Is University really all that?


I’ve often asked myself the same question over and over. There’s an expectation that university is going to be the best years of your life and perhaps that’s true for some. BUT that hasn’t applied for myself. It’s alright, the social life is good but I wouldn’t choose to stay here any longer.

I’ve always been a relatively anxious person but my mental health was pretty damn good before uni, yes, I suffered from OCD but it wasn’t debilitating and I could speak with ease and often with confidence in front of people. Now, two and a half years into my Uni course I’m petrified of attending seminars, I can’t participate in activities that involve speaking and I often feel down in the dumps. It’s quite possible that the anxiety would have revealed itself later on in life but uni seems to be a breeding ground for mental illness.

It’s strange really. Why should this be the case? I think a lot of it comes down to pressure—surprisingly enough not necessarily pressure associated with the degree. I’m talking about the pressure to behave in a certain way, to prove your popularity, your masculinity or your femininity. We all get absorbed into this belief that if we act in a certain way we are respected and for that we choose to neglect people in favour for those who don’t necessarily have the best intentions for us. Of course, the workload and degree related stress compounds the issue but as uni students its nothing we haven’t dealt with before.

I’ve used the pronoun ‘we’ on several occasions but now it’s time to talk about my personal experience. I’ve changed the way I look drastically—I wear Nike jumpers, ripped jeans and airforces to adhere to a certain image. I want to be recognised and respected for what I wear—and in all honesty nobody really bats an eyelid and why should they? I’m an outgoing, quirky reasonably funny type of guy and yet I often hide that side of myself to avoid judgement. I never used to care what people thought about me but when I went to uni and after finishing with my ex-girlfriend all of that changed. There was no way out, I couldn’t just leave and so I cracked.

Don’t get me wrong I love going out and being with friends but it’s become a habit. Without the nightlife and the football there’s nothing much to do. I use clubbing as an excuse to do something—yes, I enjoy it, but that doesn’t really justify going out two or even three times a week especially in my final year.


If you’ve read this and you are thinking about going to university I don’t want to discourage you from doing so. Truth is, uni is a different experience for all of us—for some it’s the platform for a great career but for others, like myself it’s been a learning curb. It hasn’t been awful but I wouldn’t want to do it again.

Thank you for reading and please do feel free to share in the comments.

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Therapy and Me

For those of you that don’t know I’m currently receiving my second session of therapy after a short spell last summer. In all honesty, I don’t know how effective it’s really been I mean it’s good to talk to people but it hasn’t reduced my anxiety and certainly hasn’t ‘cured’ it (I use the term loosely as I understand that the anxiety will most likely always be with me).

After our last session, my therapist told me that I have five sessions left until the course is up. It hit me that over the seven weeks I haven’t really dealt with the problem—partly because I’m reluctant to do so but also because I feel my therapist is content with discussing the issue rather than dealing with it directly. She often asks me how I’m going to tackle the problem, but I simply don’t know how. I’m too polite to turn around and tell her that I want her to answer that question so I make up a response knowing full well I won’t go through with it.

The term therapist is in itself interesting. According to Google the actual definition is as follows: a person who treats psychological problems; a psychotherapist. Therefore, I would challenge the role of my therapist as I perceive her to suit the role of a counsellor rather than a therapist— there is no real desire to cure but the obligation to listen is evident.


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I’d be very interested in hearing your own experience with therapy. How successful was it? Did you have more than one therapist? How many times have you had therapy and was it for the same issues?

Negativism: A Disease

So yesterday I was supposed to deliver a speech to small group of people on my dissertation. I’ve been worrying about it all week and the thought of it made me feel sick with nerves. As expected, I didn’t sleep very well the night before and woke up several times during the night… frustrating. The following morning, I stayed in bed till 11 AM and skipped my lectures to concentrate on the speech. I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to do it but I tried to talk myself into it.

I used motivational videos on YouTube to inspire me and for a brief moment I really did believe I could do it. A very brief moment indeed. I managed to force some food down me and despite the pit in my stomach I left the house and made a slow walk to campus. At this point, I’d pretty much accepted that I would panic and it’s these negative beliefs that fuel the anxiety.

I stepped into the building before turning around and heading out as soon as someone else walked in. I went back in and attempted to enter the room and sit down… I just couldn’t. I froze at the sight of the people in the room and inevitably I left.

I was overwhelmed with disappointment and the rest of the day was pretty much written off. I’ve realised that my mind is infected with negative thoughts which only damage my self-esteem—it is my job to challenge these and I’ve given myself the target to be more optimistic in the hope that I can turn things around.

Although I failed, I’m hopeful that one day I will be able to go through with such a task as I refuse to give up.

Mental Health and Tinder


In the modern-day there’s a lot of emphasis on dating particularly through social media and Tinder is amongst a dozen dating apps that look to exploit that. In this post, I am going to explore the impact Tinder has on our self-esteem and overall mental health.

Match Chat Date

 ‘Match Chat Date’… if only it was that easy. Tinder advertises their dating app as a three-step process which can be quite misleading. There certainly isn’t any process to follow that will guarantee you a date for the simple reason that humans don’t function like that. It’s unnatural to try and force something and a match doesn’t even guarantee you a reply let alone a date.

Right of Left?

 Tinder follows a simple procedure—you swipe right if you find someone attractive or left if you do not. There is a limit (unless you purchase premium) as to how many profiles you can swipe right on within a set-time limit. Now for example, let’s say you swipe right on 20 profiles in a day and yet there is not a single match, this can lead one to assume that they haven’t been liked back resulting in lower self-esteem and frustration.

Super Like

 The un-paid tinder subscription permits you with one super-like a day which can be used on a profile you find more attractive than any other. Tinder has introduced a ‘daily hot picks’ section which features the most popular profiles throughout the day. As a male, it can be particularly damaging to self-esteem when there is no recognition after you super liked a profile—hence why I restrain from doing so.

Unmatching

 In some cases, a match will unmatch you whether you’ve had a brief conversation or not it can damage self-confidence. Some people use Tinder willy nilly meaning that they swipe right on all profiles to see how many matches they can accumulate—the problem with this is the person on the receiving end may end up with false hope and ultimately a pie in the face.

Stats

A study showsthat only around 50% of matches message back which means that a lot of the time your message is either ignored or forgotten about. This can often lead to lower self-esteem and a deep resentment towards one’s personal appearance.


With this in mind, I appreciate that Tinder can provide benefits so I’m not completely against the idea but this post focuses solely on the drawbacks.

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4 Simple Steps to Manage Exam Stress


 

Revision and exams can be a difficult period for many reasons— as touched upon in my previous post, exams can affect our lifestyle. Whether you’re forced to cut down on the gym, change your diet or sleep less, exams can cause frustration. In light of this matter, I have decided to follow a plan to help manage stress and anxiety.


Routine

I’ve often made the mistake of revising deep into the night and to be frank it just isn’t healthy. I decided to follow a schedule which involved waking up earlier, revising in the day and switching off at night. I find having a routine helps manage work which in turn reduces stress levels and subsequent anxiety.


Exercise

OK I’m not telling you to spend all your time in the gym but consider exercising for a short period for a couple of times a week. I find the gym is a place to let off steam and any frustration built up inside—this way you can benefit from any negative energy and return to your work with a clear mind.


Water

Sounds obvious, right? Believe it or not a lot of us forget to drink water throughout the day—relying on energy drinks or caffeine boosts but water is scientifically proven to help with concentration. So, ditch that coffee for a nice, cold glass of water!


Sleep

Drawing upon the first point, I’d strongly recommend to plan your work around your sleeping schedule—allow for at least 7-8 hours a night which will help you to feel refreshed when it comes to revision. Stick to a schedule that allows this amount of rest and try not to compromise sleep for work. I understand that some of us struggle with sleeping difficulties but at least try and rest even if you’re just laying down.


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