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An anonymous student writes a letter about the darker sides of freshers’ year life – those that people are often reluctant to talk about.

For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of going to university. I heard countless stories from my parents and their friends and then later older friends about ‘the three best years of your life.’

By the time I was struggling through my ‘A’ Level exams, university had become the light at the end of the tunnel. Three years of partying, having fun and meeting awesome people. Nothing could go wrong.

That’s not to say I dislike university. I love it, I am having the time of my life. However, at times it can be hardest, loneliest, most disheartening thing in the world. There have been times where the last thing I want to do is go out but I feel like I have to because I’m a fresher, and that’s what freshers do. Times where I’ve stared at a mountain of work convincing myself I’m not intelligent enough to be here and I should just quit now. Times where I’ve sat by myself in my room and never felt lonelier.

‘There have been times this year already where I’ve looked in the mirror and thought ‘what am I doing here’

University is amazing but it’s also very difficult. Adjusting to your newly independent life while also trying to make friends and get all your work done on time can be both physically and mentally exhausting. I know myself that there have been times this year already where I’ve looked in the mirror and thought ‘what am I doing here.’ Times where I’ve forced myself to go to yet another Bunker Monday when to be honest all I really want to do is curl up into bed and sleep for 12 hours.

I can vividly remember two weeks into uni, still exhausted from freshers week and faced with another night out, burning the only pasta I had for dinner and then sitting on my bedroom floor crying. Of course there is a chance my exhaustion levels caused me to slightly overreact, but the point is, university is not perfect. And to be honest, it shouldn’t be.

‘After all, if everything was amazing all the time then it wouldn’t be amazing, it would just be normal’

Most people, me included, start university expecting it to be non-stop fun for three years. Unfortunately, it’s not. I was worried when I first started that I was the only one feeling completely overwhelmed with everything I had to contend with.

Then I looked around and realised that everyone feels the same. Nothing in life is perfect and university is no exception. At times everyone feels overwhelmed, exhausted and miserable, and that’s okay.

I just wish there was a little more preparation for the realities of university. Maybe one day in twenty years, when I’m slogging through a nine-to-five job, I’ll look back and only remember the amazing bits. And that is certainly not a bad thing.

However, I do think there should be a little more preparation for those starting out at university. A heads up that you might not feel amazing all the time and that that’s okay. Back in September whenever I wasn’t enjoying every single moment I worried that I was doing it wrong, that there was something wrong with me. The truth is that nothing is perfect all the time. And the most important lesson I’ve learnt so far this year is that that’s okay.

After all, if everything was amazing all the time then it wouldn’t be amazing, it would just be normal.

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