Tuesday 26 March 2019

University and First Year Struggles

Meg talks about the struggles that students can face and how to look positively to the future. 

The year was 2011. The season was summer and, boy, was I loving life. A young, fresh-faced 18 year old who had passed their exams and bagged a spot into uni. I’d ticked off a summer holiday with the girls, my 18th birthday and school prom. What a time to be alive! Little did I know how my life would change in the coming months.

Hey, the name’s Meg. Nice to meet you! I’m 25 from South Wales and here’s my story of how my first year of university changed my life.

My amazing summer had come to an end and soon enough I would be moving far away from the South Wales valleys. 3.5hrs on the train to Derby was my new home and as most budding students feel when they leave home, I felt a mix of excitement and fear. I’d been chatting to my future flat mates on a Facebook group and we were all so excited to meet each other! I remember my first day like it was yesterday. I was so nervous. We hugged our families goodbye and there we were, a bunch of awkward girls from different parts of the country about to live together for the next year. Next thing, we are socialising with a building full of people and alcohol was flowing. And here started the student life!

The student life can be a very overwhelming experience for some with so much change happening at a quick pace and that’s certainly how it felt for me. My social life was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I was partying every week, sometimes every other night and all food and sleep patterns went flying out the window! It was exciting to meet lots of new people but also having to navigate around an unknown city and start a new course was very daunting. For a good few months I was building what I saw at the time as solid bonds with flat mates and constantly socialising but it wasn’t until a few months in did I realise how much it was all catching up to me.

After such a whirlwind couple of weeks, things started to go downhill very rapidly for me which felt like it came out of nowhere. All of a sudden, my emotions became very apparent and feelings of anger and upset constantly ripped through me (mainly whenever alcohol was involved). I was really disliking my uni course and I think I was probably very homesick and didn’t even know it. Nights out started to become very messy and dark and I soon found myself spiralling into a depression and started to self harm. I’d never known anything like this in my world. I’d always been the happy go lucky, positive bunny throughout my life and all of a sudden things were feeling very different. My feelings were constantly masked with partying and socialising and trying to nose dive deep into other people’s problems whilst I was also battling a tormenting habit myself. I was very much in denial and it took a very tragic moment of a thankfully- failed - attempted suicide whilst very intoxicated to snap me out of it.

Looking back now, it all feels like such a blur and I am thankfully not in that frame of mind anymore. It’s been a very long and continuing journey of recovery since those dark days but I am happy to be progressing and feeling stronger and happier. Although times were tough, I managed to push through it and I actually took the right steps to make things better for me by transferring to a university in my hometown and got to complete my degree, eventually earning a 2:1 and winning a student of the year award for my course. Woo go me!

And that’s really what this story is about is to just say, it’s okay and it can get better even at the lowest of points. I never thought I could get through what happened but here I am 7/8 years later, a homeowner and a fully fledged adult!!

First year can be fantastic and exciting and I certainly did have positives during some parts and lots of fun but it is also an overwhelming time and a lot to take on. I think it’s just important to keep an open mind in that good and bad days can happen whilst you’re embarking on your uni journey and if it’s truly not for you then that’s fine but sometimes with a little faith and willpower, you’d be amazed at what you can go on to achieve!

My name is Meg. I am 25 and live in the beautiful Cardiff Bay. I work in events/venue management for a University and am a part time secret singer and music lover. Concerts and musical theatre are my thing and I also enjoy blogging about my life and mental health advocacy. You can check out more of my music stuff on my youtube (www.youtube.com/mwigleysongs) or my blog at https://meganwigley.wordpress.com/.

For more information or support visit: Starting Uni 

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I remember my first year being terrifying, filled with unknowns and homesick for the first couple weeks but I feel like those experiences that I went through definitely made me stronger as a person!