Giving: A way of life

University life is filled with new experiences and ‘first-time independence’ and students are often left overwhelmed. Assignments, emails, schedules, housekeeping, cooking, laundry… the list goes on. If the phrase “I have so much do that I can’t do anything” resonates with you, then you are one of many overwhelmed students. The best way I’ve found to deal with this is by prioritising my wellbeing. The technique I use for improving my wellbeing is through giving. Not just by donating to charity, but by spending my time, effort, and energy to give back to myself and the community around me.

The ripple effect of giving

The hustle and bustle of our busy lives means that the smallest act of giving can have a ripple effect. Talking to a friend who is feeling low for five minutes, for example, can brighten their day making them feel appreciated and loved. Community-wide opportunities are also provided by the university regularly. The Volunteer Hub organises events for students like helping the homeless, painting houses for the less fortunate and teaching English to refugees.

Through these events, students can find an outlet for their energy that benefits others and helps them to achieve their full potential, while also connecting with like-minded people. By volunteering, students are able to better understand the current issues and notice the actions needed to influence change. When this is transferred to their careers – taking into account the university’s diversity of fields and students – students can help to create a better tomorrow for future generations. Through the power of giving back, one can truly improve their mental wellbeing.

Giving back to yourself

In the course of giving back, one must remember themselves. When stuck in a daily routine of studying, working, writing a dissertation, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping. When even nights out sometimes feel like they’re a burden, we must take care of ourselves. The solution for many is prioritising an hour of ‘me-time’ each day. Whether it’s being active by going to the gym, watching a WWII Netflix documentary, doing yoga before exams, or just chilling at home listening to your favourite Frank Sinatra songs (all examples from people I know). One must always focus on keeping their own wellbeing in check.

Each person has their own coping mechanisms and sources of joy, so staying connected to one’s true self is necessary to stay well. I’d like to end with this message: one can never stay afloat, alone and isolated. The support available to every one of us from our friends, family, university, and local community, is endless. All you need to do is reach out.


Written by Wellbeing Champion, Ahmed Refaie