Archives

The Phenomenon of Not Enjoying University

Today I’m going to speak about something that has pretty much changed me completely in the last couple of years. It’s quite personal to me and while I don’t mind speaking about it, I am aware that there are always going to be people that just can’t understand the impact of what’s happened. This monumental ‘event’ was university and the whole crock of shite that came along with that.

Looking back, I didn’t quite consider how much of a leap leaving school was: 2010 was probably the happiest year of my life up until September. Then, although I was going to uni locally in Liverpool, I took the attitude of ‘obviously I’m not living at home during uni, partaaaayyyy’ and moved my little self over into halls. My room was lovely, in fact the flat was really nice for student halls. The problems started when freshers actually got going, and I realised I was completely and utterly not fitting into student life.

I still had my old job (I can’t survive on student loan alone!) and so was coming back over to the flat late some nights. On nights when I’d come back at 1am, all I would want to do was sleep, but music would be blaring and a flat filled with smoke would await me – when I picked a non smoking flat for my hatred of the smell. They were nice people, don’t get me wrong (and at least their music taste was good) but I spent many a night in my room alone wondering why I wasn’t the same as everybody else.

Watching friends uploading hundreds of photos and chatting about all their new best friends (‘OMG, we just click you know, we have so much in common, she’s amazing’) and wondering why I wasn’t as excited as everybody else about…well, anything. To make it twice as bad, the fact that I do a Combined course at uni meant everybody in each subject was already grouped off and I really put myself out there trying to speak to people. Each time, I was rebuffed and never saw them again.

To cut the ramble, it culminated in me feeling down all the time. I literally couldn’t pick myself up – even the course wasn’t, and still isn’t, what I expected – and eventually, the worst of it came when I sat in my room, with one of my best friends at the time, and just cried without knowing why (he felt awkward to say the least). I made the decision to move back home. It was so hard, mainly because I didn’t want to seem like a failure in comparison to all my friends that were loving itbut also not to burden my family. A lot of people will say this is bad, that I should have stuck it out but for me, this was the right decision. Even when I moved home, my depression continued for a good few months and the amount of times I went into my mums bedroom, lay on the bed and just cried were numerous and distressing. I tried not to tell anybody unless I had to, or said it was for money reasons.

A few months later, when I was starting to get a bit better, I found out something that my boyfriend had done (involving, of course, a ‘best friend’ and some inappropriate not-at-all friendly messages, stereotype much?) which sent me right back down again. I’ve had my sister say to me over and over about how I’m a failure and I can’t cope with ‘normal’ things.

Most people have been supportive, even if they can’t understand. People say things like ‘oh I’ve just been really lucky’ or ‘you should have moved into the actual uni halls’ but in hindsight, I think that maybe I was expecting too much and I never would have enjoyed it, and the person who I am now is confident enough to admit that. I just want other people to understand why I feel that way too.

I’ve learned to cope, and although I don’t enjoy uni loads still, I have people in my lectures that I can speak to and get on with. Some amazing friends outside of uni, people I work with and people that understand what I’m going through have helped me so much through this. Having Lauren come back from Japan in November (and start uni the next year) really helped me to accept that it’s okay not to have the typical student experience. Similarly, when I met Hollie a few months ago, it was great to show her that it’s okay not to settle in straight away and it helped me to come to terms with it myself.

I take things week by week and always make plans (I used to like being alone and chilling: a side effect has meant that if I don’t have plans for a day, I feel down and scared all over again). Enjoy the things that you have – I am lucky enough to not do long-distance with my boyfriend, which some other people find really hard. Sometimes I do wish that I’d had the same incredible experiences as others but there’s always a silver lining and while third year is going so fast that I’m scared to go into adult life, I’m hoping my time after uni will be a much happier stage of my life.

It’s okay to feel like this.
A lot of people go through it and hide behind social networking because they don’t want to feel like  they’ve failed as well.
Do what’s right for you and it will never be the wrong decision.
Laura x

Term Time Resolutions.

I’ve been lacking inspiration for my lifestyle posts recently, despite having a pretty exciting week. I started a new job, on Thursday, my old job had an amazing staff day out: Go Ape in Delamere Forest, Sapporo, and Alma de Cuba. Go Ape is kind of like an assault course but up in the trees (ending with amazing zip wires!): the meal in Sapporo Teriyaki was incredible and anybody in Liverpool that hasn’t been to Alma de Cuba (and has a decent size budget) I would advise you to get down now! Saturday was a friends 21st in a new 24 hour casino that opened. So, pretty good all in all.

1. Go Ape Treetop Adventure. 2. Sapporo Teriyaki. 3. Cocktails.

But now it’s that time where I have to settle down, do some work, and try to be a responsible student for my last (eep!) year of education. I got the inspiration for this from Hannah’s wonderful blog. Like she says, I’ve made these resolutions every year since I started my GCSE’s, but this year it really counts. Uni couldn’t have made it any easier for me to laze around with my 4 hours a week timetable (full time, yeah right!). These are my aspirations for the year:

1. Get most of my project done in Semester 1.
Due to my lack of actual lectures in this term, I have plenty of time on my hands. Instead of using it to stay in bed, shop, go for lunch with friends (as I spent the entire of my second year doing), I will go to uni, and work hard at getting my work done. One year of hard work – maybe I’ll miss it when it’s gone so why not do something productive, instead of doing nothing (*cough* playing on The Sims). 

2. Get fit.
I never appreciated the effect 13 years of ballet had on my body, until I quit two years ago. Now my confidence is low and I need an overhaul that doesn’t feel like a chore. Joining the uni gym sounds like a good idea – having Lauren as a gym buddy will make me more likely to go! And I want to get back into swimming. Also, eat more healthily.

3. Spend my money wisely.
Getting into the habit of buying things out of boredom is never good…also, find cheaper alternatives to going to Topshop all the time. Forever 21 cannot open in Liverpool fast enough.

4Travel.
This relates to after I finish really, but starting now! I go to Poland for a few days next week (history, water park and vodka), and am planning a shopping trip to London soon too as I am completely in love with the place. Instead of Christmas presents, my boyfriend and I are looking at going on a short break somewhere which would be lovely.
But the big one is my plans for after exams/graduation. I’m not ready for a serious career; I haven’t lived and found what I really want to do. Me and Lauren are planning to go somewhere after exams for a couple of weeks (tropical and beautiful!), then Glastonbury with a few others, then Crete for her 21st. Feel like it would be scary, but I think would make a huge difference to how negative I’ve felt for the last few years.

5. Write a lot.
This has already started here, and I’m also writing for a new student website/magazine in my uni, as well as a creative writing module at uni. With experience, comes interest and hope, and I always have hope that one day something brilliant will come to me. And I’ll get a job on Cosmo magazine and everything will be amazing. (maybe). 

Do any of you guys make resolutions at the start of uni/school/college as well as new year? Also, how do you like these kind of posts compared to my beauty posts? Let me know, opinions welcome and appreciated!

Review: The Hub – Alehouse & Kitchen

Source Credit to the Hub Website

Only recently have I discovered this gem of a restaurant and it’s fast becoming one of my new favourite places in the city. It’s a more high end pub owned by the Bistro Qui? Ltd (many of you will have walked past Bistro Jaques: Hardman Street of the same owners) and is situated in the Casartelli building at the end of Hanover Street (around the corner from John Lewis at Liverpool ONE). The gorgeous interior makes it something a little bit different, with exposed pipes and copper pans hanging from the ceiling: it’s the perfect combination of buzzing restaurant without the prices that will make you weep.

Source Credit to the Hub Website

I’ve visited twice now – once for lunch, once for dinner – and feel it’s now my job to spread the word! It also opens for breakfast which I am very tempted to try out soon! The menu’s are varied: the lunch and dinner menus both consist of mains, lite bites/starters, pizza, cheese boards and desserts; plus there is also a children’s menu available. When I visited for lunch, it was pretty quiet and service was rapid. I ordered ‘Stuffed Potato Skins, Cheese and Bacon’ from the ‘Lite Bites’ menu (all dishes under £5, and they feature offers such as 3 dishes for £10.95). Lite bites suggests that portions will be small (especially for the price) but when they arrived – with side orders of chips and crusty bread – my friend and I were pleasantly surprised:
Safe to say, we were completely full by the time we had finished eating, and the food was excellent. The Lunch Menu also features sandwiches, pizza and a selection of mains also available in the evening. The interior of the restaurant and the friendly staff meant that the atmosphere was amazing, even at a quiet time, and the bill came to less than £10 each!

So by now, I wanted to see how dinner compared to that tasty lunch! This time, we went on a Friday evening and the place was packed out with people enjoying some after work nibbles, or having a few drinks before hitting the town. A slight hitch to the start of proceedings was handled smoothly – they hadn’t made a note of our telephone booking. However, by the time we’d ordered drinks from the crowded bar, our table was ready and the staff were apologetic.

Between us, we ordered: 2x 8oz Steak Burger (served with bacon, cheddar cheese, chips and ‘hub-slaw’, 8oz ‘Conway Valley’ Fillet Steak (with chips, tomato and field mushroom) and Salmon (with saffron rice). The food arrived without too much of a delay, given how full the restaurant was, and the burger was really lovely. I’d never had a steak burger before – and you weren’t offered a preference of how it was cooked – but I found mine was just right at medium-well done. I don’t have a picture to show you guys, but it arrived on a massive plate with a side salad and chips. The salmon was enjoyed (although he wished he’d got the burger in hindsight) but the steak probably could be improved. For £18.95, it’s the most expensive main on the menu, but it was pretty small and only came with a couple of chips and two tomatoes. Although it was great quality, a little bit more quantity probably would have been more filling for an evening meal. New drinks were offered frequently, but even with the three I was with all drinking cocktails and whiskey (booo to being designated driver, sitting left out with my cokes ! ), the total bill came to £95 between us for food for four, plus all our drinks.

Source Credit to the Hub Website

Maybe not somewhere to visit frequently when you’re running low on money, but if you’re in need of a little treat or celebration I would urge you to get down to The Hub. It’s perfect for birthday drinks (especially if you visit in Happy Hour: 5-6.30 where you get 2 cocktails for £8, or 2 jugs for £25) or a family meal. Full of 20-somethings getting ready to forget about work for the weekend, The Hub is one of my new favourite places to eat in Liverpool City Centre.

The Hub: Alehouse & Kitchen can be found at 16 Hanover Street.
Call 0151 709 2401 to book a table or visit http://www.thehub-liverpool.com