Tag Archive | university

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

Daytime TV Addiction.

Students obsession with daytime television is almost notorious, but I had never really had much interest until the month before my exams started. The week lectures ended was glorious; namely because for somebody living at home like me, it means that the daily hour-long journey to uni is over until September again! While the dedicated post pictures on Facebook of the queues for the library or complain about taking an hour to find a seat, I can sprawl out in the comfort of home and start getting down to exam revision without the stress of fighting the crowds for the best spot in the ‘Silent Zone’.

Smug as I felt when I attempted to collect together all my notes, it was short lived. The progression from music on my laptop (the distraction of online shopping proved too much) to relying on the TV for background noise proved fatal in terms of my concentration. For I had stumbled upon the gems of daytime entertainment – namely shows such as The Jeremy Kyle Show, Judge Judy and repeats of Dragons Den. Now, it has to be said that almost everybody watches these shows when they stumble across them channel-hopping; ‘it’ll be a laugh, why not?’ Well, before long, waking up at 9am to ‘get some real work done today’ actually lead to me creating a schedule of entertainment that by far outlasted any work. An hour of trying to interpret what issues today’s guests on Jeremy Kyle (9.25 on ITV1 if you’re interested) were really on the show for – multiple episodes of cheating, and lie detector tests being a prominent feature – was followed by Judge Judy. If a Dragons Den repeat was on Dave, this was considered a bonus – if not, it was onto old episodes of 10 Years Younger. From loving this show when it was originally shown years ago, realizing that it was actually a humiliating ritual in making 30-40 year old women feel that they cannot possibly be good enough as they are – only surgery and a total makeover can turn their life around.

For the entire of the exam period, this pattern continued. The Jeremy Kyle Show was unsurprisingly the most attention catching of them all: unashamedly loved by almost everyone, the shouting, fights and storming out evoke giggles, gasps of shock or just open mouthed horror from the viewing audience (and myself at home). But the peak came when I found myself crying at an episode. Not tears of laughter, actual tears of sadness at the predicament unfolding on-screen. A 60 year old man had been left with a child he believed was his own for two years, while the mother continued her life of drink, drugs and sex. After providing everything for this child, and swearing he would fight her in court for permanent custody, Jez delivered the fatal blow: ‘The DNA results show that he is….NOT the child’s father’. Well, the heartbreak was clear to see, as the man sobbed his heart out, and the ink of my carefully prepared notes smudged as my own tears fell.

Emotional as this episode was, after the signature music blared I felt immediate self pity. Drastic action was taken: I took the soul destroying journey back to uni, braved the queue for the tiny space in the library, and went cold turkey. Thankfully, the end of exams brought a relief to this addiction – I could go back to the occasional viewing (afternoon of course, 9.25 being a time of the past). I can only hope that the programmed schedule changes soon, so I will no longer turn on the television, already knowing what equally hilarious and mind-numbing talk show is going to distract my attention for the next few hours. It’s a hate-to-love for students everywhere, but these shows will remain addictive for as long as they remain controversial enough to turn our attention from lecture slides on…pretty much anything, it shouldn’t be hard.