Disclaimer: Obviously everybody gets nervous around moving to University, but this is specifically for sufferers of Anxiety who are worried about starting University in the future or are at University and can relate to this.
I had spent months telling myself that when I started Uni, everything would be better. I would say goodbye to the panic attacks and the deadliest feeling of fear that hit me every day. I thought I would feel more put together than ever, but sadly this was not the case. The minute my parents left me on Moving Day, I walked around campus and had a think to myself- this would be my new community for the next few years. But being a town girl, moving to a City had it’s challenges which I learned quickly within the first few days. The locals are not as friendly, you will not be welcomed by everybody and even though your family is super proud of you, you’re going to meet people who just treat University as standard- so that idea of it being an achievement is taken away from you.
I found that difficult to deal with as to me it was a huge deal, but I was instantly grounded and once again reminded that what might be easy for others, will be dedication and hard work for me. I’ve always had to work twice as hard for things I want, but in a way that makes them more rewarding. I found my first week of Lectures tough, it’s not like School or College where you are taught per say- you are given ideas and then you have to go and relate them to your topic and read up on them to find the answers. After a gap year, I was left feeling completely out of the loop of Education and it took me a long time to adjust. However, I did the reading, I did the extra research, I watched video’s on the practical skills and made sure I had a clear idea of what was expected. I visited the library almost every day to get familiar with my study surroundings and I made sure I knew each module description inside and out. I know this may sound OTT, but part of my Anxiety is being uncomfortable with my surroundings and what I know. I had to settle both of these things to make it an instant ‘safe place’ and somewhere I could trust myself being.
I attended every single session, lecture and seminar. Even the ones that were not so important, just so I could get used to the rooms and the people in my classes. This proved effective for me as it became a vital part of my routine that I could get on board with without any concerns. It also helped getting to know my lecturers in those welcome sessions, because at University, if something is going on or something is not working for you, you need to be able to speak up. You don’t have to put up with it like you do at High School, Sixth Form and/or College.
My first week I spent most of my time crying because I missed my cats and craving/eating Chicken Tenders, it wasn’t pretty and I gained about seven pounds, but it’s okay because I needed that down period to motivate me to get the hell from the bottom and up to the top again. I felt homesickness massively. More so, because my family are all within the same street near enough so I felt extra far away and whereas I had been cooking my own meals, doing my own washing and working for rent for a while before Uni, I really missed having somebody to talk to when I came home. I even missed being annoyed by my younger sisters. I felt lost in a way I hadn’t felt lost before and even though I was surrounded by my friends, everything felt weird, strange, uncomfortable and I was inconsolable.
Freshers was something that I was excited for, but more so for the free stuff than the clubbing. I’m not much of a clubber and it makes me quite anxious, I’m far more of a concert girl. I did go out once to a foam vs paint party but the harassment from guys was too much for me so I probably won’t go that often during my Uni life, but I did have a good time with my friends all the same. I prefer going to bars and pubs, you can hear your friends, get to know people better and you end up having a more satisfying time.
My second week went a bit better, I had joined Rock Society and I really loved and enjoyed the first social and I made loads of friends, drank lots of Vodka and still made it into my 9am the next morning, absolute winner. I also started to eat better, I got a gym membership by the end of the week and I started talking more about how I was feeling and hanging out with people more. It’s okay to not adjust right away, nobody is going to and it’s not going to be easy. You must remember to look after yourself, put that first before anything.
Things have improved since, I feel more comfortable and definitely more like myself again. There are moments when I have a wobble, but that’s when you have to lean on yourself and your friends a little bit more. Make yourself a cup of tea and settle down, it’s okay to take a moment amongst all of the chaos.