Uni and the Brain

By Victoria Jane

I’m pretty sure that most mature students can relate to this blog. Firstly, I wish to congratulate anyone who has graduated this summer because without any shadow of a doubt, studying for three years whilst trying to maintain a basic everyday life is probably the most chaotic and challenging thing in the world.

I have certainly aged considerably over the last three years and my life has resembled some sort of abyss. I’m pretty sure that although I didn’t do a degree in drama related studies, I would get a role on the Walking Dead without any problem at all. Put it this way I have perfected my zombie role down to a tee and boy, I wouldn’t have required any additional make-up because I constantly looked like I had just clambered out from a six foot hole.

Being a student wreaks total havoc on your brain and the symptoms of being a mature student resemble the following…

1.You cry about things that would never normally effect you.
My friend told me once that she had to pull her car over because she was listening to a sob story on the radio that perhaps once upon a time, she wouldn’t have given two shits about. She was sobbing that much she couldn’t even drive! I can certainly relate to this; I once broke down in Gulliver’s World for completely no reason because that’s what shear amount of Uni stress does to you! It turns you in to an emotional mess and you become a former shadow of yourself. It really isn’t cool.

2.Wine and coffee suddenly become your best of friends.
I have never to this day drank so much wine and coffee in my entire life, in fact, I really think these should be subsidised by the university. I will be sure to feed this back to my student liaison officer once that crappy little survey about my University experience lands through my door…

3.You and your children live off beans on toast.
The dinner at the table routine goes completely out of the window and your children suddenly become couch potatoes nomming in front of the TV. The whole family live off crap for the whole study period because you simply cannot be arsed to cook. You feel insanely guilty about this but your kids completely love you for it.

4. A decent night’s sleep what the fuck is that?
There is no such thing when you are a student, by the time you are caffeinated up to your eyeballs, reading and writing essays until early hours of the morning, a decent night’s sleep is completely non-existent, hence feeling like a zombie 24/7.

5. Your skin is dogs shit.
And so is your hair. Thank you to the person who ever invited dry shampoo and grey-root spray because of all the stress, unhealthy diet, my face looks barely recognisable.

6. You literally have no friends.
Only social media ones when you are ultimately procrastinating, and even then, you cry whilst you come across a picture of all your old buddies having a fabulous time without you. You also become unsure of who your children and family are because they never see you because you are so up to your eyes in text books.

1in4 mental health anthology

7. Relaxation is a completely made up word.
Absolutely. I have never experienced so many panic attacks in my entire life! Even when you do have the opportunity to let your hair down once in a while, you still cannot relax because your mind is contantly working overtime thinking about your fucking due-in dates.

8. Your house resembles a battle field.
Despite promising yourself to be more organised every single year, you still have a forest’s worth of paper and books littering your entire house. Not only this, your basic house keeping goes completely out of the window and you struggle even to do one load of washing from start to finish. The only time your house becomes insanely spotless is when you know that you have an essay due within two weeks and you feel the need to re-organise your man drawer for no reason at all.

9. You hate your partner.
It’s really no wonder why so many break-ups happen during study periods. Students will vent their anger and take their stresses out on their helpless partners, especially if their love ones are unable to offer their full support. Your partners need for attention moves to the back of your to do list simply because of the insane amount of work load you must prioritise and you instantly become the shittiest of partners known to man. Sex, well you can forget about that one, unless it’s a quickie, because you really haven’t got time for that shit!

10. You hate everybody.
You really do, especially the ones that appear to have an actual social life. You also loath the education system because you suddenly realise that you are paying them a stupid amount of money for all this torturous amount of work, when technically they should be paying you!

11. Your only form of exercise is walking to and from the kitchen for more coffee or wine.
You really have zero free time whatsoever to do any form of exercise apart from filling up the kettle, topping up your wine glass or grabbing a bag of crisps.

12. You suddenly relate to all the crazy academics that you are studying.
You can suddenly relate to that author who once got addicted to opium and ended up in a mental asylum because you feel that this is the direction you are heading in. It’s ok though, because you take a small comfort in knowing that made a successful career out of it.

13. You swear A LOT!
Yes, there was a time that your vocabulary was exceedingly exquisite and you frowned upon anyone who used the “F” word. Well that also goes completely out of the window whilst you are studying because your language becomes increasingly vile.

14. Anything appears better than studying.
Even watching grass grow or paint dry seems more appealing than writing about things that are completely irrelevant to real life…

15. You genuinely lose your sanity.
Many students suffer with mental health issues whilst studying and it’s not surprising to understand why. With all of the insane amount of pressure every student faces, there is a higher risk of developing stress-related disorders. Fortunately, most universities are aware of this and have put plenty of support processes in place to help students cope with their studies and mental health. However as soon the final year is over, a lot of weight is lifted and you do start to feel more normal again so there really is a ending to all of this madness.

Despite all of the above, you will eventually graduate (yay!) and it will be one of the most amazing moments of your life. You fought through the tears, stress the anxiety you totally deserve to celebrate and relax. Not many people can do what you have just done over those last three years and you should be immensely proud of yourself. Hats off to you!

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here

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