Updated: Mar 31, 2019
When I started this blog, it was a means of sharing my adventures with other students who, like me, wanted to explore but thought they wouldn’t be able to afford it. However, it’s also made me realise that maybe I’m not alone in feeling like I don’t really fit in with the ‘student life’ image. So, I wanted to share my thoughts on this, just in case it helps anyone else feel like they’re not alone in feeling that they don’t quite fit.
What type of student are you? Since I first started uni I have really struggled with trying to uphold the whole ‘student life’ image; going out every night, living on beans on toast and red bull, you know the stereotype. As much as I enjoy a night out and a good boogie, I also love chilled nights in, doing a big food shop in Asda, waking up early to go for adventures… I tried in my first year at uni to immerse myself in the ‘student life’ culture (so much so I was ill for basically months on end) but it wasn’t me. When I could no longer maintain it, because it wasn’t who I am, I would be filled with so much guilt that it felt like I’d lose either way. This is still something I struggle with today, not feeling like I’m making the most of where I am at in life, and there are days when it does get me down, but I am working on allowing myself to actually be myself, without feeling guilty for it.
I’m twenty years old and I am in my second year at university. I did as many first year students do, and moved into ‘Halls’ (student accommodation) in my first year. Although I was lucky with my flatmates as we all got on really well and they’re still my good friends now, I definitely struggled living with other people. It was as though living with people who were also around my age, who did do all the normal things that people around my age are ‘meant’ to do, reminded me daily of how that wasn’t who I was. I couldn’t help but feel in some way inadequate. At this point I want to make a point of stating that my flatmates never did or said anything to make me feel this way, they really couldn’t have been more understanding. However, being sat in my three metre by two metre bedroom listening to the sound of my friends laughing and playing music in the kitchen, while I was alone watching Netflix because I wasn’t in the mood to go out was a pretty awful place to be. Every night this happened I would have an internal battle with myself; feeling guilty for not wanting to go out and for isolating myself while at the same time if I did go out when I would wasn’t in the mood for it, I would spend the whole time resenting being out.
I’m now in my second year and live alone in a flat with my hamster Trev, and although I have to make a
point of getting myself out and about from time to time, I am genuinely so much healthier for it. I’m now able to visit my old flatmates and other friends regularly, but I am also able to hibernate in my own little space when I feel like I want or need too. I still struggle some days with feeling as though I’m not making the most of being a ‘student’, but then I will have a brilliant day out going on an adventure and I’m reminded that it’s okay to be a little bit different. I’m actually much happier spending my money on adventuring than on nights out that I’m not enjoying. I still go on nights out now and then (I’m not a completely hermit I promise!) and I try to maintain a good balance of everything. But, and what I’m trying to say here with this post, is that I’m making a point of stopping myself from feeling any guilt or fear that I’m missing out, when I’m sat in with Trev and Charley (my boyfriend) watching a film, after going out on an adventure. This is who I am, and this is the life that makes me happy, and it’s okay that it’s a little bit different from most people my age. Everyone has to live a life that makes them happy, otherwise we will spend our time trying to fulfil a life that isn’t who we are, and what a waste of time that would be!
So, what I wanted to say is, live a life that makes YOU happy. I think it's something we have to work on from day to day, but that's okay, this is only our first go at this crazy, wonderful, scary, beautiful thing called life.