“Before you can appreciate the light, you have to see the darkness”
So as I aforementioned, I greatly struggled during my first year of university. I remember constantly staring at my bleached wooden desk and magnolia ceiling in my tiny boxed room in student halls and feeling overwhelmingly lonely and numb. Only broken by the daily dinner chats in the tiny kitchen.
“University will be the best three years of your life,” they say. But if that’s the case, then why does every other student in England I have come across feel just as bitterly disappointed as I did in my first year?
We go to university expecting a new and exciting experience where we will gain our independence, excluding the fact of the extortionate loan (a topic I shall not touch today), learn about the most interesting subjects and of course make friends for life! Yet, this is not what we get.
So, what happened?
We are sold a lie and students come to university utterly unprepared. We arrive, books clutched in our arms, a car full of our new and old belongings and a head full of hope. But in reality we cannot prepare ourselves for the utter lack of sleep, little money, strangers at every corner, extensive reading lists, little class time, drinking every night, living off potatoes, missing home, tutors that don’t even remember our names and wondering whether it’s really worth it. So is it really a wonder that depression, anxiety and eating disorders are becoming increasingly rife in our student community?
I put my sadness and loneliness down to the fact that I had just broke off a two-year relationship and my parents had uprooted and moved to a new city just before I began my degree. But now I see I was not the only one feeling desperate in this highly pressurised environment. Desperate for a kind face. Desperate for acceptance. Desperate for the work load to finally decrease. Desperate for help, of any kind! I feel like I am one of the lucky ones, I have found solace in my studying abroad, but I am apprehensive about what I will go back to
Something needs to be done about this. Universities need to recognise this and offer real support for students, not just throw up a three-month waiting list for ‘e-counselling.’