University is a daunting experience, I should know. But even though the fears we feel aren’t exactly realistic, they are real. So, I’m going to do a bit of time travelling within my brain and cast my mind back to before I started university and find out what my anxiety was cooking up. I do this in the hope that I’ll squash your fears by showing how I overcame mine.
One of my initial fears was worrying if I’d be able to handle the workload. A-Levels were exhausting – there was so much you needed to learn, constant contact time and multiple subjects expecting 110% leaving no room to just breathe.
But still, I tried my best. Unfortunately, I didn’t do as well in my A-Levels as I would have hoped. I then started questioning whether I’d be able to handle university if I wasn’t succeeding at A-Level. Looking back now, I realise that even though I hadn’t been able to see my potential Manchester Met had. They gave me a place even though my A Level results weren’t as good as I was expecting . A university wouldn’t accept you if they didn’t think you could succeed.
And after a year of being at university, I can now tell you – it is much easier than A-Levels. First of all, you are only focusing on one subject instead of jumping to one hefty topic to another. Furthermore, you have so much more free time, you can finally breathe, relax and sit back without feeling guilty. There is also so much freedom that you can work when you want to work, I usually study in Starbucks while sipping on my caramel macchiato.
Another one of my worries was making friends. At first, I didn’t even know if I wanted to make friends because I wasn’t staying in university accommodation, so I’d only really be able to see them when we had scheduled lessons. Not only that, but I wondered if it would be better to just solely focus on the education side of things. I am also extremely introverted and already had a great set of close friends, so I didn’t know if I wanted to try and have more friends in case I wouldn’t treat them right or that I’d burn out trying. Basically, I was overthinking like crazy.
Now, in retrospect, it really was all just overthinking. It was all so much more relaxed than that. I made friends. Nothing was expected from me. None of them cared that I didn’t like drinking. None of them cared that I always wanted to go home. In fact, it became a running joke to see my bitmoji travelling away from Manchester on snap maps.
Do you want to know my most terrifying thought before coming to University? Of course you do. You enjoy my suffering. Here it is …. group work.
That sent a shiver down your spine, didn’t it? It sent one down mine. Just the thought of it now brings all the questions rushing back to me. Who will I work with? Who will do what? Will they actually do the work? Will I have to do it all? Even if they do the work, will it be good? Will mine be good enough? Oh lord, it was killing me. Until… I actually did it.
In reality, all group work did was reduce the workload. Instead of having to do one whole coursework yourself – it gets split. Reducing how much you have to do and because everyone doesn’t want to disappoint anyone, everyone’s tries their hardest and even then, when you actually do it, and feel proud of it, you still send it to everyone else saying “is this okay? X”. Overall, it’s a truly beautiful experience where everyone is overly polite (or maybe I just got lucky.)
Anyway, if it helps, it’ll be pumpkin spice latte season by the time you start university so just consume them – the number of endorphins they provide will outrun any worries you have.