This is a really difficult post for me to write. I originally wanted this up last weekend, but last weekend was far too emotional, I teared up when trying to write, so decided to hold it off a little. I’ve mentioned how I settled into university relatively well a few times, but I’ve skipped over the fact that my boyfriend simply didn’t settle in. I’m not talking a bit of homesickness, I’m talking far more seriously. I’ll tackle homesickness another week!
His halls weren’t particularly suited to him; very loud; very “going out” orientated. His university was pretty built up with a lack of green space. The town wasn’t the nicest. He buried his head in his course, kept going and came out of first year with an extremely impressive percentage for an engineering degree. He also came out a little depressed, although at the time I’m not sure either of us realised. Fast forward a few months and he moves into his second year house. Off campus, with friends, although the house itself was quite frankly disgusting. It was then he realised that university wasn’t really the best place for him to be, he actually wasn’t 100% sure about the subject, and he had to leave. It got hell of a lot more dramatic than that, but long story short within a fortnight he has arranged to defer his second year and moved back home.
My point of reliving this is to give those of you struggling at university some advice;
- Get help, talk it through. It doesn’t have to be a counsellor or a doctor, not even a lecturer. Even ranting to a trusted friend can help. Don’t worry about upsetting them either – I’ve spent many times in tears talking things through with my boy, and yes it was upsetting, but it helped him to have his feelings in the open. Bottling things up is the worst thing you can do.
- Keep people in the loop. Let your parents know how you’re feeling, let lecturers know. Chances are your work will suffer if you are feeling down, so it’s important to get consideration for this.
- Consider other options. You don’t have to leave university to make things better for yourself. Look at moving accommodation, commuting from home, or even going home every weekend. Whatever works for you.
- Deferring the year isn’t the same as quitting. Deferring isn’t always an option, but its useful if you aren’t sure about your course but don’t want to quite give up your place.
- Find some form of enjoyable activity to take your mind off things. It might be a society, it might be a sport, it might be visiting a nice cafe during your time of lectures. Just make some time for you.
- Don’t hide in your work. University is more than just study, and focussing entirely on your work will cause burnout at some point.
- Don’t be embarrassed. You aren’t the only one to struggle with university.
I’m in no way suggesting that doing these will absolutely help you if you’re struggling with university life, but I hope that they will make things a little easier, and make you realise you’re not alone. If you are really struggling, really depressed then things like making me time, sitting down for a cup of tea, heading home for a weekend, these won’t really help at all – you’ll most likely need a permanent fix to the problem.
As for my boyfriend, he went back to university on Monday, doing the same course, but commuting in his new little car. He’s found living at home is far more sensible as, for him, the lifestyle at university wasn’t working. I’m not saying things are easy! He’s driving for at least two hours a day, and isn’t too taken with some elements of his course. Plus there’s parts of the university lifestyle that are just unavoidable – including group working with lazy partners! However things are infinitely better than they were in first year, and this weekend is far, far brighter than the extremely dark weekend we had 53 weeks ago. Here’s to the future sticking like this!
Also remember – if you really, really, really don’t like university, it perhaps isn’t worth putting yourself through it. You don’t have to be there, and if your health (mental and/or physical) is suffering, there’s likely to be a better option to think about. Read my Blog Link up post by Rachel for another view on this topic!
How did you settle into university?