In honour of my last ever day at university, i thought i would share with you my university experience. I’ve split it into two posts because it was pretty long. So this is part 1 and part 2 will be up tomorrow.
I didn’t think about what i was going to do when i left school. Since, in Scotland, university is free for your first degree, it seemed like the right thing, to go and hopefully figure out what i wanted to do with my life. I set my sights on the University of Strathclyde but after an average set of exam results in 5th year, they told me not to even apply. I looked at other universities but they didn’t excite me and i didn’t want to move away from home, so i applied for Strathclyde anyway. I was accepted with my 6th year exam results and started a 4 year BA joint (Hons) in Creative Writing & Journalism and Law.
I started 1st year in September 2013 and i remember at the induction there were thousands of students. All joint honours were technically in the same course and we all did different subjects so it was pretty busy. At the time i started 1st year, i was having a really hard time. I realised the girls i had hung about at school with weren’t actually my friends, i was trying to rebuild relationships with those around me after a bad relationship ended and my mum was recovering from a really serious illness. I was suffering in silence about my anxiety which felt uncontrollable. I was also really down all the time and just felt really lonely and misunderstood.
I clung onto a few girls who weren’t that interested in being my friends but all of my classes were so big and they were the only familiar faces in both my journalism and my law classes. They girls also made friends with someone who i used to know through my ex-boyfriend. This new girl was pretty cold to me and repeatedly tried to push me out, the girls would all do things together and not include me but talk about them in front of me. My anxiety made me incredibly shy so i didn’t even attempt to make other friends. I lived at home and all the extra-curricular activities were late in the evenings so it made it pretty tricky to get involved. In the end i just didn’t bother.
Around Christmas of that year, my mood was really low, all the time. At the same time, my alopecia was getting worse and to the point, i was struggling to hide it so i had zero confidence. I was just really angry at everything and everyone and i was really struggling with the loneliness of university. One night i got dangerously drunk at a party and told my parents and a few friends that i really didn’t want to be here. I tried to cover it up the next day and i think they believed me but my mum definitely keeping a close eye on me.
Around Easter the next year, after a few more breakdowns, i finally admitted to my mum that i needed help. I stressed more about my anxiety than my low mood because i felt like i didn’t really have a reason to be so down all the time and i was ashamed that i felt that way. I went to the doctor and they gave me anti-depressants to try and get a grip on it while i waited on therapy. I really considered not going back to university but i didn’t know what else i could do.
I started 2nd year in September 2014 and was determined to get away from my 1st year “friends”. I made friends with one of the other shy girls in my creative writing class and although we were both as quiet as each other, it was nice to just have someone there and because of that, i didn’t bother trying to make friends in law classes as i found the classes much easier when i was paying attention.
All while, i was getting counselling for my anxiety and low mood but the woman wasn’t that great. She specialised in eating disorders so she kept trying to relate everything that was wrong with me to an eating disorder but i didn’t have one. I counted calories like every other teenage girl with a slow metabolism but it was nothing out of the ordinary. She made me realise though, that a counsellor couldn’t fix me, the only person who could help me was myself. It was around this time i read Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, i knew of Zoella but didn’t watch her videos. That book really helped me because i understood a bit more about what was happening to me and why, i also felt a bit less alone. Since then, i’ve been watching Zoella and other Youtuber’s religiously and has given me an escapism i’d never experienced before.
2nd year was a quiet one for me, i still didn’t really have too many friends but my anxiety was interfering with my ability to build relationships so i was happy with what i did have. I had my part time job as well, where i was getting more and more responsibility and had a really good relationship with the people there so i kind of loved it. I was scared to tell anyone i had anxiety incase they didn’t believe me or didn’t want to be my friend because of it. This didn’t help with my shyness but i became much more comfortable around a few people.
So that is part 1 of my university experience. Part 2, featuring my 3rd and final year will be posted tomorrow night at 8pm so be sure to follow me on word press or on my social medias if you want to read that. I promise, it gets a bit more upbeat!
I really hope you enjoyed this post, if you’ve shared your university experience please leave a link in the comments below or leave it in a comment. I absolutely love reading them and i think it can be pretty helpful!
– Gemma Lynsey
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