University Life, Part Two: The Cons

Previously, I’ve written about how great an experience university is (you can find that post here) – but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for studying. And good Lord, do you have to do a lot of studying.

Besides studying, university can be tough – in terms of organisation, mental health, and a whole load of other things. So here are all the things I’ve found that aren’t so great about uni life.

It’s a lot to fit in. Lectures and seminars. Reading. Assignments. Looking after yourself. Cleaning. Actually talking to people. Extra-curricular activities. Part-time jobs (because not everyone can rely on parents or savings to feed themselves and pay the bills). Remembering to phone your parents. You have to have a lot of self-discipline and time-management to be successful and if you don’t, it can put you under a lot of pressure. I, for one, really struggle in this department, which can make everything rather stressful, especially during periods when I suffer from low moods and a lack of motivation and energy.
And don’t forget, of course, that some of us are first-timers when it comes to household chores. Up until now, we’ve been living with our parents. Not only do we have to cook and clean, we have to learn how to do it. And then we have to remember to do it.
The other main problem that I find with uni is this: there is never a home time. There is never a point where you can confidently say: “There. I’ve done everything I need to do. I can relax now.” There is always more you can do. You can always do more extra reading. You can always spell-check your essay again. You can always revise that thing just one more time. It is never-ending. As much as you bribe yourself to finish that assignment with “you can relax when it’s done”, you know deep down it isn’t true: you need to go shopping for actual food (you’ve been living off cereal, canned soup and crisps for at least a week), you need to clean your room (which will take hours), you still need to do your laundry. Frankly, university can be exhausting.

And let’s not even talk about the debts you’re getting into – on top of massive tuition fee loans, most students also rely on maintenance loans. As previously discussed, studying is full time, except instead of getting paid for it, you’re charged ridiculously huge sums to do all this hard work, and then find a way to pay for rent, bills and food as well. Getting a part-time job will inevitably decrease your studying time (that you paid all that money for!), and watching your savings disappear with no source of income can certainly be nerve-wracking (I could’ve bought a car, or seen the world, or carried on saving up for a house with those! But no, apparently I need them to survive now).

Then you can add mental health issues to all that stress – looking at all the above, is it really that surprising that, according to The Guardian, 78% of students suffer, or have suffered, from mental health issues? Of course, these problems can only make any previous issues worse, and because they’re difficult to talk about, finding the time (and the will, and the courage…) to get help unfortunately is only an additional source of stress. 

I mentioned in Part One of my posts about university life that I’m looking forward to life after uni, and part of the reason for that is that my life will finally be stable. I’ll have a steady income, a concrete end to my to-do list, a steady schedule. I’m looking forward to having my time strictly divided: this is work time, which lasts for this amount of time, and this is chores time, and once that’s done, then – then you get your me-time, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. And maybe it isn’t actually like that, but at least I can dream.

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