I would like to preface this blog by saying that I love my degree and I love the people that I am surrounded with. But let’s just say that you learn a lot about yourself and about other people in your first 3 months at university.
Before coming to university, I was told two of many things:
1) Uni life is like a rollercoaster, you experience some of the best and most exciting days of your life, but in contrast to that, you experience some of the worst.
2) After about 6 weeks you hit a metaphorical sort of ‘wall,’ where everything stops being so new and exciting and the realisation that your degree hangs in the balance of the next half semester.
Other than the fact that I often miss my family, this has not directly affected me, but I’ve begun noticing a paradigm shift in the attitudes of some of my friends, both in my degree and in my hall. I’ve been very interested in the contrasting responses from different people to the same sorts of stresses.
Starting with the simple fact that as we are hitting the first run of tests in all degrees, the number of people that turn up to lectures is depleting. In those first blissful six weeks of uni, lecture theatres were jam-packed with smart and smiling faces, shiny new MacBooks and people all ready to learn. Almost immediately after getting back, I don’t think I have seen a full lecture theatre, even in law… That may be due to the catch-up pressure that comes after a break from lectures or that everyone is trying desperately to get assignments and studying done.
I’ve heard passing comments from friends such as “Is my engineering degree really worth it? I could just do commerce and be done in 3 years,” “I worked so hard on this assignment and still got a B+” and “So many biomed students are thinking of dropping out of the med race because they know that they won’t get the necessary A+ to get into med.” The most interesting responses to stress that I have seen was between two of the people that I have grown to be closest to at O’Rorke. I remember [person X] saying things along the lines of “I want to get into med and I study so hard, but everyone else just seems to ‘get it’ more than I do. If I don’t get into med my parents will be so disappointed in me.” They spent hours in their room studying as hard as anyone else out there, losing sleep over a test that had already gone and burying themselves in books, hardly taking any breaks.
Contrasting to this, [person Y] said “Is this really what I want to do with my life? Should I just drop out now? Is uni really where I am supposed to find myself?” And because of this, they spent a week just being down and upset, subsequently avoiding study altogether.
Of course, university is hard work and I think we all know that we are buying into hours of studying from the moment that we accept our offer of a course. But in my opinion, it is so important to take time for yourself, not so much time that we’re not working at all, but not so little that we’re hardly ever leaving our rooms.
From my experience, there is a vast multitude of ways that we can deal with the stresses that come with study. As a naturally nervous person, I’ve found that the best way to calm down and get away from work anxieties is to utilize some of the classes at the gym that you get with being part of a hall. Yoga and ballet barre classes have been great ways to unwind and even though you may not think that it is worth getting away from the books for something as trivial as a yoga class, I have regularly felt so much better for having gone. If that doesn’t work for you, try going for a walk, or something totally different from your norm- maybe take up sketching!
Just don’t give up, everyone feels the same way 😊
Sophie BurnsSophie Burns
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