There’s something that I often feel guilty or ashamed about when I think back over my time at university – and no, it’s not the amount of alcohol or stupid decisions that I made… nor the fact that I probably should have gone to a few more lectures! Instead, it’s the feeling that I didn’t love university as much as everyone else seemed to.
I know that people often say that university will be ‘the time of your life’ or that it’s an opportunity that you’ll never get to have again… and for the most part, I do agree with that. It’s a great way to grow up, to gain some independence and to get out of your comfort zone.
However, today I wanted to write a little bit about my own university experience, and why it’s okay that I don’t look back on those three-years with the fondest memories.
I realise that even though this might seem like a bit of a Debbie-downer blog or it may even come across as ungrateful (believe me, I know how lucky I am to have had this opportunity) I wanted to write about it honestly, because I know that a lot of people might experience the same things that I did.
It’s easy to feel like everyone else had the best time ever and that you’re the only one that’s not. But believe me, here are a few of the reasons I found university tricky and some advice on how to cope with it.
I had really REALLY loved school
My final year at school was literally one of the best years of my life. I had the most awesome friends around me (who are still my closest pals to this day) and I was fulfilled, happy and so confident in myself. I found the start of university very isolating, lonely and difficult. I was a little fish in an absolutely enormous pond and it took some time to find my feet with that. My advice in this case is to put yourself out there as much as possible. I attended all the college freshers events, I went to societies and I think ultimately that was the thing that really helped me.
I’m a home bird and got homesick
Sad but true. I really missed my family. I was only an hour or two away on the train, so I made regular trips back, but particularly during second year, my family felt so far away and I hated it! My suggestion is booking in the next time that you’re going to see each other… it really helps to have something to look forward to!
I lived with someone I knew I didn’t like
Okay, this one is harsh, but very true. When it came to deciding the housing situation for the next year I ended up living with 5 other people… one of which, was quite frankly not a very nice person. She started drama over anything, she was bitchy and tried to isolate me behind my back and she was just a big red flag of toxic friendship. I’ve learned to listen to my gut from this experience, but in hindsight, I would have been much happier living with some course friends.
My mental health was not well managed
TW// When I was in sixth form I was struggling most with my restrictive eating, my binging and purging and I was genuinely very unwell. I started university with a badly managed eating disorder and the freedom of being under my own control meant that it was able to spiral very quickly. In my freshers week I binged on an entire bag of custard creams and then threw them up, before going out drinking. I had nobody checking up on me and I was able to starve and alternate binging alongside this. My parents had no idea as they had threatened previously that unless I got better I couldn’t go to uni. I can only thank my boyfriend at the time for getting me through this one. He’s a proper good egg 🙂
My course probably wasn’t the best choice
I’ve spoken a lot before about my course not being the optimal choice for me. In hindsight, it probably hasn’t changed the way that my career has ultimately panned out, however, I think I’d have enjoyed everything a lot more had I been more passionate about what I was doing. Check out the blog post I’ve linked previously if you’re in the same situation and see if you can resolve the situation.
I guess ultimately, it’s not the end of the world that I didn’t love every single moment. I have the best memories of my netball tour to Croatia, my boyfriend during the first two-years there was a great support and I still speak to and adore the girls that I met on my course. I’m happy that I’ve got a boost for my career and education, and I can’t deny that there were some really good times thrown in amongst the less good.
However, if you’re struggling or finding yourself suffering low-points or bad mental health at university, I urge you to seek help. I wish that I’d had the guts to admit to more people how tough that I was finding things at the time. It’s not shameful to feel like this and I bet more people than you think hide behind a mountain of social media ready images showing them having the best time ever!
Did you enjoy your time at university?