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.