Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Survival of the First Years...

University is a difficult time for most individuals; the reading, the classes, the deadlines and the constant reminder that you are slowly yet at the same time quickly becoming a fully functional adult, but for some it is more difficult that you'd at first expect and a lot of the time these people play it down. I, unfortunately, am one of those people. You see, I have many issues when it comes to university in general from attendance to the completion of assignments to the people that surround me in my classes. I suffer from slight social anxiety disorder, which is the persisting overwhelming of social situations, and honestly is a really common disorder, especially amongst millennials. This 'disorder' prevents me from participating in a lot of things that I would ordinarily enjoy doing such as; visiting bars. The very idea of going into a busy nightclub makes me want to break down, but as someone who doesn't drink alcohol it's something I can deal with, however, another one of the things I find almost impossible to do is talk with someone I am not familiar with on the telephone. For example, a few weeks ago I forgot my account password for the online store Boots.com (a store which sells the likes of cosmetics in the United Kingdom) and so I had to call the customer service centre in order to confirm that it was, in fact, me trying to gain access and not a hacker, which is standard customs, however, before having to make the call which literally took 1 minute and 24 seconds to get done I had an hour long panic attack session, in which I cried... a lot. To most people it doesn't make sense, my mother and brother don't understand it and I've lived with them whilst being like this for many years, so for someone who has not really come into contact with this situation before it is completely bewildering. This thing I like to call my issue, as i don't particularly enjoy calling it a disorder, for some reason when someone does say that to me it seems ridiculous as how can something you've lived with for a major part of your 19 going on 20 years of life be a disorder, it more so becomes part of you and is essentially part of your existence. But when it comes to university it becomes more than just an issue it becomes a major problem.
There have been multiple occasions where I have purely skipped out on the classes I'm paying around £9,000 per year to attend because I simply cannot face the idea of walking into a room full of people and what is even weirder is that I hate seminars more than lectures. You see when it comes to seminars I see them as more personal. You're sat in a room filled with a maximum of 30 people, of all ages. To me, that is 30 people who can see every issue I have, every flaw up close and personal. Whereas in a lecture there are hundreds of people and to them, I am just another person to fill up the chairs, I don't see them as scrutinising me because just there, like an extra in your favourite TV show. Each and every single lecture, and each and every single seminar is a struggle but each time I attend one I get that little bit more confident within myself. Then, however, it comes to a time where I'll be ill and it starts all over again. My first year at university was one of discovery, but not in a good way. You see many people say that university is the best years of their lives, but I don't think they have to deal with the social issues that many others, myself included, have to deal with. They don't have to walk into the seminar room and worry that the girl at the far left of the room with the danish braid is staring at you and not because she's admiring your the 1975 shirt. Most people don't have the thoughts that they definitely do not belong in that room because they're not smart enough (even though they, like everyone else in that room got into the university because of their intellect).
I got through my first year at university by the skin of my teeth and it is something that I will never admit to anyone. It's not because I wasn't doing good enough in the grade department because my grade book will show my average of 68% in assignments (taking into account 69% is a first) but because i was not mentally strong enough to cope with everything. Of course, there are external factors which affected my performance within the university as there are for many people, my uncle's passing, coming down with chicken pox, my step-father's brief institutionalisation and suicide attempt.
I am thankfully in my second year now. As trivial as it sounds it was a struggle to get here and I am still struggling with this year, after only attending 3 out of around 30 seminars within my first sememster but i do aim to improve on that this coming semester, it's going to be difficult but i know that if i try at least i have that to defend my mentality.
SAD, as it is abbreviated to does not necessarily affect everything, it can affect anything but not everything. There are good days, those days where you can leave the house and spend all day hanging out with the people you know and trust but there will always be aspects which frighten you, meeting someone new for the first time or going to a new place and you don't know where it is, but in those good days there is always some way to overcome that situation and take it without freaking out the way you usually do, or at least this is how it is for me.
I would just like to mention to anyone reading this, if you like I suffer from mental disorders which are holding you back from achieving your dreams and aspirations in life, there are always methods of keeping it under control, there are medicines and therapy that can aid you but ultimately it is to you to help yourself before you can overcome or learn to live with whatever is stopping you. I would never tell you that you can always overcome a disorder because that's simply not true but you can pass it, you can learn to cope with it and in some cases yes, you can overcome it but you need to be willing to make the changes you need in order to do so and that all in all comes down to the individual.
As someone who is reaching their 20th year of life, I feel like I have enough experience in some departments, especially when it comes to education to give some advice, and that advice is; never put anything before your health, whether it is physical, emotional or mental your health is THE most important thing and should come before anything else no matter what.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed.
Have a good New Year and my best wishes for 2017.
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