What If They Weren’t The Best?

Thursday, 12 September 2019

I’ve been thinking about this a lot - more than I should lately.

As grad week comes to a close, I’m reflecting and realizing a few things. One; that I loved Exeter with its hills and quirks. Two; the people who took me in were way too patient and loving. And three; that my time in Exeter wasn’t my happiest.

The collective ‘We’ had said; University will be the best years of your life. When I asked why; they said it changes you. You'll grow as a person, learn somethings about the real world and maybe find a love or two. While it certainly has changed me, I don’t think it was for the best.

In truth; I'm leaving Exeter tired, drained - and a little lonely.

What happened?

3 years ago, I enrolled at the University of Exeter. A small city in Devon with a quayside and the highest tree-to-student ratio. I remember being excited to be somewhere new. It was unreal, I genuinely thought it was going to be for the best.

No one leaves Uni the same person they came. For instance, I don’t wear braces anymore among other differences. My hair has grown out and I embraced the sun. Some things stay the same though; my eyes slant when I smile and I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Honestly, I don’t. I’m surprised I made it this far.

Uni makes you feel both empowered and undermined. Everyone deserves to be here, but do you? Maybe you had slipped through the cracks, like a leech sucking off academia. Hyperbolically, of course. The hyperbole stems from some truth though. That thought lingers until it overwhelms you. This Uni is real and this world is real.

Something here is real, but it’s not you.

It felt like I had taken this opportunity of a lifetime to make sour memories and heartbreak. I studied what I did, but never fully embraced the Uni experience. I never went out more than once a month and joined few societies. More late nights were spent watching Netflix alone than with friends. I lost interest in writing and blogging despite promising I would update.

Instead, I missed friends and family. 8000 miles away with a 7 hour time difference. I’m not a texter so I rarely responded unless to send an appropriate cat gif. Everyone close to me was growing up, and the people around me were too grown up. Uni had not turned out the way I had expected - it was stagnant, tiring.

Hills don’t like me very much and the sporty lad culture clashed with my idealization of Uni. I wanted stories from Exeter; of endless nights and strobe lights. Instead, they were sleepless in a cluttered bedroom. The stories I do have are traumatic, boring and loveless. I wish they were better, then they’d be worth telling.

This isn't supposed to sound like I'm whining. I'm not.

I am forever grateful that I have had this opportunity. I got a Law degree from a Russell-Group University, I have made some life long friends and learn a few deep lessons I will carry with me forever. This isn't a complaint, just reflecting on University. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst.

If I could change anything, I would have set reasonable expectations on myself and University. I'd manage my time better and perhaps traveled more. Regardless, life moves on and so will I.

Were your Uni Days what you expected?

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