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So I'm guessing if you are reading this, you're either a god awful, health deprived student like moi, an uneducated parent who believes their sons/daughters are having the times of their lives (they could be), or someone who is just curious as to why the bloody hell students moan ALL the time.
Anyway, I'm about to delve upon the rather small factors that equate up to the largest of emotional traumas within the frazzling brain of a university student. So, maybe this if for you 9-5 workers who skipped the whole three or more years of university just so you could earn money to get a brand new BMW as soon as possible, in order to look "rich" even though you're still living with mama and papa, this post may just make you realise the stresses of both university and a 9-5 job. And no, this is not me shaming anyone that didn't go to university, it's quite the opposite. I'm fully aware and believe that everyone has a desired path by which they should follow in life. University is kind of like marmite, you're either gonna absolutely love it and succeed even through the blood, weight gain, and tears, or absolutely loathe it, fail everythingm and waste three years of your life (so exactly like marmite...) But what I'm truly sick of, which has been expressed quite frequently through social media (Tweets), is that working a full time job is of no comparison to University and is 100x harder and more stressful; therefore I am here to give my side of the story.
So, I started university September 2016. It was a very big deal moving away from my close friends and family but I was extremely excited for this new venture! But, there is factor number 1, no family, no friends, isolated. Having to cook, clean, look after myself for the first time properly in 18 years was rather different and stressful. I mean I didn't even know how to use the dishwasher or washing machines (£4.50 for a wash and tumble dry if that's not enough to give you a financial heart attack!) but I managed to cook, I survived!
Then it came to making friends, living with people I had no clue who they were and to hear a familiar voice all I had was a phone, no physical contact with friends, nothing. So, these strangers, I'm now sharing a kitchen with, living in the same space as them, my nerves were at an all time high. I felt as though I had no comforting place to go, as I associate "home" with family and that wasn't possible for me. However, I got on with my flatmates, they were nice, and we went on nights out quite a lot, but none of them gave me the warmth or connection I have with my friends at home.
Coming onto factor number 2, the friend issue. Now at university it's rather easy to make friends, join societies, friends on your course etc. Although these "friends" seem to be people that I get on with, they're nice but none of them are my "close" friends if that makes sense? To the point where I could not trust them with my life, and I feel university builds up a culture of people being friends for the sake of having people to be with, rather than true friendship. Of course I like a lot of people at university, but I need the gratification of somebody whom I can solely trust with my life and tell them anything, and that is something I have not found. Loneliness.
Mentally and Physically university has tested me—the undereating, overeating and illness has all been too much on top of deadlines and exams. My so called "home" at university is a small square room, constantly surrounded by the noise of drunken students and the slamming of doors. At least in a full time job you have the comfort of your own home to retreat too, not a lousy, cold room where you get kept up until god knows what time every night due to the student culture. This therefore entices the whole drinking attitude "oh everyone's going out, so I might as well." You don't really want to go out but you feel like you should else you'll be depressed in your room listening to everyone's loud music. Although this depression will however be converted to the following day with lack of money and a banging headache.
Which leads me on to the lack of money factor. If you work in a full time job, the idea of getting a pay check at the end of the money and being able to potentially benefit your life from it can be enough to keep you motivated. But students, 10,000 word dissertations to be handed in a long with other projects/assignments, -£1000 into your overdraft and beans, pot noodles and soup left in your cupboard. Sounds fantastic right?! The only motivation we have is the potential of a good grade, however we still don't know if that good grade will actually land us a good job or not. The fear and stress of money and the future whilst at university is enough to give anybody anxiety, I try my hardest as I want a successful and bright future however the never ending list of assignments makes that mindset extremely hard.
You may be thinking, well if you're trying your hardest, you'll be successful. But to be successful at university normally means missing out on various social events, which leads to being left out of future arrangements and parties making your university life a little more miserable.
Also, when you get home from work, it is quite easy (in most cases) to shut off and do your own thing and not think about work until tomorrow. Unlike university, which has a consistent feeling of dread lurking, even when you are doing the work you're wondering whether this is correct or not or whether you are wasting your time because lecturers tend to actually teach us jack shit as each slide quite literally has sentences on them that don't make sense!
But I don't want you thinking that I'm under the impression that a full time job is easy/easier, of course it isn't! There's the stress everyday of messing up and potentially losing your job, working long hours, getting too and from work, potentially working with people you dislike and the list goes on. I'm purely trying to state that University isn't easy. It has many uplifting wonderful moments and memories that I truly will cherish forever. However, the emotional roller coaster I have ridden has been unbelievable.
For anybody reading this who may potentially want to attend university, even though this article may make university sound bad (I'm just drawing on the bad aspects), it truly is life changing, I've developed life skills, my confidence has immensely grown and I've matured as a person through the good and bad times that university coupled with. You meet so many different people, but I guess that's how life works. At school you were restricted to a relatively small amount of people compared to university. So spread your wings and go for it. Everyone's university experience is different. It's truly the luck of the draw, my dears.