The general stereotypes that students have aren’t always necessarily true. A popular stereotype that I have come across in university is that, being a student is an easy way to avoid employment. I have to say that this one really frustrates me because I have such a strong work ethic and I’m always prepared for new employment when it comes my way, so hearing comments like this grinds my bones. A few other stereotypes are that students are lazy, we don’t earn our way through life and best of all one that I received a lot from people that I know, people who go to university are stuck up and snobby. Student life is a lot harder than people understand and it is especially difficult if you move away from home like I did. I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve had from moving away from home and I am forever thankful that I was able to move away from home because it encouraged me to become more an adult. However, it’s not easy to do and now my undergraduate degree is coming to an end, it’s saddening to see such a wonderful time in my life has gone by so fast. I thought I would share with you guys some of my difficulties that I’ve faced over the three years as a student in Abersytwyth.
1- Something I never done before moving away from home was learn how to cook and at 18 I had minimal basic knowledge. Having to learn how to cook was probably the most challenging yet rewarding thing to do. It’s a known fact that going to university helps you to grow into an adult and in my experience, this means learning how to actually cook healthy and nutritious meals. In my first year I was always eating out or having microwave meals and I tell you, doing this is not healthy and I definitely gained at least 3 stone. If not more. So when I reached the summer of my first year I knew that I needed to change my habits and by doing this I managed to lose almost 2 stone in weight and become more confident in the kitchen. Now a third year I’m always making meals from scratch and freezing them for a later date, this is not only healthy but a money saver.
2- Living away from home is hard, really bloody hard. Aberystwyth is around 2.5 hours away from my hometown and not having my closest friends and family around when I need them the most is so hard. It’s not as if my mother is around the corner to comfort me when I’m feeling unwell or sad or to call my best friends for a heavy night out to celebrate high assignment grades or new jobs. However, over my time in university I’ve formed lifelong friendships with people who I now know as my family. They’re the people I go to when I need comforting and support, something I learned I had to do since I could no longer rely on people from home like I used to. My brother Daniel and I are incredibly close and he is definitely someone I miss the most about my hometown. Although technology is a wonderful thing of the 21st century and I’m so grateful to have him on the end of the phone for a chat when I need him.
3- Being a student is expensive and although I do have a student loan, it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes I do wish I had gone to a university in a city as it may have been easier to get myself a part time job as in Aber they don’t come around very often. You don’t realise how expensive it really is to live alone, pay rent etc but that’s why I think university is such a good experience as you learn to appreciate your money more and have an opportunity to understand more about how to budget your finances to last you the full term. I’m also a sucker for new makeup releases and can never resist.. always so bloody poor.
4- The stresses of doing actual academic work is so overwhelming that it literally messes with your mental health. You become so overwhelmed with having so such reading, planning and writing to do that it can either go two ways 1. overwhelmed with everything you don’t stop doing work for days and before you know it you’ve been awake for 3 days straight. 2. You don’t know where to start with your pile of work so you just leave it, take a nap and procrastinate for a few hours/days/weeks and hope things get better. In my case it’s usually the second after having an extreme panic attack and total meltdown.
5- Sleeping become non-existent, especially in your first year when you’re so full of excitement about adulthood and living away from home. Eventually when the summer comes you organise your sleeping pattern better and go to bed at normal times of the day until September appears again and you’re spending your day sleeping and your night wondering how you got back to the same situation all over again.
6- Maintaining a balance in your life is probably the worst thing about being a student. You literally have so much to do that you don’t even know where to start so you don’t do anything at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve totally given up, locked my bedroom door and started to binge watch a new T.V series and once the show is over I’ll make my way back into reality to do it all over again. I’ve watched some bloody good T.V shows in my three years as a student though.
7- At the beginning of my degree I was dead set that I would become a primary school teacher. That’s all I ever wanted to be since Year 7. Until my second year of uni and I hated everything to do with literacy and general primary school teaching so the time came when I knew I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My course bored me, the modules were all education based and I literally never turned up to any lectures or seminars. My future scared me and I wanted nothing to do with making plans so I ignored it. At 19 I really didn’t want to make any decisions on what career path I would take, instead I probably ordered myself a take away and watched High School Musical for the 1000th time in hopes that someone would make the decision for me. They didn’t but I still love High School Musical.
8- Making friends isn’t easy. You have to remember that your friends at home you most likely met in primary school or high school, meaning that 5 days a week you were forced to be their friends. So when you go to university and you meet new people some people excel in this area and others have a melt down and don’t know where to start. For some they stick to their flatmates and others join a sport/society and meet friends for life. It’s not like the films when you meet your best friend in the welcome talk, you actually have to leave your bed to meet people.
9- When you move into halls you’ll be living with total strangers. People who all have different ways of living, some are messy and others are really organise. You need to create a balance with the new people in your life as they’ll be around you for a full year with no control. In your second and third year you can finally choose your own flatmates and it’s fun but you’re still wondering why you’re the only person to be buying toilet roll and why nobody else mops the floor but it’s easier. A whole lot easier because they’re your friend and you picked them.
10- Being unwell isn’t fun but being unwell when your mother isn’t around to love you and rub your head whilst you sleep is literally the worst thing in the world. Whether it’s a cold or a major illness, you always need your mum to give you a bit of TLC and when she isn’t there you feel more sorry for yourself than you probably should. For me, I was diagnosed with kidney stones at the end of my second year and I was fortunate enough to only be without my mum for a few weeks but during those times I genuinely thought I would never be comforted or loved by a mother again. Admittedly, my boyfriend was fantastic at it but it wasn’t quite the same.
Let me know what your difficulties are/were as a student.Check out my social media too:
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With love, B x