Mental Health Awareness week: Learning

Wellbeing through learning

by Margaret Andrews, Senior Resident

Learning a new skill, or picking up an old one again, can provide a welcome change of scene and a new outlook! There are loads of opportunities to pick up at university that could help you try something new, improve on something old or just have fun! Anecdotally, at least, learning something new can be beneficial to one’s mental health as well, and so “learn” is listed as one of the five ways to wellbeing.

One of the best places to go to is the SU website. This hosts the websites for many SU groups, including sporting, crafting and other interest groups.

One interesting and useful skill that I have learned is first aid. The first thing that I learned when I started picking this up was that real first aid is very different to that portrayed in films! Getting to learn and practise new skills that could potentially help someone one day, was really satisfying.

Undoubtedly, I find First Aid a useful skill, and I certainly like knowing that I have knowledge that could be helpful in an emergency situation. The question is, did it improve my mental health to learn it?

I would argue that yes, it did. For one thing, it was a lot of fun! First Aid is taught in a very social way, so I met a lot of great people. The skills lend themselves to being entertaining at times (there is something innately funny about applying two slings and a dozen neatly tied bandages to one person). Another thing, I felt like I was being challenged, and I left each session feeling like I was competent in something new.

Another part of being at university, of course, is studying itself. Through my years at university, I’ve learned a lot about how I learn… if that makes sense! At school, I had always assumed that I was taking in a lot of the things that I was going through in class, but once I reached university I realised that I really… hadn’t. I thought that reading through textbooks was actually helping me, but fairly soon I realised that I learned a LOT more by doing things than by reading! Realising this really helped me get the most out of my course, focus my studying and revision more effectively, and overall make it easier for me to complete my degree, without wasting time on revision methods that didn’t work well for me.

Looking  back, my experience of learning First Aid actually told me this long before I went to university! Do you feel like you are learning in the most effective way for you? Trying new things can help in all aspects of learning!

How about learn something new about nature! Come along to the Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve on Sunday 16th May for a group nature ramble! Visit the UoB student listings page to book your place and find out more.

To explore the wonderful city of Bristol from the water, join one of ResiLife’s harbour boat tours, in collaboration with Bristol Packet. ResiLife tickets are only £3, on the UoB online shop, using the password R3S1L!FE – booking is essential!

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