In my previous blog post, I talked about my University experience and why I dropped out. I realised when writing the post that I had so much more to say than I thought so today’s post will be focused on what University taught me, both positively and negatively. (All photos on today’s blog post are from Pexels.com)
When life gets tough, it’s very hard to see that your circumstances are trying to teach you something but I believe that it does. Whether that’s resilience or it’s telling you that you deserve better, you don’t see that until you are over the hump of the bad times. I’ve experienced it myself and I’m sure every single person has, it’s quite a natural thing. I did gain some positives out of this experience as well as negatives, so I wanted to list a couple of each that I have reflected back on.
I got the opportunity to live on my own for the first time, and while I lived in a house with eight other people, it still felt like my own place. Despite what my family thought; I wasn’t home sick, it was everything else that made me feel miserable. The responsibility that I had living on my own gave me a great sense of independence which I had craved for a long time. I loved cooking my own meals and at the time, I ate so unhealthily but I still had a responsibility of the food I ate rather than the shopping being bought for me.
I took a risk; I took a risk to move to another country (while it’s only over the water, it’s still a big step) where I only knew one person and even though I didn’t know how it was going to pan out, it’s something that I gave a shot. I had been so scared of failure and I still am but this experience showed me that it wasn’t the end of the world.
Go With Your Gut
I learned to go with my gut more. I think we underestimate how much our gut tells us; if we have a bad feeling and go through with something that turns out bad, we can think back to the previous time and remember the specific moment that you “had a feeling”. It’s hard to tell yourself that something isn’t right, especially if you’re worried or scared of missing out on something but it’s part of living life. Sometimes I go with my gut, sometimes I don’t and while I didn’t go with my gut on this occasion, as I get older, I have started to rely on it much more.
There are always negative experiences in life but you need the bad to appreciate the good. I hate to think of it that way because we all hate the bad, but it makes sense, right?
Ask For Help More
As I mentioned in my previous post, I wish I had have asked for help more. I asked once and got shot down and that embarrassed me from asking for more help. I thought I wasn’t capable of getting through the course so I let self-doubt get in the way. I still struggle asking for help and while it does get easier on my good days, it’s something I still hold back from on my bad days.
Not Everything Is For Everyone
One size doesn’t fit all and it never will. Not every path will be suitable for everyone and that’s okay. I understand that it’s not a reflection on me as a person or my skills, it’s the way of life. When you’re in a rabbit hole of self-doubt, that’s a different matter and having gone down this hole many times, I can completely understand. Not one person is built for every single career or skill, it’s not possible or at least, I don’t believe it’s possible.
People Pleasing Never Works
People pleasing will get you nowhere. There’s a phrase that goes along the lines of “If you make others happy, you’ll be happy” (I tried to Google it but nothing came up so I have no idea who said it). To a degree, it is correct. Volunteering is the perfect example; giving back to those less fortunate will make those in need happy and you get the endorphin rush of helping others. However, when it comes to big life choices, this is not the case and I wish I had realised this when I was younger. It’s a mistake that needed to happen in order for me to learn from it and I have made it in a smaller sense since but I have continued to learn from it.
There were many other negatives about the experience but I thought I would choose to talk about the ones that I am still learning from now. I don’t want this to be a completely negative post but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t admit that there were many other negatives that I’m choosing not to talk about.
The University experience is whatever you make it. I was sick and tired of hearing that “University will be the best years of your life” so much so that I started searching online if anyone else hated it. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone; out of all the new students in the world, was I the only one that hated it? I wasn’t of course, but the online world didn’t help me on this particular quest. I’m not a drinker and I don’t like parties, you hear so many stories about going to constant parties so was this potentially the reason that I felt like I didn’t fit in? I was pretty shy too and added to the social anxiety that creeped in, could that have been a factor? I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer but I’m at peace with never finding this out.
My advice to anyone thinking about their future before they sit their A Level’s (or college qualification equivalent like myself or even as an older learner) is to find out as much information out as possible about all routes. Whether that is going straight into a job, furthering your education in college or University, trying out an apprenticeship or taking a gap year (if that is something that you can financially handle). I remember when I was sixteen and having the annual career chat with someone in the last year of my high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I’m almost twenty-seven and I still have no idea! To think, when I was sixteen, I thought I would have my life figured out by twenty-five. I was very wrong but maybe it isn’t such a bad thing.
Thank you so much for reading today’s post; I would be really interested to hear about anyone else’s University experience, good or bad. I’m not putting University down by any means but I just believe that it’s not for everyone and that is perfectly okay.