Before I get into this topic, I just want to say that I am so incredibly grateful for the support this blog is getting. I never ever expected to have so many views so early on, or even ever, and to know that the audience is wider than just in the UK where most the people I know are is incredible.
Now onto the topic, I’d just like to first of all say this is my opinion. I can’t comment on other people’s experiences because I’m my own person but what I can say is my opinion is definitely shared by a lot of students I have met and spoke to. No one ever told me prior to university how it would affect me, or even what university consisted of; as far as I was aware PRIOR TO JOINING university was about the nightlife and the work would be easier. That’s not true. It couldn’t be any more from the truth.
I always wanted to use university as a fresh start, how I saw it was I deserved a fresh start after everything I got put through during school. I was not a good student and receiving my unconditional from Plymouth University was a sign to me, it was finally my shot to move out and on from the past. I had people I knew down in Plymouth already and did ask about the night out scene, I got told it was very rave-y and most the clubs were very drug-fuelled. I don’t do drugs, never have and never will so finding that out terrified me. I knew I’d never be peer-pressured into anything as I am strongly anti-drugs (for myself) but I still didn’t want to risk feeling outcasted before I even got to university. My best advice is don’t just look up what is the best university for your course but look at the city and find out if you will be comfortable there for three years.
I was never a clever person, as I always say my sister has the ‘book smarts’ and I have the ‘life smarts’. I was made for living and I have a lot of common sense, sorry Cayley you really don’t have any. Therefore, choosing a university based on grades or league tables wasn’t even a way of thinking; I applied for five universities which with my predicted grades I could not get into. I received 3 offers and 2 unconditionals off a personal statement which I didn’t write by myself; I truly believe I got into university on a fluke, but I took that and turned it into fate. I was terrified, my school never did Sociology, so I actually had no prior knowledge of the topic. I turned up and I immediately knew I was going to have to work my a** off to compete with the other students.
Choosing a course was very difficult for me, I knew I wanted to be a psychiatrist and that I didn’t want to go to university. I told my head of sixth form this and he told me to go for Sociology, I didn’t realise that for the exact job I wanted I was doing the wrong degree. It took me a year and 2 months to find out that I was doing the wrong degree, I was broken. But I carried on, I looked at other career routes that would be possible and tried to ignore the fact that my dream job had just been ripped from me. I know that I should’ve done the research myself, I do know it is partly my fault, but I also know I wouldn’t have gone to university had I not been told this was the only way into that job. Please if you read just one thing about my blog, DO YOUR RESEARCH. You do not want to regret it down the line, it’s heart-breaking.
Lectures. Go to your lectures. I am such a hypocrite but trust me when it got close to the deadlines, I regretted it. I used to not go if my friends weren’t going too, as I would feel too anxious to sit alone, trust me I regret that so bad. I wish I’d done more to help my degree, but I genuinely didn’t take it that seriously. I think I got too hooked up on the fact I was away from home that I forgot about the education part of why I was away from home; that and my extensive list of health problems over the course of university which left me hiding inside a lot.
Nightlife. Before university I was a huge lightweight, one double vodka lemonade was usually enough for me to be tipsy and I generally avoided clubbing as I was not keen on being in a room with a bunch of sweaty people. University changed that; in my three years I can count the amount of times I missed a night out I was invited to on one hand. I learnt that to enjoy clubbing you need to have a good group around you, all of my friends at university had such good vibes that clubbing was just so much fun. I should really advocate that drinking yourself to oblivion doesn’t solve anything and can be very regretful, but at the same time that would be very hypocritical of me. Just be safe with whatever you do. Also, you don’t need to get drunk every time you get out, I’ve got so many memories of good nights out where I’ve had two drinks maximum. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of my funniest night out memories come from being quite intoxicated, once again just be safe and watch your drinks (there are some really vile people out there who will spike you and it’s so scary please watch out).
They don’t lie when they say you meet your best friends at university. They don’t lie when they say you work out who your true friends are when you go to university. I moved 4 hours away from home and I kept in constant contact with my friends, I was doing weekly check-in’s with majority of them making sure things were definitely good. When I got re-diagnosed with depression, I stopped calling people and I noticed people stopped speaking to me, rarely would I get a message first especially not one asking how I was doing. I realised I had very little true friends and cut off my one-sided friendships, that was hard especially at a time where I felt so lonely and down. I met some amazing people at university and though I don’t expect I will stay friends with them all there are a few who I hope to keep forever.
The people you meet in freshers rarely end up being your friends 4 weeks down the line, your flatmates don’t always work out but if you are lucky you end up meeting your best friends and making the most incredible memories. Moving so far away from home it wasn’t as simple as if I was feeling lonely, I could go home or visit my mates; they lived pretty far away from me and same with my family. Luckily, I met some incredible people but not everyone gets that lucky. The best advice I could give regarding this is go to a university away from home, get that freedom but don’t make it impossible for you to get home. If things go downhill you will need to get home, I can’t even imagine how much money I spent on last minute train journeys. I luckily could afford it but not everyone is in that position.
So, all in all, university was the best years of my life but looking at my life that statement doesn’t mean much. I entered university anxious and I left still insecure but so confident; I have the most amazing friends out there and I know for a fact that I cannot shot alcohol. University was the worst years of my life too, I battled with numerous health problems, physio for my knee, two relatives’ deaths, a friend’s death, re-diagnosis of depression and some other things which are very much hidden away. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without these experiences; I wouldn’t be the woman I am if I hadn’t spent countless nights crying to myself or drowning my trauma with vodka (trust me IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA).
To anyone beginning university, honestly, I wish you the best. I hope you have all the positives of university with none of the negatives. Girls always travel in packs, don’t leave a vulnerable girl behind EVER; watch your drinks also. Unfortunately, disgusting people breed around students whether it be students or not and they take any chance they can. Don’t feel pressurized into anything; drugs, alcohol, sex or anything. If you don’t want to do it. Say no. Get out of the situation. I know it’s hard but look after yourselves. The world isn’t as rosy as schools tend to portray it as when pushing students towards university.
Anyway, hopefully my next post ends a little bit lighter than this did. I’m trying to keep to a schedule of posting but I’m currently quite busy sorting other things in my life out so I’m trying my best to get things out every other day but can’t promise anything.
ALSO HAPPY ONE DIRECTION 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY. I’ve been in my Harry Styles top all day listening to them basically hoping for some content which is yet to come. 14 year old me is quaking at the suspense.