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What could you achieve with the right support?

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

This week we are sending our daughter off to university, having spent nearly 10 years working in student support, it feels a little odd to be on the other side of it, saying goodbye, rather than welcoming the new students in. It was working as a Disability Officer that led me to training to be a counsellor, I was seeing more students who were seeking support for their mental health and wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. Because I love studying, I thought I would do a quick course in counselling skills, not realising that 4 years later I would be graduating with my MSc and embarking on a new career with a much deeper understanding of myself.

What helped me to get so much personally and academically from my training was that, because I had been working in student support for so long, I knew what help was available and how to ask for it. I also knew that needing it wasn’t a failing in me but was due to a system that wasn’t conducive to my learning. I had discovered a different language to talk about what I needed, one that wasn’t just about what was wrong, but about how to make things better. I wonder how different my first experience of studying at university at 19 would have been if I had had access to the same language and support.

The more I have learnt about who I am, through therapy, reflection and noticing, the more able I am to figure out what works for me and to make my choices accordingly. I wish I could say that means I’m all sorted now, and everything is fine, but of course that isn’t true. Things are always changing, new situations arise, my resilience levels change, I find out more about myself and my needs change. What has helped is to know that it is ok to ask for help and to figure out where that comes from, be it friends, family, professionals or going back into counselling for a bit.

As I wave my daughter off on the next part of her journey, I hope she remembers that she doesn’t have to do it all on her own and that she has the strength to ask for help in a way that I didn’t at her age so she can achieve her potential.

What could you achieve with the right support?

Louise wearing grey and blue grauation robes is looking at the camera and smiling. In the background are tress. Text reads ‘What could you achieve with the right support?’

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