Four Years Later…
I’ve done it. I have finished university. The last four years of my life have all been leading up to that final hand-in I have just submitted. That final time that I have accessed our online portal, StudentCentral. The final visit to the library. It is officially done and dusted. And what a journey it has been.
I am the first to admit that going to university was one of the hardest but most rewarding decisions of my twenty-one years so far. There was an insane amount of pressure to go, borderline unhealthy pressure where people around me had already made the decision that I was packing my bags and heading off.
Open days were overwhelming, sitting yourself down in a room with thirty to fifty strangers whilst receiving boatloads of information about a world you have no idea about. Reasons why you should pick that university. Reasons why you should do that course.
Every step of the way I asked myself if I was making the right choice. Was I doing the right thing? In three years time would I come to regret it? The costs alone are enough to turn yourself away from it all, £9000 a year to the university itself and then the harrowing debt that follows. It is enough to make the hairs on your skin stand up… everything just seemed like a difficult decision that all surrounded the ‘future’. That is the scariest bit, will future me be appreciative of young Abbi deciding to go?
Here’s to reflecting on my time at university.
My first year at university was the craziest year of my life. Featuring a brand new city I fell in love with every day, brand new people, people who I still adore and care about today. A new temporary home that was not full of the home comforts I was used to and a completely new way of learning.
So much fun was had in that first year, late night arcade visits, Monopoly and pizza on a Tuesday night, exploring the city with my new best friends; it was full of that sense of adventure we all crave. But, in the back of my mind, I knew it was not right for me. I hated my course, I did not feel there was enough adequate support for when I was struggling, I could not find enjoyment or passion in the work and in terms of my education, I felt so down so… two weeks from the end of term I was sat in our student support office telling the advisor I wanted to quit and what the steps were. No less than a month later, I was off the course and back into the scary world feeling quite frankly… awful. I felt lost, I felt like a failure and I felt pathetic for quitting. Naturally looking back, all of these things were ridiculous; I was not lost, just not on a certain pathway. I was not a failure, I still managed to pass the year and I certainly was not pathetic, it was that moment that I learnt it was way more important to put happiness and your own mental health first than it was to continue down a pathway I just could not continue on. It was the right decision and I have not regretted it since.
Deciding to go back to university, join a different course and re-live my first year all over again came much more naturally. Already in the first month, I felt more comfortable with my course. It felt achievable, the tutors were incredibly open and supportive and I did not feel swamped with uneasiness. This was the moment where university really started for me. The next three years saw so many new challenges; entering a new subject area I had never studied before, going on a month-long work placement in London and attempting to write a 10,000-word dissertation. But hey, I did it. And as I write this, I am packing away my university belongings for that one last time… I feel relieved. Proud. And a tiny bit bittersweet to be saying goodbye.
There will always be people who ask ‘do you even need a degree?’ and there will always be the odd few that look down at me for not completing that Computer Science Degree and there will even be times where I wonder if I really did need this media degree… but university gives you so much more than just a qualification. It gives you friends for life. It allows you to move away from home with (some) financial support. It gives you an amazing support system of tutors and peers. It gives you incredible memories that you’re going to carry with you for the rest of life and it gives you three years to just learn and take everything in.
University is a funny one; I understand people’s reason for coming and I understand people’s reasons for not. And it will never be for anyone else to say what you should do. Would I have come to university knowing what I know now? Most likely… but I would have made my own decisions along the way and I would have done way more research into it than I did. But, then also in my head, I think that really… I would never replace the experience I have just had, I would never change it. If I had not of done that very first year, I would not have met the people I did or had the adventures I had. If I had not of done it, I do not think I would have done what I did eventually that ended up putting me on the right path. Everything led up to this moment.
The past four years of my life have been a massive learning curve and I certainly think that I have learnt more in these past four years than I have at any other point in my life. I am SO sad to be leaving what has become my comfort zone but hey… the world is now my oyster.
The plan? I don’t know yet. But, I think I’m going to be taking some time out. To relax after months of hard work, to work out what that next step is. I’m going to be focusing more time to SimplyAbbi, I’m going to film more videos, take more photos and write more about the things I love. I’m going to live a little bit of my life for me knowing that right now… there is not a dissertation or exam or essay at the end of the road. Who knows, maybe I will decide I want to study more, maybe I will buy a one-way plane ticket to somewhere I have never been or maybe I will go ahead and do that 9-5 in an industry I love. Who knows?
It’s all to be continued…. that’s for sure.
Thank you for reading!