When I made the decision to go to university, I did so because I simply didn’t know what else to do. I was terrified of getting stuck in my hometown and never doing anything with my life. All I knew was that I wanted to travel. I had no idea how to get started or what options were available to me, as far as I knew it was either university, apprenticeship or working my dead end fast-food restaurant job for the rest of my life. The night shift manager I worked with had started at the restaurant when he was 16, 20 years on he was still there. ‘You’ve been here 2 years now, you’re a lifer’ he laughed. Prompted by that horrific notion and encouragement from my family who really wanted me to go, I enrolled for university. I got my first choice and in 2014 off I went, full of excitement and anticipation for the adventure that lay ahead.
I’m going to be honest, I have had some fantastic experiences at uni. I’ve met some lovely people, I’ve travelled to Asia, I’ve met my wonderful partner and I’ve gained a lot of independence. Perhaps at some point I’ll make a comparison post, listing the good experiences I’ve had. However, unfortunately the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Firstly, I do not care about the degree I am pursuing. I picked something I am somewhat interested in but I am not passionate about. For anyone reading that is considering university, you have to choose something you really, really care about. People told me this when I enrolled and I didn’t take it seriously. Now I realise. You have to live and breathe your degree subject, especially in your final year. If you don’t care about what you’re doing you’re going to struggle immensely and ultimately, you will not get a good grade. I didn’t know what to choose, my priority was getting out of my hometown, the actual degree didn’t matter to me. Now, with the unbelievable, completely unmanageable amount of reading I have to do I’m really struggling to make myself to do it. I just don’t care.
When I finish university, I will be in roughly £54,000 debt. I have struggled to live these past three years, working a lot to fund myself through university, I get the larger loan due to how much (or rather, how little) my parents earn and this still is not enough. Tuition fees are constantly rising and in my first year I paid £9,000 per academic year for 8 hours a week of lectures and seminars. A friend of mine, at the same university paid the same amout for 25 hours a week. The prices I paid for my student house were extortionate, particularly considering the landlord never saw to any of the problems we contacted them about including a shit load of mould, a leaking toilet and various other issues. This landlord is also set to charge us almost £2000 for having the house professionally cleaned when we move out and other such fees. The house did not look like it had been professionally cleaned when we moved in, that’s for sure! This landlord has also turned out to be a racist, sexist, homophobic, elitist, megalomanic who is making my life hell but that’s another story entirely. The new place I have moved to is not a student property, it is a flatshare, the bedroom and bathroom are much larger than those in my previous house and I pay almost £100 less – all bills included. The landlord is much kinder and quick to see to any problems we’ve had. Why is student accommodation/landlords so much more… unaccommodating?!
I have no spare time and no money to do anything anyway. I wake up, I do uni work, I tidy the flat, I go to uni, I go straight from uni to work, I come home late at night, do more uni work, briefly talk with my partner when he gets in from work at around midnight, and then I go to bed. That is it. That is my life. And I know its not forever, I know there’s only 6 months or so left, but living like this makes me so miserable.
And now, the stress. This is the worst one for me. I never really had anxiety issues, no more than the average ‘worrier’ until I came to university. Now, as a combination of university itself, an unpleasant situation with the aforementioned nasty landlord and somewhat due to some shitty ‘friends’, I am suffering every day. I have a permanent sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, meaning I’ve completely lost my appetite. I’m exhausted all of the time, I can fall asleep at any moment, not only because I am so tired but also because sleep is my only release. The only waking time I feel almost okay is when I’m doing yoga. I have regular anxiety attacks, my brain and my gut are working overtime constantly, I feel like someone has pressed the fast forward button on me. I can’t relax, I can’t stop thinking. There’s always something I should be doing, everything I do is never good enough. Whatever I do is never quite up to scratch. I don’t remember the last time I felt good for more than 5 minutes before some university related issue brought me crashing back to reality. I’m considering taking medication to calm myself down, let myself space out for a little just to get away from the stress.
All in all, for me, university has not been worth the stress or the money. I am tired, I am weak and I have had enough. I do not want to live like this. I wish I had dropped out when I considered it at the end of the first term of my second year. I stuck with it because I had gotten so far. I should have quit back then. I cannot wait for it to be over because right now I hate my life.
I’ll make a reflective post on my university days in the future. It will be interesting to see if I feel different later on.
Sorry to be such a drag.