Well, my last couple of days have been shockers. I am finally, completely, utterly, wonderfully FREE for summer. Imma blessed with the sweet taste of freedom and although it tastes freakin’ delicious, I don’t quite know what to do with myself. I keep having a gut-wrenching, stomach-flipping, nausea-inducing panic that I’ve forgotten something really important that I should have been doing, all to turn around and realise I’m still in revision mode and thinking I’ve got some flashcards to be writing. But I don’t. Because I’m FREE!
And oh my freakin’ goodness- I cannot explain just how incredible not having university stress encompassing practically every waking thought is. I feel like I can breathe again. And watch Netflix without the guilt, of course.
University, so far, has been some of the best (and worst) times of my life. To say it’s been a rollercoaster is an understatement- I’ve been flipped upside down and tossed around more than a loop de loop, and it feels like a breath of fresh air to finally be off that bladdy ride. And it’s about bladdy time that we stopped pretending university is all fun and games, and that everyone’s living their best life because I can assure you, none of us are- so let’s stop pretending, ye? I feel like rambling on about why university hasn’t exactly lived up to the ‘omg u party all the time n u have no cares it’s so uhmazin’ hype should be saved for another post at a later date- so today I thought I’d strip back the blogging to everyone’s favourite listicle: imma ramble about some lessons my second year at university has taught me, instead.
This is mainly a choice because I only finished my exams two days ago, and imma ease myself back into this busy blogging lark again, because y’know, I want a lil bit of a rest at the mo, too. Starting next week, I should be back to regular posting: twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I thought I’d ease myself in this week with a wee lil post- hello 1st June, aren’t you BEAUTIFUL.
Madeleine Mae is back – and imma determined to make this summer my summer of bloggin’ to my best.
So without further adooooo, here’s many a thing I’ve learnt in my second year of university:
Move into student housing at your own peril
This year, our estate agent has inflicted on us an extortionately priced 7-bed house that falls apart weekly, flooded, had a mouse infestation and was covered in dirt and grime when we first entered the property, to name just a few of our daily adventures with KB Roman Lettings- and yes KB, I’m calling you out on this one, pal. To name a few things that have fallen apart this year voluntarily, we’ve had a broken microwave (nearly set fire to my housemate’s ready meal), two faulty ovens, a washing machine that floods, a boiler that floods, a boiler that broke, a fridge that broke (that was really hilarious to have our food go off mate) around three showers that were incredibly dodgy and oh yeah- and this is the best one- a front door that decided to stop its lockable ability. And to say our house is held together by masking tape would be a hilarious metaphor, but also depressingly true, as we have just found out part of the roofing is held together by a dodgily industrial strength masking tape in an attempt to ‘stop’ flooding from the roof when rain decides to holla at us- which is weekly. Oh my dear first year little self- you did not know what utter joys were to be found upon leaving the comfy lil haven of halls.
Living with best friends will be the best – and the worst
Disclaimer: by the worst, I don’t mean this in a bad way. And before u scream ‘how can u? that makes no sense’ at my blog post, gimme a chance to explain. Living with my 6 best friends during second year has been a bellyaching laugh a minute: I am beyond grateful to be able to live with a freakin’ awesome bunch o’ gals. However, for all the bellyaching laughs, delirious midnight chats on the landing and evenings sat laughing in our kitchen about how goddamn AWFUL our kitchen is, there’s the piling stress of university work left unattended. Now, we’re generally v good when it comes to important essay deadlines or exams- we’ll all crack on when the cookie crumbles. However, day to day, uni lecture to uni lecture, seminar prep would definitely be left slightly unattended to favour an evening chinwaggin’ w pals. Just never start the year off with a positive mindset that you’ll forever be on top of every piece of work 24/7, because that’s never going to happen. Unless you live in a studio flat. And never go outside.
The jump from first to second year will hit you like 15,000 tonnes of bricks
I wish I could go back in time and give a more accurate response to anyone who kindly told me that the first year of university would be the worst: I’d like to guffaw in their ridiculous lil faces. My response now would be precisely this: ‘hahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah good one, gimme another joke to laugh at’. The jump from A-Levels to university was not half as disgustingly stress-breakdown inducing as the jump between first and second year. It would be no exaggeration to say that I’ve spent the majority of second year genuinely wanting to quit university- it has been absolutely hellish. The workload is impossibly unattainable, and that’s before you even glance at the ‘secondary reading’ lists for English students; the pressure to achieve nothing but firsts at a Russell Group makes you want to quit uni quicker than saying ‘bachelor of arts’; and just you try keeping up a fulfilling social life amongst essays, exams, adulting and internships. Please never feel like you’re the only one who’s on the verge of quitting uni and living in a hole somewhere, bc I too feel u pal, I too feel ya.
You will have a stress-induced breakdown at least twice a week
It’s kinda funny to look back on, but the amount of times me and my pals have perpetually sobbed, laugh-cried and hopelessly despaired at the stress life at a Russell Group puts you under is enough to make the happiest of people just a little bit sad. House conversations usually revolve around the impossibility of attempting to maintain social lives, the stress of trying to find an internship over summer and how the latest essay is making us cry on the daily. Once it’s over, you can look back on it with a fond, rose-tinted pride that you got through some of the hardest months, but when you’re in the thick of it, God help u.
Don’t let a third year tell you you don’t even know stress yet
I’m sorry. I know I’m not a third year yet, and I totally understand that the year is going to be absolutely hellish, but there’s just no comparing the different stages of a degree. This year, I was forced to take modules I didn’t want to and I juggled an internship two days a week alongside uni. Next year, fingers crossed, there’ll be less contact hours, I’ll enjoy my courses more as I actually had the freedom to pick them, and I won’t have an internship to balance alongside uni. NEVER let a current third year tell you you have it easy- every year is equally difficult for differing reasons.
Now let me eat my words come September, lol.
One thing I’ve learnt this year, and sadly I’ve learnt the hard way: never, ever let anyone make you feel inferior. Whether that’s a third year talking down to your second year self like you’re incredibly small and have ‘a lot to learn’, or whether that’s because those higher up in a so-called inclusive society want to make you feel like your hard-working efforts aren’t good enough, please never ever let someone make you feel insignificant, stupid or not worthy enough. I stupidly allowed the culture of a society at uni make me give up a position that I really enjoyed and was really passionate about- and I only gave it up because certain people made me feel like a teeny tiny idiot. And I’ve learnt through the other journalistic projects I’ve worked on this year, that I’m not a teeny tiny idiot. I lack some self-confidence, but I do actually have some value, I work really hard and I am kinda good at what I want to do. And it’s poop that I was made to feel otherwise. So the lesson to be learnt from this is: take part in societies because you’re passionate about them, and if they’re negatively impacting your mindset, it’s okay to take a step back- but only do that once you’re sure it’s for the best. Don’t let people make ya feel poop, basically.
Second year is a time for figuring out what the heck you’ll do with your life when you graduate
One thing I am super proud of and super happy about this year, is the steps I’ve taken to working out exactly what I wanna do with me life. I’ve spent the whole uni year interning: first at a student marketing agency and and magazine British American Media, where I was part of the editorial team, and then at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as a PR Intern. I’ve thrown my blog out there to scary PRs and brands, and have been given some awesome opportunities because of that, and I feel like I have a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life, now. And I’m just hoping summer has some exciting things in the pipeline, too. Third year is going to be hella stressful, I completely realise- so I know it’s best to start planning ahead and figuring some things out now. And it’s just been so FUN. I feel like the working world fits my lil personality better than the world of academia, and I am absolutely buzzing to leave uni and work my way towards my dream career. And I really don’t mind if that’s a little sad.
If you’re struggling, it’s 150-freakin’ percent okay to admit it – and once you do, you’ll find out everyone else is battling through uni just the same
I’ve not exactly had a 24/7 ball this year. From October-January, and possibly through to March, I was not a-okay. And there’s probably another blog post in here to fully explain things. But I was struggling with a lot of grief really missing my Dad, which suddenly decided to hit me more than ever 2 years after his death, and I felt ridiculous for not being able to cope. Throw into the mix university stress and the fact that that’d hit me like, yes, 15,000 tonnes of bricks, and I was really not a happy bunny. I needed someone to talk to about all these things that wasn’t my family, my boyfriend or my friends. Because burdening them 24/7 felt unfair, and to be honest, I was embarrassed that I wasn’t feeling tip-top. And being referred to a university counsellor this year lessened the pressure I was putting on myself to be the happiest bunny every single day. And as soon as I started counselling, and told my friends, family and boyfriend about it, I bloody started realising that none of us are a-okay 24/7. And you know what? I’m the closest to a-okay I think I might have felt in two whole years in recent weeks, and that’s because the university pressures have lessened, summer is drawing closer and I’ve learnt the flipping important lesson that we’re all struggling with our own problems. No one is okay all the time, and that’s just a side effect of life. I’m a happy bean for having realised this.
You’ll have a jaw-dropping revelation about life potentially on the daily
Above paragraph is one of those jaw-dropping revelations. Along with other hella big revelations such as realising that pals who are constantly on the lookout for the next social climb are not the kinda pals I’m about; when I was 10 I used to think I’d have a house and kids by 25, but now I’m considering whether I’ll let alone have a career by that point; adults never have their lives together, they’re just older people disguising their childish mentalities; life’s too short not to enjoy yourself as much as is possible; I’ll be 21 in September and that is OLD and the fact that I want my very own freakin’ SAUSAGE DOG. These revelations pop into ya brain on the daily, usually mid-shower, and it’s these kinda revelations which I think are all a part of hitting ya twenties.
You’ll finally realise it’s just fine to be however you want to be
I’m not your average lives for the weekend, parties three times a week kinda girl. But let’s be honest, could I ever be with a long term, long distance relationship and a sick bunch of pals to see from the comfort of my own house? I love going out when I’m in the mood, but I’m not your average hardcore uni student. I’m also ambitious- I like to fill my lazy days with productive things like blogging and internship hunting. And I spend a lot more money than the average student on clothes. But that is just fine. And although second year’s been at times absofrickinlutely GrOsS, I’ve learnt some wonderful life lessons that I’ll carry with me forevs.
Over n out second year, you’ve been alreet xoxo