Saturday 21 October 2023

Fresh Starts

Ali shares their experience of being accepted at university and having a fresh start.

- Ali

I will never forget seeing the word 'Accepted' appear on my phone. I had been cautiously checking my phone that night with the knowledge that university responses to my various applications were due yet tried to remain nonchalant in my eagerness. Until that point, I’d had a lifetime of experiences away from higher education, having 'missed my chance' at the traditional age, and had resolved that I would never have the opportunity. 

At the traditional age of seventeen, I didn’t have the necessary grades or attitude to go to university and instead was thrust into the customer service sector where I predominantly spent 13 years dwelling. While there were happy times during this period, I felt a pervasive sense of longing and sadness at a missed and life-changing opportunity, resigned to being on the treadmill of unsatisfying jobs, patchwork courses, and unfulfilled dreams.  

Nothing could have prepared me when my phone notified me I had an email via UCAS.  "You have been accepted ...". The shock washed over me, and I felt it saturate every inch of me. My partner was all cheers and celebrations at this first step and yet all I could do was sit there frozen. I then burst into tears, much to their surprise. After thirty or so minutes of crying, I was finally able to share with my partner what that word meant to me. My tears were of course happy ones but were also tears of relief that the fight was over and I’d won. This was my chance. My chance to change the direction of my life, a chance to get off the treadmill. In short, my chance for a fresh start.  

Of course, my subsequent fresh start at university has had various unhappy times, lest I give the impression of a romantic or unrealistic view of higher education. Financial worries, COVID-19 restrictions, and family emergencies plus the anticipated yet ever-underappreciated 'usual' university experiences and stress.  And yet, every time I walk on campus I get a familiar sense of belonging, of embracing a new chapter in my life. It's massive. It's scary. It's exciting. Its mine. My fresh start.

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available

Hi, I'm Ali. I'm sharing my uni stories and experiences in the hope they may help someone.

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