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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Heavyweight

 


Young faces ponder

At the fright of the picture

An outward look of danger

As we seek to wander

The words are like scripture

Spoken from the boy in the manger


What stands before us is no man of god

He tells us to worry like never before

Our hearts start to pound as we freeze on the spot

Nothing to do but listen and nod

He tells us again, we must not ignore

No man in the manger can save this sweet cot


We learn to accept him as our closest friend

He’s selfish like that, lets not pretend

He’ll keep you awake with the familiar sound

An abundance of energy that’s what you’ll spend

So save up your pennies we’re near to the end

Like weight on your shoulders he’ll put on a pound


white feathers illustration
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HIT THE TARGET

note notebook notes page
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January the third and I’ve already reverted back to old habits. I set my alarm for 10.00 am today but yes you guessed it I over slept. This anxiety malarky has a habit of making us feel completely drained, that and a messed up sleeping pattern leads to the finger hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s funny really, I got myself so worked up about my New Year’s Resolutions and barely a day in it’s already going Pete Tong!


I suppose the purpose of this post is to understand that not everything will go the way we want it to. There’s no point in setting goals if we don’t consider the drawbacks. As Charles de Gaulle said ‘We may have lost the battle but we have not lost the war.’ The year is 365 days long so that means we have 365 opportunities to succeed… but also to fail. Don’t get me wrong of course we all want to do well but its important to remind yourself that some days just aren’t meant to be. And that is completely fine.


I’ve written a list this year so my resolutions are in black and white. But then it hit me, why not set short-term goals throughout the year that are more realistic? You see New Year resolutions are all-well and good but lets face it by the second week of January you’re already giving up! And that is exactly why I’ve chosen to set myself targets for the month in order to deal with my current situation.


To start with my targets for January are as follows:

  1. Ace exams
  2. Attend lectures/seminars
  3. Drink less

So there you have it! My attendance at uni hasn’t been great over the last year and thats largely to do with how I’ve been feeling. As you may be aware, I become extremely anxious in certain situations that involve public speaking and the seminar environment is a prime example of that. I know its important to attend (well according to my tutor’s) so I have to at least try… but even as I type this I know it won’t be easy.


On a final note, I hope everyone is able to achieve their own targets whatever they may be! For myself, 2019 is an opportunity to really find my feet again. Just remember it’s OK to not be OK there are people that can help.

Feel free to comment below your own targets for 2019!


SIMPLYMILESH

Check out this book by Catherine Pittmann which deals with tackling anxiety for good!

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