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Charlottes story

Moving from Newcastle to Oxford was, in many senses, overwhelming. The immediate aftermath of A Level success only to remember I had to live up to that at university surrounded by ‘geniuses’, living 260 miles away from home while the majority of my friends remained near people they knew, and the excitement of a completely new chapter in life beginning. I’d always known I wanted to move away from Newcastle for university, because even if it was scary, the chance for a new start was extremely appealing. What I didn’t anticipate were the overwhelmingly sad, lonely and hopeless feelings of the first term. A couple of weeks into my first term I broke down, realising that the weight of all these overwhelming feelings had become too much. I felt like I didn’t belong, I had ‘imposter syndrome’, I was desperately homesick, and I hadn’t made any proper friends.

Looking back, I can rationalise all these problems much more simply. The work was difficult because Oxford is a demanding university and I was comparing myself with students from elite private schools who had all been the best in their year groups- of course, it was going to be a challenge.

I was homesick because I was a Northerner in the South, so many miles from home surrounded by majority Southern classmates, yet being the odd one out doesn’t say anything about my intelligence or ‘right’ to be there. I hadn’t made proper friends because I was only three weeks in! What seemed like the end of the world at the time was really the tormenting consequences of constant comparisons with others. After this initial low period, the high points began to come quickly- I pushed myself to go to social occasions despite not wanting to, got involved and just talked to people, and now a year on I have a group of friends who I honestly hope will be friends for life. It does feel like there’s a pressure to prove yourself; I was in the minority as a very normal Northern girl with a regional accent, but once I found people who couldn’t care less where I was from, realised I sounded just as intelligent whether what I said was in a Geordie accent or in RP, and realised I didn’t have to be the best but should set my own personal standards and goals, I felt so much more comfortable.

I think the main take away from my experience is that people in general should change the way they talk about and set expectations for university. Sure, sometimes it might be full of parties, good times and immediate life-long friends. But we can’t ignore the homesickness, feelings of inadequacy and loneliness that are almost inevitable in your first year. Knowing that these things do happen, but with a bit of support and effort you CAN get through them, would have massively eased my mind.


if you are worrying about your child get in touch and get the support you need. Consider your own mental health needs whilst supporting your child. Tips for you:

  • Contact your GP to raise your concerns
  • Keep the routine the same and as normal as possible
  • Universities often run student support groups
  • Provide self help information, your son or daughter
    can read through at their own pace
  • Contact their teacher at school


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  • Decreased energy
  • Tearfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular sleep
  • Feeling sad, anxious or empty mood
  • Changes in mood
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Lack os appetite or weight change
  • Feeling pessimistic and hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide

Some of these signs may be part of normal adolescent mood changes and difficult behaviour.

If you are concerned contact your GP – early diagnosis can support and help your child

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How to Contact Me


Use the form below to send me an email. I aim to reply within 24 hours.

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Call me on 07936 037 939

 I can be reached Monday to Saturday. If you leave a message I will call you back.


Sessions are held in Hebburn – Tyne & Wear

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