Sunday 17 June 2018

How University Broke Me

I've been speaking to a few people about my experience at University, and thought I'd write up a little post in case more of you want to hear how my time went...

When I look back now to nearly four years ago when I begun University, a lot has changed.

I was a lot slimmer, albeit I had a little belly it was nothing compared to my permanent food baby. I was a lot happier within my own skin, and had just begun an exciting adventure. I had suffered with untreated social anxiety from my teenage years, but I had been growing out of it and developing my social skills.

My finances weren't great, I had to get help from my parents to pay my deposit for my first year house and everyday spending. When my student loan actually came in I paid my rent for the first term in full so the rest was to save or spend. I had a rough budget for food each week, around £20-£25 but I used to raid the reduced section like a pro.

I'd started collating friends on my course and sampling the university lifestyle.

Flash forward to now:

I'm probably the heaviest I've ever been, the most unhappy I've been in my own skin since discovering my stretch marks a few years back. I try to cover up so people won't notice but it's getting to a point where I just look like a huge blob.

And I've more or less left University how I entered it, with no-one except my boyfriend; Connor.

How does that make me feel? Well in all honesty it's a whole mixture of emotions. I'm starting to prepare my mind and my body to shift my un-wanted pounds (post or video to come soon if I find the motivation). I do mourn the University experience I didn't get to live. Sure I went on nights out and learned how to cope on my own (just about). But uni has been tainted by all the bad memories, the stress, drama and fall outs.

I often wonder what it would be like if I hadn't of gone and gotten around £50,000 in debt, and went out and got some real experience in the industry. I would be far more employable that's for sure. Yes, I have a shiny degree I've worked for, but I don't have the experience, or enough of it to be desirable.

University has opened a few doors for me, I wouldn't have gotten most of my experience without it. But, I can't help but feel that if I had maybe done an apprenticeship or an internship I might've gotten more.

The main consequence of going to uni was how much my mental health deteriorated, and the domino effect of how that changed me as a person. As mentioned before there was a time were I was surrounded by lovely friends and going out each week. I started getting stress induced anxiety during my first year but I didn't really pick up on how bad my mental health was until second year. This was through all of my physical anxiety symptoms disrupting my life. When I started to seek help, it was the best thing to have happened to me.

However, during my counselling my Granny got seriously ill and passed away, and then the day after her funeral My Bedroom Caught Fire. These were two HUGE setbacks and I had to work even harder to try and survive each day. To be able to cope with all of this I decided to move back home with my Mum, so that I could have a bit of sanctuary where it was peaceful and I felt like I had my own space again.

By doing this it detached me from University life. It was a lot harder to go out now, I was becoming more isolated and friendships started to crumble. I didn't want to lose that close-ness but I wasn't the same person who started University anymore. I wasn't their friend, I was now a complete stranger who couldn't promise them the friendship they once had. But, my mental health benefited more from it, I had more alone time to focus on myself.

Even though I was doing better and my grades were excelling in my third year, a lot of damage had been done. I was extremely forgetful, my self confidence plummeted along with my self belief and of course I had to deal with my anxiety, PTSD and depression on a daily basis.

If I could go back to before University with all of this information and chose to do it again, I wouldn't. I know I've learned a lot from this experience but I lost so much at the same time. I lost myself, my friendships and two family members. My Dad used to say to me that it was much more important that I left University with my health, rather than beating myself up so much for a shiny degree.

I do believe that University can be a good thing for some people, some career paths you may need a degree to work your way up, or some people might want to go into academia. It's also okay to go if you want to have the experience of University if you have a passion or interest in a specific subject. I just think that in the end University wasn't for me. When I realised that, it was too late.

So there's my story. I know I may have skimmed over areas, but I didn't want waffle too much. I just wanted to cover my story as to what went wrong for me.

My lovely friend Lily, has written a post about her choice to not go to University.

I would love to hear about your experiences of going to University, or if you didn't!

Love Saffron x

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