“Why you should embrace the fear of your year abroad”
During my first and second year, I used to put an alarm on for a 4 pm lecture. I was quite literally a sloth and it was great.
Once our final year began, my house of five was all up by 9 am and preparing to go to the library from the word go. I’m pretty sure we didn’t even discuss it, we all just knew that now it was our final year it was time to get stuck in.
I had a pretty dark time in my final year. I’ll be honest, I’d never really understood anxiety. It was a word I heard the Kardashians (guilty pleasure) use about ten times in each episode and I had never truly understood those who I encountered who had anxiety as they seemed fine. I mean we all feel anxious at times in life, don’t we? I was ignorant.
“ I was wracked with fear about getting a 2.1, life after uni, and it had a rippling effect on other areas of my life. ”
It’s quite weird to sit back and reflect on those months because I definitely didn’t think I was in a state as bad as I was. I was wracked with fear about getting a 2.1, life after uni, and it had a rippling effect on other areas of my life. I became incredibly worried about my friendships with people who I’d known since freshers and once had a panic attack after one of my housemates messaged me about leaving a window open, worried that the others would be angry with me. What the fuck was happening to me? I was a laid back gal, this made no sense. I had another panic attack after an awkward situation on Whatsapp with a mate. I’d never had panic attacks before and I haven’t had any since. They’re the strangest sensation.
One thing I’ve always been good at it is talking. So, I spoke to my welfare tutor and I actually ended up receiving extensions on some essays. Honestly, I cannot recommend talking to the support in your uni if you’re feeling stressed. These processes are in place so that you can reach your full potential. There is no way I would have got a 2.1 without the extensions I had in the January of my third year, something I made sure to tell my welfare tutor when I graduated.
I remember feeling weak and like I was giving in to the pressure by seeking an extension. I wasn’t weak, I was being strong enough to accept there was an issue and to not let it ruin my degree. Being a student comes with its highs and its lows. We have constant feelings that we haven’t done enough work, it’s not good enough, and that our friends are working harder and doing better than we ever will. We are students for some key years of adulthood, it’s hard!
I’m not ashamed to say that I needed help during my third year, why should I be? It’s stressful and it’s terrifying to think that your last few years of uni have been leading up to this and, unlike AS and A levels, you can’t re-sit this one. Never feel weak if you’re struggling this year, what you’re going through is hard and the pressure can feel overwhelming.
One regret I have is that I forgot about uni life in my third year. I became so consumed by this desperation to succeed I forgot about seeing friends I didn’t live with and I rarely went out unless it was a big event. Loads of people I know had the best year of their uni experience in their final year but not me. I’ll never get that back.
If you can prepare yourself for your work load and make sure you get sh*t done on time, with plenty of time to do so, then you can still go out and have fun. Yes, you’re there to get a degree but you’re also there for the experience. Aside from this, being busier and seeing your mates will make you feel so much happier in the short and long run, so it’s vital you make time for doing so.
If you’re reading this thinking “Sh*t, this is what I’m doing”, create a WhatsApp group and initiate a dinner out with people you haven’t seen in a while now, before the end of the term. Go, go, go!
Think about how you’ll feel a year from now if you’ve graduated knowing that you worked as hard as you could and did everything you could (this could be getting an extension) to get the best result possible. If you got a third and tried your hardest, who cares? No one can ask you for more than that and you’ll know you tried your best.
There is no shame in getting extensions. I know some people who worried about their course mates judgement if they found out. No one needs to know what you’re going through if you don’t want them to. Put yourself first, get the support you need, and keep pushing through the dark times; even when they seem never ending.
Written by Emily-Jo Thomas, 10 months ago