Tag Archive | student

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

A Young, Biased and Optimistic Take on Relationships.

NB: this entry may contain dire cheesy comments or sections. I apologise to anybody who feels sick to their stomach reading this. But it might make some people happy too. So I suppose, on balance, it’s worth going ahead with.

I’m 20 years old (21 in November). I have been in a relationship for two and a half years. A few months before that, I was in a relationship for a year and a half. Basically, I’ve been in a relationship since I was sixteen. Even in the time between my two proper relationships, I wasn’t really looking for anyone other than the guy I’d already fallen for. Most younger people write about being single, partying, going home with people. I’m here for the other side.

I think a lot of it has to do with personality. While I like going out, it’s for my friends. I like having a dance, funny moments, catching up with people I miss while they’re away at uni. On nights where I look up and I’m surrounded by people I don’t know, I get uncomfortable.

  1. They’re usually guys.
  2. I have no interest in speaking to them because I will never see them again.
  3. I don’t want you to touch me. Please stop trying to dance behind me.
  4. No. I don’t want a picture with you. Why do I want pictures with some random 40-year-old man? Ew. Get away from me.

The things I look forward to on a night are getting dressed up, dancing, cocktails, the inevitable McDonald’s and going home to my boyfriend. Because even though I’m young – and who knows, maybe one day I will look back and regret not getting out there and making those kind of mistakes while I can. But, even though I’m young, I love knowing there’s somebody that cares if I get home safely, but wants me to go out with my friends and have a ball. That will leave me to have a good time and not try to control what I wear or do, but will pick me up and laugh at the stupid drunken things I say. I see it as the best of both worlds.

A lot of students, or people my age will say ‘I don’t want to be tied down’. I totally agree. I’ve felt envious at times, and even wished I’d met my boyfriend a year or so later in life so I could have had the option of just having fun if I’d have wanted. Maybe I would be a different person if I haven’t been in such committed relationships at this age. But the person I am now thinks that maybe it never would have been me. And I think my relationships have brought out good things in me.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t know who I am, alone. Outside the part of my identity that links me to somebody else. I think a lot of people think that being serious with somebody means that you can’t be your own person. Like ‘salt ‘n’ pepper’, you’re always linked. But that’s not how it has to be. And I have such strong opinions about a lot of things that I must know my own mind. Because lots of them are different to my boyfriends. Phew.

My opinion is that the only time being in a long relationship so young is detrimental is if you don’t want to be there. I met a couple a few years ago (who are now engaged) but the guy was always looking elsewhere. Even if it never lead anywhere. This is pointless. Be single, get out there. Being in a relationship for being afraid of being alone is never good. Being alone and you is a thousand times better than being with somebody you don’t love with everything you have. Wait for somebody worth it.

I strongly believe that if somebody comes into your life that is properly special, don’t let them go. No matter what your age. Some people meet their life partner (for lack of a better word) in childhood. Some do when they’re 50. Some don’t need or want anybody else. What matters is we do the right thing for us. And even if I wanted things to be different for a short time, or took what people said about it not being worth it if it doesn’t last to be true, I don’t think I’d regret how I spent my youth. Because I’ve been really lucky to find someone who makes me happy.