think they’re worthy of a new home, so that even your most bedraggled attire can find a new use.

There’s even more you can do: shop second hand and love clothes for longer. You can find pretty much anything you want for second hand, whether it’s online or browsing vintage stores and charity shops. Minimise the amount of clothes ending up in landfills and the amount of strain placed on the fast fashion industry by buying preloved – Depop is my personal favourite second hand platform, where I’ve picked up brand new items, still with the tags on, for half the original price, or at the very least things that have been worn a few times but are still in perfect condition. In fact, the bulk of my wardrobe is full of clothes from either eBay or Depop, and all of my favourite pieces are second hand. Second hand doesn’t necessarily mean old, but we all know that the vintage look is always a winner anyway.

Making small changes to the way we shop all adds up – set yourself a challenge to buy no new clothes for a month or two, or to only shop second hand for the next five pieces you buy, and you’re already on your way there. It feels good to be greener!

Want to see a lookbook of my favourite preloved garms? Let me know!


6 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use (And Save Our Oceans)

6 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use (And Save Our Oceans)

It’s time to get serious.

We all know that there’s a global plastic problem, and it’s impacting on our oceans more than ever. Forbes have recently reported on another whale found washed up on the coast of Spain, and the cause of death was determined to be ingesting 64 pounds of plastic waste. And this isn’t a rare occurrence either. Last year, a whale was found dying off the coast of Norway with 30 plastic bags in its stomach. Sea life is swallowing, choking on, getting tangled in, and trapped amongst our plastic waste on a daily basis.

There’s no beating around the bush here: we caused this. Every time one of us buys veg in plastic wrap, a plastic water/coke/lemonade bottle, a disposable coffee cup from Starbucks, or a plastic bag, we are contributing to the mammoth plastic problem.

A quick Google search will tell you that plastic takes up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills, and yet most of us use plastic items every single day. In fact, more than 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced every single year, and a measly 10% of that gets recycled, but a whopping 8 million metric tonnes end up in our oceans. We only seem to care about what’s in the ocean when we go for a dip in the Mediterranean and find ourselves floating amongst a dirty nappy and somebody’s absconded bottle of sun cream, but it’s a global problem, and one that we need to start thinking seriously about. So what can we do to cut down, and how can we help?

1. Actually reuse your bags for life.

This is a really easy one. They’ll save you 5p every time you do a shop, so there’s no reason to leave them behind. Or, if you’d rather, you can invest in a cute canvas tote bag if you want something a little more personal. There are tonnes or reusable bags on the market, so there’s no excuse to still be picking up new plastic bags every time we shop when we all have a drawer filled with 100 at home.

2. Pick up a reusable water bottle.

I haven’t bought a plastic bottle in months since I copped this bottle from Amazon. You can get them in a million colours and styles, so there’s something for everyone. I opted for this one because it’s a full 500ml, as some other bottles can be a little small. These are so handy to have because you can fill them up pretty much anywhere – ask in a coffee shop or bar and they will happily refill your bottle for you. This will save you money in the long run, as you’ll no longer have to pay for water when you’re out and about, and it also keeps your drinks colder (or hotter) for longer! Plus, if you didn’t know, plastic can release harmful chemicals into your drinks which can impact on your chances of having a baby and increase your risk of heart disease, so a reusable bottle is better for your health too.

3. Invest in a reusable travel mug.

Every year, 100 billion single use coffee cups make their way to our landfills. Even if you don’t pick up a coffee that often, having an eco-friendly travel mug on hand saves our land and oceans from one more plastic lid, and lots of chains have started offering money off your drink when you bring your own cup, so this investment could actually end up paying for itself. I got this super cute one from Amazon for the occasional hot chocolate I grab from Costa, and it keeps my drink hotter for way longer than your standard disposable cup. This one is made from naturally organic bamboo fibre, and it’s biodegradable.

4. Grab some metal straws.

I’m telling you, this has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. I picked these ones from Amazon because the packaging was plastic-free, the straws themselves come in a little bag that makes it so easy to pop them in my bag, and they even come with a handy little cleaner so I can clean them super easily. In the UK alone, we go through approximately 8.5 billion straws a year – a number which makes me feel sick to my stomach. Instead of dishing out plastic straws with every drink, we could easily make a swap to paper, or even better, these metal ones, to save a sea turtle from choking.

5. Opt for beauty products with less (or at the very least, recycled) packaging.

Taking a few steps towards a zero-waste beauty routine, or at the very least a zero-waste shower routine, would cut down on our plastic use drastically. Think about all the things in your bathroom that are made out of plastic: containers and packaging for liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, face wash, and so much more. Not forgetting that pesky plastic toothbrush. Pick a couple of things in your bathroom to replace with plastic-free options, and you’re already doing your bit. Opt for a luxurious bar of soap that comes packaged in paper wrapping rather than plastic, switch to shampoo and conditioner bars (Lush have a great range of zero-waste stuff, and of course they smell amazing), grab you and your family a pack of bamboo toothbrushes, and you’re well on your way to converting your bathroom to a plastic-free space.

6. Say no to plastic cutlery.

Disposable cutlery is so easily avoidable, so whether you opt for a wooden alternative or simply carry round a standard fork or spoon in your bag, it’s a really easy change to make. You can even get portable cutlery kits that come in handy little cases that you can carry about with you!

I’m well aware that most of these tips involve splashing a little bit of cash, and not everyone has the opportunity to do that. But every little change makes a difference, and just starting with the small stuff can help you on your way to bigger changes. I’m by no means suggesting that I’m some kind of zero-waste queen, but I try to do my bit where I can, and I think that everyone else can find small ways to chip in too. Just being more conscious of your plastic usage is the best way to start tackling our plastic problem.

Got any more tips? Let me know!

Homeware Heaven: 5 Things That Will Make You Want to Unleash Your Inner Interior Designer

Homeware Heaven: 5 Things That Will Make You Want to Unleash Your Inner Interior Designer

I’ve been getting really into homewares recently. Maybe it’s because I’m super excited to be moving into a house of my own soon as opposed to student halls, but I feel the need to decorate everything in sight. Recently, my boyfriend’s house has been subject to my endless interior design desires, and I’ve been slowly introducing new pieces into his bedroom (including two little guinea pigs called Max and Minnie, but of course they’re not decorative) that he seems to be liking too. So let’s address a couple of bits and bobs that I’m loving (and yearning after) lately.

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I have been super into scents of late – candles, diffusers, and incense have stolen my heart. I picked up a miniature version of this candle and the matching diffuser from Next, and the scent is to die for. It’s so fresh and pretty subtle, but it really lifts up the room. Plus, candles are so cute and cosy, it’s hard to resist picking up one or two – the mini candle was only £3, and it burned for a good few hours, so I think I’ll end up picking up a few more in the future.


Plants are another big one for me, and they score any room some homely bonus points. I’ve flooded my boyfriend’s room with a bonsai and succulents (which may or may not be fake, but that’s okay), and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I’m lusting after this gorgeous trailing succulent (also from Next) which I think would make the perfect addition to the end of any book shelf or a bright kitchen windowsill.

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I can’t help falling in love with every yellow cushion I see lately, but I can’t bring myself to splash the cash. This one from Zazzle would add the perfect pop of colour to a charcoal grey sofa or navy bed, and the price isn’t too steep either. I’ll have ten please.

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I know that my teenage years are well and truly behind me when I start to get excited about dinnerware. But can you really blame me with all of the gorgeous plates and mugs that are calling my name? The Anthropologie home section is the source of all my happiness, and these bowls are the stuff of dreams. Plain tableware is dead, and patterns are dominating the dinner table.

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I feel like every blogger and their mum has this chair from Ikea, but honestly, I don’t blame any of them. The perfect addition to any living room, bedroom, office… just imagine propping one of those fun yellow cushions on it, or maybe draping a lovely knitted blanket over the back of it, and making it a cosy little reading corner! This chair is going to the top of my wish list when I have the money (and space) for one of these bad boys.

What homewares are you lusting after lately? Are there any websites I should be browsing? Let me know!

A Long Awaited Diagnosis

A Long Awaited Diagnosis

Okay, so I think it’s about time that we sit down and have a conversation. Well actually, let me just make things simple by saying this.

I have bipolar disorder.

It’s a long story, so let’s try to make this short. The first time I went to the doctors with an inkling that something maybe wasn’t so right with me, I was probably around 18. I made an appointment with my doctor, sat down, and said, “I think I have bipolar disorder,” or something to that effect. After she heard me explain myself, detailing my mood swings, patterns in behaviour, and unsettledness, she answered something along the lines of “it’s quite possible.”

Now, at the ripe age of 21, newly medicated and relatively hazy, I wonder why she didn’t do anything about that possibility at the time.

I have spent the last three years in and out of doctors appointments in different cities, surgeries, and offices, repeating the same story, same symptoms, same everything. I’ve had every response you can think of, and been turned away with nothing more times than I’d like to expose the NHS for. I’ve sat in doctors’ chairs suicidal and in bits, only to be met with a horrid “oh, that’s a shame,” and a prescription to “spend time with family”.

My last doctor’s appointment was in December. I saw the same doctor I had seen three years earlier, and over the course of the previous few months, she’d promised me progress and help. I was hopeful, and desperate for a referral to anyone who could help me. I was tired of being ignored, shunned, and let down at every appointment. Doctor Guinevere promised me a kind of support that I’d never had before.

Until that final appointment.

My tears and insistent begging for help were met with nothing more than aloof responses and a sudden “what do you want me to do about it?” attitude that broke my heart. She told me that there was “no point” in referring me to an Access and Crisis team, or anyone at all for that matter. And with that, I was sent away with nothing. Again.

For my absolute glorious angel of a mother, this was the last straw. As I cried in the car on the way home, she told me, “we’re going to do this ourselves. They’re not going to do anything for you, but I’m your mother, and I’m going to fix this for you”.

Within an hour, I had my first appointment booked with a private psychiatrist.

Seeing a private psychiatrist was a world apart from the millions of appointments I’d had with GPs. I spilled my heart out, told him everything, like I usually would, except this time I got a whole hour to do it. In the 10 minutes I usually had with doctors, they would brush off my experiences and feelings, tell me it was all down to anxiety, and send me on my way. Seeing a psychiatrist gave me all the validation I needed. He understood everything I’d ever needed anyone to understand, asked all the right questions, and even had my mum in to ask about her perspective. He told me within half an hour that I had a mood disorder. By my second appointment with another psychiatrist, I was armed with a diagnosis, a prescription, and a plan for therapy. Within just two sessions, I’d been given everything that the NHS were unable to give me for years beforehand.

I am now on two different medications to balance me out. Antidepressants and antipsychotics come with a myriad of side effects that had me down and out for a good few weeks. Now I’m up and about again, feeling great, and having regular therapy.  But does it really have to come at such a cost?

I was lucky enough to go private, but most people aren’t. The NHS failed me for years, because it is underfunded and under strain – mental health services are undeniably poor, and everybody should be able to have access to the kind of treatment that I have had, but it just isn’t as easy as it seems. I have heard hundreds of stories from people who have been in, or are currently in, similar situations to mine. Mental illness deserves the same action as physical illness, and the same care and attention, without having to empty your pockets.

Now, I’m able to get on with my day to day life in the way that I should have been able to almost four years ago. It’s been a long and exhausting process, but now I’m finally where I need to be. At the end of the day, the doctors were right to tell me to spend time with family – it was my family who listened, who made sacrifices so that I could get the care I needed, and who continue to support me every day.

Mental illness stretches further than depression and anxiety. Sometimes it’s more severe than that, and sometimes people don’t want to talk about those scarier sounding diagnoses. Support for mental health needs to stretch beyond the more commonly talked about illnesses, and that’s why it’s important for me to be public about my mental illness.

If you have any questions about my diagnosis, or bipolar disorder in general, don’t be afraid to ask! Drop me a tweet and I’ll be sure to get back to you!






The Problem With The Tortured Artist

The Problem With The Tortured Artist

Sylvia Plath, Vincent Van Gogh, Ludwig Van Beethoven… what do all of these artists have in common?

We glorify artists riddled with mental illness, pore over their poems or paintings, and immerse ourselves in their music. We lie in wonder, weaving our ideas of their internal struggles in with their works of art, thinking how each chest-punching anxiety attack, terrifying psychotic vision, or life-ruining bout of alcoholism contributed to the masterpiece in front of us. How awestruck we are at the sight of such traumatic beauty. How admirable that they could create such delicacy from such pain, and showcase the mess inside their head with words on a page or a lick of paint on canvas. What a cause for celebration.

But when it comes to real mental illness, here, now, within the people we love, we put it to one side. We hide it, overlook it, complain when we have to live with somebody so irritable or sensitive or unpredictable. So what’s the difference?

We analyse tortured art until we’re blue in the face, trying to figure out what the artist was thinking or feeling, and diagnosing them with modern labels that just seem so obvious to us as we evaluate their work, all whilst ignoring the thoughts and feelings of the people right next to us. Once the depressed, the manic, and the psychotic put their pen to paper, brush to canvas, fingers to piano keys, something in our brains lets go of the negative stigma around mental illness, and we glorify their misery. Such hidden talent! A beautiful outlet for a tortured mind. How commendable that somebody can produce such great art inspired by, or in spite of, their mental illness. We are all too ready to applaud the artistic few who can convey their feelings through decorative means.

Art that carries the burden of mental illness, no matter its form, is fascinating and invigorating to the spectator. It lends you a peep to a world you haven’t seen before, or it acts as a relatable comfort. A praising comment here, a patronising one there. If they can do this with such a troubled mind, then why can’t X, Y, or Z compose such wonders when they suffer the same, or less? We place ourselves, or others, in the artist’s position. We fail to see the difference, to distinguish between the intricacies of what makes one person’s mental illness different from another’s, and why not everyone with a prescription for antidepressants or mood stabilisers is the next Virginia Woolf. But to the artist, this isn’t just something to hang in a gallery – it’s their everyday life. Your coffee table book is their mind pressed between pages, and your vinyl collection is the voice in their head on repeat. It’s frightening and frustrating. But they have the amazing ability to reveal their mind’s inner workings and communicate through their art. Not everyone can do that.

Mental illness isn’t necessarily the propellor of great art, as much as we like to envisage every mutilated mind finding solace in a creative outlet. It is all too often the block: the locked door against great ideas and creative freedom. It’s the head-in-hands in the office when you can’t focus on anything for more than 10 seconds, the inability to get out of bed for the interview that you really need to nail, the staring at the wall as time crawls by behind the bar of your local pub. It’s the ordinary – more so than it is the revolutionary, and it crushes creativity as often as, if not more than, it spurs it on.

Mental illness needs to be appreciated in a context outside of the artistic. Yes, admire the masterpieces. Immerse yourself in the theatre and the films sprinkled with body dysmorphia and suicide, but don’t lap it up at face value, and don’t ignore the everyday. Do not praise the tortured soul of your favourite artist and then slash the suffering barista with the same tongue. Do not compare the portrayal of one person’s mind with the reality of another’s.

We glorify the hand that mental illness plays in an artist’s life, then sneer at the same hand that taunts our neighbours. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and OCD are more than just a catalyst for creating art, and they need to be recognised as such. We are not all Edvard Munch. The mentally ill work regular jobs, or maybe live in supported facilities. They are the people you move away from when they talk to themselves on the bus and the ones you gawk at for being “too skinny”. There’s your tortured artist and beautifully tormented soul. A cast out member of society, made to feel alone by a lack of understanding for what they’re going through and failing mental health services. Had you known Sylvia Plath in person, you may have viewed her differently. You may have looked down upon her with the same merciless criticism that you are so quick to fire upon those in psychiatric hospitals today. It won’t do to whisper “did you hear that Becky’s brother has been sectioned?” with disdain, but then tuck yourself into bed with a copy of The Bell Jar and a great appreciation for Plath’s way with words.

As talented as the mentally ill are, we are not just your Netflix series or weekend trip to the gallery. We deserve thought and recognition more often than when you binge watch 13 Reasons Why or catch a glimpse of The Scream. We need awareness more than just one week a year. And we need the same respect and thoughtfulness that you offer to your favourite artists, no matter what our day job might be.

How To Write a University Essay

How To Write a University Essay

After spending three years at university, essays are nothing new to me. I used to struggle with finding a routine that worked for me, and my essay writing process was, quite frankly, a shambles. Now I’m an essay veteran, and I’ve found a system that makes essay writing (almost) painless and a lot less stressful for my poor delicate head. So here’s my advice for getting in the essay groove!

Do your reading, and do it properly. If your course has compulsory reading, do it. Make notes and flag up the pages or quotes that will come in handy for your essay. This makes quote-hunting a lot easier and helps you to form a proper argument in your work. All of my books are coated in little sticky notes with annotations purely to make my life easier in future, and it really works for me.

Find where you work best. A lot of people will tell you not to do work in bed. To those people I say this: you are wrong. For me, bed is the place. It’s quiet, comfy, and I don’t have to wear a bra. However, for many others, their bed is an evil temptress that seduces them into a nap. Figure out where your ideal work space is, whether it’s the library, your favourite cafe, an empty classroom, or just at the desk in your room. You might find that you work better with a buzz around you, or you might find it distracting. Do you work better with music, or without? Maybe a study group is helpful for keeping you motivated, or maybe it’s just an excuse to gossip and take more trips to the vending machine without feeling ashamed. Figure it out for yourself.

Find your sources first. Once you know what angle you’re going to take for your writing, go and find sources to support your argument, and make sure you keep a note of them for referencing later on. It’ll make your life easier if you can pull up a few quotes that will help to mold and support what you’re writing about. I like to put them all into my document first so that I don’t forget anything important, and it helps me to plan out where I’m going to take my essay. You can always find more sources later, but this is a good place to start.

Split your topics into segments, and find an order that flows. Your essay should make a logical progression, rather than jumping from one place to the other. Think about the best way to manoeuvre from start to finish, including an introduction and conclusion that matches up with what you’re actually saying. There’s no point in talking about one topic in the intro if it’s never going to see the light of day again. Keep it clean, concise, and focused.

Separate the workload over a few days. Teachers are wrong: you can write an essay the day before it’s due in – but that doesn’t mean you can write a good one: if you try to crack out an essay the day before (or even the day of) the deadline, you’re missing out on marks and setting yourself back. I set myself a goal of 500 words per day. It doesn’t actually take that long, and it makes everything a little more manageable. So if I have a 2000 word essay, I tend to split it over 5 or 6 days (not including any prior reading/research).

  • Day 1: Find your sources and make a plan for the direction that your essay is going in. Once you’ve got that nailed, the rest of the essay can be molded around that skeleton.
  • Day 2-5: Write 500 words each day. Easy!
  • Day 6: Add your bibliography, edit, and proofread.

And just like that, you have a completed essay with minimal tears and (hopefully) less stress eating.

Reference as you go. You might think it’s quicker to just hammer out all your content first, and then go back and reference afterwards. You would be mistaken. Although referencing can be a pain and put a hold on that roll you’re on, it’s better to do it as it comes rather than go back afterwards and try to hunt down all your quotes, find out which source each one is from, and fiddle around looking for page numbers. You might end up forgetting something, or losing your place in a source so you can never find the quote again. And if you can’t reference it, you can’t use it.

Use referencing websites. If you struggle with referencing and bibliographies, try using websites like Cite This For Me. I used to do all of my bibliographies manually, but websites like this take out the fear of making an error, and order your bibliography in just the right way. They reduce the stress out of those little finishing touches, so then you can submit with confidence. Just make sure you have it set to the right citation style for your university!

PROOFREAD. As much as you might hate your essay and just want to get it out of your sight as quickly as possible, I cannot stress enough how important it is to proofread. Check your spelling and grammar, and just make sure that what you’ve written actually makes sense. Sometimes reading it out loud can help you to identify areas that jar or don’t sound quite right, or ask somebody else to read it and see if they can follow what’s going on.

This is the writing process that works for me. Give it a go, change it, tailor it to how you work, and see if it helps – if you decide to try it out, let me know how it goes!


How To Balance Mental Health and University

How To Balance Mental Health and University

For part three of my mini-series on moving to university, we’re going to tackle the big issue – keeping a firm grasp on your mental heath and your studies at the same time. Now, if you look at my history of handling my mental health at university, I don’t seem like the best person to come to when you’re on the hunt for tips. But let me tell you, I’ve been through it all, and now I know better. These are my tips for keeping yourself above water and avoiding feeling overwhelmed, so you can sidestep the mistakes that I made and have systems in place as soon as you make the big move to somewhere new.

Register with a doctor, and go. Even if you don’t feel like you need help right this second, make sure you have a doctor for when you do hit a bump. It might help to have a little appointment to just lay the groundwork and ask about what extra help you can get when times get hard – they might be able to refer you to some local services that you can sign up to for free, whether it’s a kind of therapy or group workshops. Bear in mind that these things often have long waiting lists, so it’s best to get in there early and have these options lying as a safety blanket, rather than going when you’re desperate and can’t get the help you need.

Talk to your lecturers. I say this a lot, but it’s important. It can be too easy to skip classes without talking to members of staff about why you haven’t been turning up, and this can really have an impact on your studies. Although it seems pretty daunting pouring your heart (or your head) out to your course’s team, they’re there to help you, and they’ve seen it all before. It’s up to you how you want to do it, because you don’t necessarily have to tackle the problem in person – emails get the ball rolling too, and let your tutors know what’s going on with you. Lecturers can help you if you’re struggling with the workload, encourage you to get through an assessment you never thought you’d manage, and guide you towards other services (both on and off the university campus) that might help you. I owe Eden Sharp and Devon Campbell-Hall everything I achieved over this past year, so don’t underestimate the power of the people in the classroom!

Make use of the university’s services. You can guarantee that I’ll be making the most of that extra help as I go into my final year. Find out more about what your uni has to offer – most have free counselling services, so check out your uni’s website to get a grasp on how they can help you.

Take mini breaks at home when you need to. If you can grab a weekend at home here and there to recuperate, hang out with your pet, and get a bit of peace and quiet, then it could be pretty helpful. I find that when things are getting tough for me at uni, it’s nice to spend a few days at home to gather myself up into one piece again. If this isn’t possible for you, then keep close contact with friends and family at home if you find that this helps. They’re only ever a phone call away.

Find a happy place in your new city. For me, it’s the marina. Sitting by the sea and (if it’s a clear night) seeing some stars gives me the chance to be alone and think things through until I feel calmer and like my head makes more sense. Finding somewhere you can go to catch a breather, whether it’s a park, coffee shop, or just a particular bench, can make you feel less alone and less homesick if you’re struggling.

Keep organised with your uni work. Sometimes there can be a lot going on at once, and the more you let things pile up, the more overwhelmed you’re going to get. You might have no deadlines for weeks, and then three on the same day, so you have to organise your time properly. It might help to buy a cute planner, or download a good to-do list app so that you always know what’s going on in your life. I’ve used Wunderlist in the past and really liked it, but I’ve found that the Reminders app on iPhone is really handy too, and it’s already at your fingertips.

Take advantage of your support network. Your friends and family are there to help you, so don’t suffer in silence. A problem shared is a problem halved, and though they might not be able to wave a magic wand and make everything disappear, they can advise you on what steps to take next or simply be a shoulder to cry on. It doesn’t matter whether they’re people from home or new friends at university, as long as you know that you don’t have to go through hard times by yourself.

Got any more tips for people making the leap to university? Let me know!