Arriving at university can be a great opportunity to explore who you are and think about your sexuality, gender, faith, race and culture in ways that you might not have been able to before. The chance to establish a “new-you” can be liberating but it can also throw up some challenges when it comes to expressing your new self to friends and family.
The charity Student Minds has advice and resources about coming out, transitioning and supporting friends. Visit Student Minds.
The LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall provides lots of advice for students and young people, as well as information for allies of the community. Visit Stonewall.
Imperial has a staff and postgraduate research LGBTQ+ network called Imperial 600. Find out more and join today. Visit Imperial 600.
Gender and sexuality
It can be difficult to talk to friends and family about issues surrounding your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You might feel quite isolated, but remember, you don’t need to handle things on your own.
It can be helpful to talk to someone you trust and who is understanding about how you’re feeling. You could also talk to other members of the student LGBTQ+ community by contacting Imperial College Union's student LGBTQ+ society, IQ.
Here are some helpful things to think about when starting a conversation:
- Think carefully about who you might want to talk to first. Pick a friend or family member who will be understanding and willing to offer you support
- Speak to people at your own pace and don’t feel pressured into a conversation
- Make sure you have enough time to talk properly so that you don’t feel rushed
Faith and religion
Imperial is a diverse community that welcomes students from a wide variety of religious backgrounds from around the world. The College has a Multi-Faith Chaplaincy with facilities for prayers and faith related activities and a team of Chaplains, who are available to students of all faiths or none.
Imperial College Union has a wide range of faith-based societies that host events and activities throughout the year, where you can explore and celebrate your faith with other students. Learn more about the Union's clubs and societies.
Living away from home, learning about other religions and meeting people from different backgrounds might give you a different perspective on your beliefs and lead you to reflect on your faith while you’re here. You might find it helps to speak to a person who understands your feelings. You can arrange to speak to one of the College Chaplains, who are available to offer you non-judgemental support and guidance.
Confidence and culture
Imperial is a diverse community and we welcome students and staff from hundreds of different countries and cultures from around the world. At university, you might begin to question or challenge your cultural heritage or feel separated from the traditions that are an important part of your cultural identity.
There are lots of opportunities at Imperial to learn more about the many cultures of our community and connect with people who share a similar background and heritage.
Imperial College Union has over 50 cultural student-led clubs and societies that host a range of activities – and if there isn’t the right society for you, you can always start your own!
Confidence and self-esteem
If you’re struggling with aspects of your identity, you might find that this can lead to feelings of low confidence and low self-esteem.
When you have low self-esteem, you might find that you:
- take yourself away from social situations
- avoid anything that’s challenging or new
- dismiss compliments from others
- feel anxious all the time
If you’d like to speak to someone about how you’re feeling, you can contact the following for advice and support:
The NHS website also has lots of information and guidance about raising low self-esteem.