All of us would’ve felt drained by preparing for the A levels and other equivalent qualifications at some point or the other. The workload got a bit too heavy for our liking and the weight of our families’, teachers and most importantly, our own expectations crushed us. During such times, dreaming about our life at university and what it would hold for us proved to be a getaway. After all, university is the time when we’re supposed to be “having the time of our lives” and “adulting.”
However, we have to actually arrive at university to know that reality isn’t quite as wonderful as our fantasy. The craziness of Uni extends beyond Freshers’ week. While for some this is exciting for others it can be quite overwhelming. From the quiet, disciplined routine which we followed at home with our parents watching our every move like hawks, we’re suddenly thrown into a chaotic lifestyle with no routine and no structure. It is great fun to break away and cool off from the mundane, monotonous lifestyles that we’d been leading up until now but when the rapid pace of getting dressed, going out, partying every single day becomes a habit, it takes its toll on people and can affect the mental health of students negatively. When, suddenly, we are surrounded by parties, nightclubs, drugs, and alcohol, we force ourselves to take part in all these things as much as we can and attempt to look happy all the time, because we’re encouraged to take full advantage of our youth and freedom. We may not feel very cheery or “alive” but when we see our friends tauntingly staring at us from their Instagram and Facebook photos, we just feel obliged to show the world that we’re having a whale of a time as well. After all, we’d be crazy not to be having a gala time.
It will be considered unnatural to miss home or feel overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of it all. Feeling low and despondent isn’t the difficult bit; the constant need to put up a facade emotionally wears us out. It only gets worse when along with gratifying our sybaritic desires, we’re also expected to be on top our academics, secure internships with the best companies and be traveling the country when representing our university in three different sports. Two weeks into Uni and we realise that it’s not the Wonderland that we expected and at this point, we’d rather take our A levels all over again. The myriad emotions of frustration, stress, sadness and confusion get the better of us and leave us with depressing thoughts.
Under such circumstances, students feel that they’re alone; it’s normal to be feeling all of this especially since we’re supposed to be having “the time of our lives”. The only thing we can do is to slow down. Yes, slow down. It may seem like feeble advice but it’s the constant urge to meet deadlines while working two shifts at a coffee shop and attending sports training sessions is what landed us here in the first place. So, it’s not wrong to take it easy and pace ourselves and just breathe for a while to take stock of our emotions and situation. In such moments, it is essential to have a good support system who can guide you in the right direction. Yes, University life isn’t what we expected it to be. It’s stressful and exhausting but as cliché as it may sound, these are the years that we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives. We have to make the most of it but not at the cost of our health and happiness. It’s important to acknowledge and accept the reality that University life isn’t going to be Utopian where one can achieve high marks while living a perfectly hedonistic lifestyle. Once we’re aware of that, it’s up to us to prioritize and decide what’s really important for us.
The ultimate thing is our well-being and satisfaction, nothing matters more than that. Once we’re at terms with our own strengths and weakness and realize and that there is no “perfect” way to lead our University life, we’re sure to have the time of our lives.