I’m getting very worried about my mate, Sam. We're both at university now. She's the smart one and is at this amazing place, while I’m just at a meh place. I see her mainly in the holidays but we keep in touch – she texts me a lot and we call each other most weeks.

I’m surprised we are still such good friends because she's loads different from how she was when we were kids. She was always top of the class - she never seemed to have to put much effort in but she always came out on top. All grade As at A level, of course.

She's doing law - she always wanted to do that. But she seems so stressed and unhappy. When she went off, she was so bubbling with excitement and expectations, but that's all vanished. The people there wouldn't know - they never knew the old Sam, how would they be able to tell that she's changed?

When she first went there she studied hard and she seemed happy, she went out and had tonnes of friends. But after she left Halls at the end of her first year she's been in living in a flat she's not too fond of - and when she calls she tells me that she not that keen on her courses, either.

I tell her to talk to her tutor but she says she can’t. I'd tell my lecturers if it was me, but then I think I’m not so special. She thinks she should not have any problems.

Lecture theatre in MIT [Image: Drgandy under CC-BY-NC licence] Creative commons image Credit: DrGandy under CC-BY-NC licence
Can Sam keep her perspective in the lecture theatre [ Image: Lecture room at MIT by DrGandy under CC-BY-NC licence]

When I see her its always shocking, her skin is bad, she looks scruffy and doesn't want to do anything. I’m really worried that she’s on drugs, but I can’t say this to her, can I?

She sent a couple of emails which really freaked me; I called her that evening and she started to cry. But she didn't explain anything to me. I was so worried that I got on the coach to go see her.

It took ages before she would open the door. When I saw her place it was like a piggery or something. She seemed very down, I’m worried in case she hurts herself. I mean... I know that people in her position can end up taking drugs, or doing real harm to themselves.

And she doesn't seem to be eating and although she's sharing with some others, she has nothing to do with them. I talked to them a bit but they just said she seemed OK to them, just a bit quiet. They said that they were all under stress so it was the same for everyone there.

I don’t know whether I should talk to her parents, I know they would be so upset – they have no idea there is a problem. I cannot see her completing her final year at this rate. I’m really worried.

These stories are composites based on real experiences

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