Anti-Bullying Week 2018: A story of bullying at University
When you first leave for uni – especially if you’ve only just left sixth form – there are lots of things that you expect to have changed from your school life. The huge amount of independence that comes with living away from home, being able to earn money for yourself and taking control of your education for the first time ever are a few. One thing that many people really don’t expect to carry over from school to university is bullying and harassment. However, it’s often the case that bullying can be just as common at university as it can be in schools. As part of Anti-Bullying Week I’d like to provide a story that is pertinent and will hopefully raise further awareness:
A friend of mine struggled during her first year of university, as she did not get along with her hallmates. Where they were party goers, out all night and sleeping all day, she was introverted and preferred to spend her time at work or studying. Because of this, she struggled to make friends with the people she lived with. Over time, jokes were being made at her expense, and it all came to a head at Christmas, when the flat planned a Christmas meal for the day after she had gone home to see her family for the weekend.
While this might only seem like a small thing, being frightened of bumping into someone in the hallway for fear of being blanked or laughed about every day can really hurt someone’s self-esteem. Luckily, she knew what to do and contacted Student Services, who were able to caution those who had bullied her and moved her to different accommodation. It’s important to share stories like this, as it is a common misconception that everyone immediately becomes a mature adult as soon as they come to university, but unfortunately, some of these childish behaviours can carry through to your university experience.
When dealing with bullies, it is important to seek support from those around you. Talk to family, friends, and those who are there for you to get their support and guidance. Don’t let bullies make you feel small, and don’t retaliate by being nastier than they are. The best thing to do is speak out about your experiences to someone who can help you with what you are going through, just like my friend did when dealing with her flatmates. Unfortunately, others are not as fortunate as my friend and can succumb to peer pressure with horrible results.
If you are affected by bullying at university – or anywhere else in your life – it is important to know that you are not to blame. In any case, the best course of action is often to contact someone about your problem, whether it be a manager at work, Student Services at university, or one of the many support services for adults dealing with bullying and harassment such as Bullying UK or BulliesOut.co.uk, who can help with specific problems. 12-16 November is Anti-Bullying Week, so take this chance to reach out for support.
Don’t tolerate bullying in your life, act now before it starts to affect your mental health at uni.