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What if life at Uni isn’t Instagrammable?

Ok I admit, when I first looked at attending university it looked so wonderful! I’d arrive make loads of new friends, populate my Instagram with pictures of all the great times I was going to have. My life at Uni was destined to be filled with fun and laughter, with some excellent teaching sessions helping me learn more about my favourite subjects. It didn't turn out like that.

The reality of life at Uni

The reality stuck home almost as soon as my parents pulled away in their car, after dropping me off. My other roommates in Halls were not the sort of people I usually mix with. However, I was determined to give it all a go and so went about enthusiastically pleasing them with cooking and cleaning for them. I’d buy rounds in the student union bar and really try to make friends. Freshers week was a bit of a drunken whirlwind and I’m sure that’s when I started to alienate my roommates.

My studies were good though, a lot of the lectures had interesting nuggets of information. I dutifully took notes and read my books when I got back to halls. Even so, I wasn’t enjoying my life at uni as much as I thought I would.

Exam Nerves and depression

By Christmas break, I was ready to go home and pack it all in. However, Mum and Dad were so proud of me it was hard to tell them how I really felt. I was feeling sick at the idea of returning to my room and the Autumn semester exams were looming. I knew most of the stuff I needed to, I just wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it down on paper in those minutes of the actual exam. Once Christmas was over, I headed back and did hermit in my room. I think my roommates got a little worried, but then soon forgot me as they had all clicked together.

I spoke to one of the pastoral care advisors about my exam fears and mentioned my homesickness. They said it was perfectly normal for some people to feel this way. They told me to talk to my Doctor and to enrol with some social groups.

Getting Better

My trip to my GP was a little difficult, I have a female doctor, and she was reassuring that these feelings will pass. She gave me a short-term prescription and an appointment for some counselling. By now I have taken my exams and despite my fears, they were not as hard as I had anticipated. This improved my mood, which had already been lifted with the medication. I was also advised to taper down my dose of tablets and keep up the counselling. The sessions were helping and got me to realise that my happiness should not rely on other people.

Making friends and Influencing people

 I also took the advice of joining some social groups and found plenty to do within the student union. One of the groups I joined was into climbing. This was something I had enjoyed as a child, much to my mum’s horror. As I scaled a number of trees, scraping knees and elbows on the way. The group were friendly and whilst you may be on the rock face alone, you rely on your teammates on the ropes to keep you safe. Teambuilding and the associated camaraderie soon made me some firm friends in the group and I drifted away from my roommates even further. It was at this point I found Sheffield property to let had some apartments for students, so I broached my friends with the idea of sharing for our second year. They agreed.

Sharing and Caring

I was overjoyed when we got the keys to our new apartment! I had really close friends, who I could literally trust with my life. I had gotten through all my exams and had settled into studying. My life at uni was really looking much better. My new roommates all worked together to cook and keep our apartment as we wanted. The few times that one of us felt down, we would all rally round and help cheer them back up.

We are now signing on for our next year together in the same apartment and are looking forward to the rest of our uni years together. If you are struggling, do go and accept help, even if you find it hard at first, it will get better.