University: The Honest Truth

I haven't written on here for what feels like an eternity, and instead of conjuring up an excuse - I'm just going to be brutally honest ... life got in the way. I'm not going to act like I haven't missed this, in fact it's been soul destroying and there have been many occasions where I've grabbed my laptop and tried to force myself to write something - yet ended up staring at a blank screen for what felt like hours until I admitted defeat and gave up.

On September 17th 2017, I started a new chapter in my life; otherwise known as University. If you remember my previous posts, you will be aware that for the longest time I 'ummed' and 'ahhhd' over whether I wanted to take this direction, or whether I wanted to be thrust into the working world - following my dreams through experience and graft as opposed to the academic route.

However, after much deliberation - which involved tears, stress and finger nail biting (disgusting behaviour, I'm sorry) - I finally decided that this was the option for me. And, on that hideous day in August, I was accepted into a Leeds University - and, truly, I don't think I've ever been happier.

So, fast forward a month or so - and here I was! The day before had been traumatic, we had dropped my sister off (which, if it wasn't bad enough that my best friend of 18 years was being torn apart from me, we were leaving her in HULL *shivers*) (if anyone who is reading this is from Hull, I can only apologise).

My mum and dad came to drop me off, and instead of the emotional goodbye that they were expecting - I practically kicked them out the door. I was finally independent - and boy, was I ready. A large glass of wine later, and I'm knocking on my flatmates doors - ready to suss out the kind of people I was going to be living with.

The first few days were weird, I have to admit. I had high expectations, yet reality didn't seem to fulfil them. Don't get me wrong, I met some absolutely lovely people - and the fresh start was truly what I needed ; yet I completely underestimated how homesick I would actually be. This was the first time I have EVER felt truly alone, and without being all doom and gloom - for the first couple of weeks I didn't know if I was ready to be.

What made it worse was seeing how much fun everyone else seemed to be having - and for this sole reason, alongside many others of course, I believe that social media truly is a curse. Here I was sat in my room, feeling completely lonely and - to put it lightly - down, whilst scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to see everyone else having the time of their lives.

My mum must've been completely sick of me - I would ring her almost every night asking pointless questions such as 'What've you had for tea?', 'What've you done today?' and 'What are you doing tomorrow?', and she was most definitely having a better time than me - gallivanting around Cheshire with my Dad which they referred to as 'Date Nights' yet most definitely was covering up the fact that they were celebrating as they had finally gotten rid of us.

So, like all bad times - things did begin to get better. Once I stopped EXPECTING to be having the time of my life, I finally began to. My course started, and I fell in love with it - further reinforcing that this truly was the decision for me. I began to make new friends, start doing things I truly enjoy and go out ... a lot. And as I got speaking to various different people, I realised that everything I had felt during Freshers Week was completely common and normal - which truly was a great relief to hear.

Throughout this period, if there's one thing I've realised - it's that you can't be friends with everyone you meet. Sure, you can have a good attempt at it - but you're not going to click and find a connection with every person you encounter, and that's just life. Eventually you will meet your kind of people if you're patient and put yourself out of your comfort zone - I promise you.

Things may also surprise you too - you may bump into old friends in the most unlikely of places. One thing that I most certainly never saw coming was being reunited with a group I had met in Magaluf on a girls' holiday (classy, I know) - it truly is such a small world.

The September - December semester was one which I thought was going to feel like a lifetime, yet whizzed by and instead felt like days. However, the mass alcohol consumption, daily list of chores and chronic fatigue meant that I was ready to come home and be treated like a Princess by my family (yet, admittedly, I am still waiting for this to happen.)

But, once I was home - it wasn't how I expected. Don't get me wrong, seeing my family and friends again was everything I had hoped for and more ; but it just felt kind of ... strange? It's amazing how quickly you become accustomed to a certain way of life, a new list of habits - and to have all this flipped upside down was a weird dynamic. When you're at Uni, you're missing your home life and your loved ones - but when you're at Home you're missing your Uni life and friends ... there really is no win-win situation.

So, to sum up the past 4 months or so of my life - there have most definitely been some extreme lows, but many extreme highs. I have learnt so much about myself, things that I hadn't realised prior to this experience - the main one of these being that no matter how much I often feel like I'm not; I am strong, resilient and capable of getting through some extremely shitty (pardon the french) times.

I am always hopeful of a better future, and although these Christmas holidays have been heart wrenching, emotionally draining and brought with them a fresh set of grief (due to family circumstances), I know that like all negative aspects of my life, if I'm patient I will get through it.

This post was most definitely not written to scare or put off anyone who is yet to embark on their University experience, instead it was my way of showing that feeling homesick, lonely, frustrated and fed up - no matter how ready you think you are - is all completely normal. People don't realise that it's a lot of change coming all at once - and for it to be a shock to the system is natural. (And for those people who haven't experienced any of this - you GO GIRL (or boy) ... you must have balls of steel).

Thank you so much for reading, and I really do AIM to have my weekly blog post schedule back (if I don't, you have full permission to shout at me!).

Grace x


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