University: It's Okay To Not Be Okay!

2 weeks ago, I packed up mum and dads cars and set off to York University. I was excited yet nervous, I didn’t feel old enough to be going to university yet the thought of all the exciting new opportunities pushed that to the side. It was going to be Freshers week, I was going to have the freedom to live on my own and I was going to study a course that for the past 2 years I had grown to love.
Yet 4 days later, I returned back home…

People had always told me, “university will be the time of your life” yet here I was ill, homesick and not having “the time of my life”. So what was I doing wrong??

Nothing it turns out, and it also turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling this way! You know those talks in school where they convince you that once you get through Alevels all the worries and stresses will disappear and suddenly life will be simple. The photos you see appear on your Facebook as older siblings and older friends disappear off to uni and spend all their student loan on alcohol and party everyday. Well, they miss out some bits.

Yes, freshers week is a blast- well it was for the three nights that I lasted. Meeting new people, and living in a flat of them is interesting, noisy but a lot of fun. The 9am lectures are as painful as everyone says, and freshers flu is real.

But what you don’t get told about is that sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan. That’s not saying always…nearly everyone of my friends is loving university and their new life there. But I guess what I’m trying to say is, for some people it doesn’t…and that is ok.

It took me a long time to convince myself that by dropping out of uni and moving to the university in my home town I wasn’t failing. I wasn’t disappointing anyone and most of all people weren’t going to say “you should have tried harder”…at least not the important people. I spent nights searching for the reasons to stay and comparing these to the reasons to go; my dislike for the course, the lack of support for when life threw me of course, getting lost everytime I left the building and the fact that I literally had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I knew, mentally I wasn’t ready to be away from home and the support network that I had built up. Yet, I was 18, this is what people did and so I kept pushing myself despite crying to various friends most nights.

I tried to force myself through giving myself a target..get to the end of next week and you can see the family and that sort of thing. I even tried to laugh and drink my way through the confusion and make a joke out of the fact that I was becoming more and more miserable and hating my course and the thought of seeing anyone or having to leave my bed everyday.

But in the end I gave in. And it was scary. It was terrifying. And I thought I would loose many friends and a lot of respect. But if anything the opposite happened.

My friends and family were happy as long as I was happy, in fact most of them were thrilled I was so close to home now. My rowing coach excepted me back onto the team, and my job took me back. The nights I had lay there worrying about it had turned out to be pointless.

Saying all that, I wouldn’t go back. Being at York was important, it taught me lessons and as everyone says “everything happens for a reason”. I met some lovely people, learnt I wasn’t the worst person at rowing and also managed to cook.

Most importantly however it taught me that life is short, we have to do the things that make us happy and not worry about what anyone else thinks. Those who love us will stick with us no matter what. So if your reading this lying in bed wondering where you went wrong? The chances are you probably haven’t and that somewhere out there someone else is worrying and thinking exactly the same as you. But, it gets better.

Today I had my first lecture of my new course and I loved it. I even met a few of the girls and didn’t feel like a complete outsider. Yes I have a long way to go, friends to make and it will take time to settle completely into this new stage of my life but I am already so much happier.

So what I’m not doing uni, the conventional way? I’m doing it the way to keep myself happy and most importantly healthy- and that is ok.