It was the best of times, it was the worst times, it was university. Your mental health can take a toll at university. I may be overdramatising this, but you get the jist of it. It is very difficult for me to write about my outfits when I am currently screaming in my head ‘I’M GOING TO DIE WHY DID I DO A DEGREE? AHHHH’. You know, it’s difficult. If you are concerned about how you are feeling, please go to a doctor or a counsellor or a teacher etc. and just talk it’s so important.
I am a third year student of English Literature. Whilst 4 contact hours a week usually leads many students scoffing at my degree and thinking that it’s easy, I can assure you English is one of the most broad degrees out there and also one of the more subjective degrees as well. (and yes, I still struggle sometimes to know where a semi-colon goes). I have had a fantastic time don’t get me wrong, but I am safely knackered from it all.
I often get ranty and wonder why I’ve gone to university, considering I am heading down a completely different pathway, but ultimately nobody knows what they want to do when they’re 18! (Okay, maybe some people do, but they’re lucky buggers). Mental health however, can take a real strain at university. If an unfortunate circumstance becomes you, like a million did with me, you feel absolutely screwed, or at least I did. Getting out of sticky situations, developing symptoms of PTSD weren’t exactly on my university bucket-list, but hey I handled it. I also realised how close I am to my family in the final year of my three year course, offering me numerous amounts of support.
In terms of the way my university and area handled my mental health: shocking, to put it bluntly. Firstly, I got referred to a 10101033 different people, counsellors, GPs, psychiatrists, community support workers etc. etc. I never obtained a full diagnosis of my mental health condition and I probably never will. One doctor thought I was an alcoholic (60 units a day to be precise) and another thought I did illegal drugs, because clearly there was no other reason behind my mental health state. (sarcasm) I didn’t match up completely with any criteria for mental health conditions and I got pushed to the side.
To put it bluntly, I just didn’t get any treatment. My mental health could have been sorted much quicker than it was but the university/area didn’t have the funding for it. Student suicides have increased dramatically at Oxford university and you can’t help but wonder, what is university doing to us exactly? Your self worth is not defined by your grades, I am going into a workplace where they don’t even care about my grade. I am sick of reading articles about how maybe a 2.1 isn’t enough, and don’t mention the dreaded 2.2 (golly). Stop overdramatising it universities, and start tackling it. Student Unions can only do so much, when you don’t provide the funding for treatment.
YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY YOUR GRADES. YOU CAN BE HAPPY EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT ACADEMICALLY MINDED. Please don’t get tricked into thinking this way, it’s unhealthy and you are so much more than your grade on a piece of paper. Try your hardest, but don’t beat yourself up.
Quite a gloomy post but thanks for reading if you’ve taken the time 🙂 What are your thoughts?