Subject: What they don’t tell you about while studying for a degree…
University, the best years of your life, and at times, the worst. I remember going into my first year pumped, full of confidence and self-assurance, having had teachers tell me over and over how studying for a degree will be the best decision I’ve ever made, only to find myself on the verge of dropping out only 5 months down the line. And this isn’t uncommon. I don’t think I’ve met one person at Uni who hasn’t considered dropping out on at least one occasion. I’m not sure anyone is fully prepared for the amount of responsibility you have as a degree student, and how difficult it is to maintain motivation and genuine interest.
Don’t get me wrong, I am passionate about studying journalism and I value the opportunity to study in higher education, and for many people they have no issue with sustaining an enthusiastic attitude, however, a university is the kind of place that will either make or break your dedication for what you study. It often stems from maybe getting a couple of bad grades, or really disliking a module, which was the case with me, but it’s important to remember why you’re there. When I was close to dropping out, I had a meeting with one of my tutors who suggested I wasn’t on the right course. I was pretty shocked at the time that she didn’t encourage me more, but then again, this is university, you’re an adult, and you have to find that encouragement from yourself.
After that, I realised that I had to step up and stop feeling sorry for myself when others didn’t motivate me. It also goes without saying that if you don’t think your course is right for you then you shouldn’t stay just to please other people. No one is going to judge you for taking a break from Uni or changing your course because you need to do what’s best for you. I find that it always helps if you think of the long run. Most of the time I love being at Uni, but sometimes I hate it, and I feel stupid for saying that because I’m paying £9k a year to be there but, it’s true and I’m 99% positive I’m not the only one who feels that way. But what helps me through tough periods is reminding myself of the long run. Why am I there?
The answer: because I want a career as a journalist and a degree is going to help me get it. It hasn’t been the smoothest ride for me so far, but I’m determined to complete the journey.
Another thing I have learned to accept is that it is okay to fuck up, and when you do, don’t let it get the better of you. You will have exams, they will be difficult, you will have modules you don’t like and you might get a few bad grades, but that should never make you feel like you can’t still achieve what you want. Teachers and parents don’t prep you on how to pick yourself up from a fall at Uni (which in my opinion they should!) but there are ways that you can. Often it takes just a moment of stepping back and re-addressing what you want and where your interests lay before getting involved in something new or finding a source of inspiration. The sooner you can figure out your end goal the better because then you have an incentive to keep going. As someone who spent a long time with NO IDEA what they wanted to do, I can confirm that it gets easier and way more enjoyable once you figure that out.
Of course, I’m missing out all the details about how fun Uni is and how amazing it is to live away from home and eat ice cream for breakfast because you CAN (because that’s the most important thing anyway), but for anyone struggling, just know that you’re definitely not the only one. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go get it.