The Five H’s of University Worries

I’m so excited about university, lately it’s probably one of the most prominent things on my mind and tongue. I recently accepted my unconditional offer from York St John university and come September this year, I’ll be a student there! Am I bricking it? Absolutely.

Obviously it’s normal to get a bit nervous and have some anxiety, especially if you’re moving away from your hometown to this new place. So I thought I’d share some of my 5 current worries about starting university because who knows, maybe other people have them too! Or students might have had them and known how to overcome them!

  1. Hunger
    So technically, if I was to receive my second accommodation preference this might be less of a worry(living that self-catered life), but my ideal uni flat would require me sharing a kitchen with flat mates and also cooking for myself. Now if you know me well enough you’ll know I could probably try and cook beans on toast and still mess it up. Ok maybe I’m not, that bad – but I’m hardly a chef or baker. I’m also hugely unreliable with money. I can imagine I’ll end up blowing my food allowance mainly on crap I might not need and come home and be like ‘well I forgot an actual important thing like dinner’.
  2. Home sickness
    Now I did get offers for Manchester based universities but I wanted to take this opportunity to get out of town and try a new city. York is absolutely lovely and I can imagine I’ll get used to it as a nice home but I am really prone to getting home sick. When I was in year 7 at a two night camping trip, I remember crying to sleep because I wanted my parents. God forbid this happening at uni. Not because I’m ashamed but literally not having my parents in face-to-face distance for once might be a bit more shocking to my system. My anxious, easily frightened system.
  3. Hearing
    This worry is probably not as ‘relatable’ as every students worry but I’m mentioning it anyways. Maybe to get it off my chest or maybe hopefully I can look back and be like ‘this was nothing to worry about’. Obviously my hearing will play a big part in my university life, whether or not I want it to. I’m highly scared of missing stuff in lectures or even missing out on conversations with people that might end up with not feeling as inclusive with potential friends or maybe being seen as rude or strange by others.
  4. Homework
    I have not had homework for almost 3 years. Therefore having to do essays and important work in my free time is definitely going to feel really strange to me. I am positive I’ll enjoy my course and probably the things we’ll be given assignments on but I’m praying that my procrastination side won’t kick in during university. I hate being stressed and late on work so I need to try hard to get stuff done as soon as I get assigned it.
  5. Humans
    Ok bear with me, I had a hard time think of a ‘H’ word for people/friendships. But basically, the worst fear of university – especially one in a new city – is being able to make friends. Now I don’t want to get all open and mopey but making friends has always been a toughie for me in the past. In recent years it’s obviously changed and I’m glad I’m seeing my self-esteem and confidence grow but I can feel inside me, I’m going to be shy when I go to university. Hopefully Freshers and the staggering amount of alcohol will maybe dissolve that shyness but ho hum.

So that’s basically my anxieties about the upcoming student year but the positives and excitement definitely weigh it all out! Did you guys have any of this starting university? Or maybe even have it currently about your future university? I’d love to hear people’s views on it!

 

Thanks for reading,

signaturemarch16

surviving real world responsibilities: what I wish I had known when I started college

In England, we tend to start college/sixth form at the age of 16. I’m completely unaware if this is still the situation, I always hear people rambling like “ooh we (my age group) were the lucky ones, everyone has to stay on school now” and I’m never sure what they mean cause I see 16 year olds doing many different things, but right now I cannot be bothered to look into it.

Nonetheless, when I left high school and got my results I immediately enrolled onto my local college. I had the options of local colleges or my high school’s sixth form and I went for my local one. I did a BTEC course in Art and Design which meant it’d be the only subject I’d be studying but on a full-time course with projects and working in units instead of studying towards exams, like A levels.

I remember absolutely bricking it my first day. I’m one of those people who can get very excited for new starts – I love buying new stationary, clothes etc. for new college, work or school year. But at the end of the day, when I start I still feel like I’m not ready enough. So here is my best advice for starting your first year of college, and mostly things I wish I had known.

1) Your class will more than likely do ice breakers. They are tedious, but don’t mean a thing. – As someone with anxiety, and just general fear of talking in front of huge groups, I absolutely despise ‘ice breakers’ in classes more than anything in education. “Tell us your name and something interesting about myself”; oh god what if I pronounce my name wrong?! oh god I don’t know anything about myself?! god don’t teachers know thinking you’re interesting is not hip and cool anymore?! – breathe. Everybody is nervous on the first day, and if anything when you’re standing up and going “Hi I’m [x], and erm… I have a pet dog called Spot”, somebody will be panicking inside about if their sweat patches are showing through their shirt or if they’ve brought everything they need on the first day.

2) Please have a good breakfast before you head to college and have a bottle of water on hand. –  I’ll be completely honest, I could do with this advice being ingrained on my forehead for every new situation. A lot of places will suggest this during life. Before college, before an exam, before a job interview, when you get a tattoo/piercing, when you go to the dentist or doctors. Why? Because it’s damn good advice even if you don’t think it is. Nerves feel horrible and nauseous in your stomach on the first day, and having them on an empty stomach and when you are dehydrated is even worse. Grabbing some fruit like blueberries or a banana before you head to college is a great idea as both are great stimulants plus bananas are low-release energy snacks which will help you through the day and blueberries are known to help with anxiety! If you are scared you will be in too much of a rush for breakfast, I suggest packing fruit based snacks in your bag the night before. My favourite quick breakfast snack is Nakd Bars. They are vegan, dairy/gluten/GM-free fruit and nut bars which are delicious and come in such lovely flavours! My favourite is definitely the ginger bread ones!
3) You will make new friends at college. High school friends aren’t always forever. – Whenever I had friendship drama growing up, my sisters would always advise me with “my best friends now I didn’t meet until college/university” and I would  ignore that because I thought, who’s going to make friends with me in college when everybody already has their high school friends?! I was very wrong, and I’m glad I was. When I look back, me and most of my high school ‘friends’ had nothing in common. Some of us got along cause we were in the same classes and would have to see each other everyday and I would immediately consider them friends. Some of us only spoke because they were friends with my friends. I only talk to about one friend from high school now and that’s because we actually have stuff in common and we are actually close friends who make an effort to talk when we barely see each other. Some of my high school friends still talk to each other, but a lot of us have new friends who we met in college and if anything that friendship does seem to last longer than a high school one. So don’t worry about if you are starting to drift from high school friends during college, you will make new ones.

4) Talk to your tutors if you feel something’s wrong – In my first year of college I had a lot of stress on me from several different sources which caused me to cripple quite hard under college pressure and I switched to a different college for a month or two in the second year because I was in the mindset that my art course wasn’t good for me and that I wasn’t good at it. As soon as I got into my new course doing a different subject, I immediately missed a lot of stuff from my old college that my stress had blinded me from. Luckily enough talking to my tutor over email allowed me to join back on my art course and catch up with the work that I had missed. From then on, whenever I had anxiety or stress about anything I would communicate with tutors I trusted and got along with and it definitely helped me get support with my work and my final art project. Tutors are there for a reason and want you to do the best you can. Don’t stress alone.

5) Remember at the end of the day you can go home to your comfort zone. – A lot of people say interesting things happen when you leave your comfort zone and do something you’re scared of. If your first day at college feels like an extreme step out of your comfort zone because of all the new people, new situations and having to take down loads of information for your next two college years. Remind yourself you have a comfort zone to go to after. Whether it be your bedroom, your parents, your pet,your friend’s house, your favourite cafe, library or youth centre. Keep your comfort zone as your end of day target and know you can get through your first day!

If there’s any other tips you have for young teenagers starting college please feel free to add in the comments! Childline UK also has some brilliant notes on starting a new school or college, dealing with exams and making decisions as well as other things you may encounter in college including relationships, your future and jobs!

Thanks for reading
Lenah x x