When to stop ignoring uni jitters

...from someone who’s done first year twice

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So, you’ve finally started university. Maybe it’s been a great time filled with great people and even better experiences; maybe you love the people on your course; or maybe something doesn’t quite feel right. Perhaps you had this feeling before moving in, but dismissed it as new experience nerves or perhaps this has come on suddenly.

Either way, this is where I come in. In September of 2017, I moved to uni for the first time. It was only a 45 minute drive from my hometown, but something hadn’t felt right all summer. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but cue move-in day and I was crying through the whole process. I tried my best to put on a smile once my mum and step-dad had driven off; tried to meet my new housemates and get involved with their plans, but something just felt wrong.   

Despite literally everyone I knew telling me to ‘stick it out’ because ‘you’re all in the same boat,’ I moved home after 4 days of no sleep and debilitating anxiety. After a couple of months of commuting, I dropped out officially and decided to try again the following year. 

This was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was nerve-wracking trying to convince myself that even though I wasn’t like my friends, who were thriving at?uni, it didn’t mean I’d failed. But, if there’s one thing it taught me it’s that it’s okay to take your time. I got?a full time job as a waitress and met some of the best people I’ve known in the process; I picked up new hobbies; I learned to listen to what my body and mind were telling me; and had countless new experiences.

Cut to 2020, I’m just about to go into my final year at Cardiff. It’s been tough for sure, but I would definitely not be where I am today if I hadn’t listened to what I needed. Also, in moving to Cardiff, I realised that there were countless people who had gone through similar experiences and?that it was a more common than I thought. 

However, if there was one thing I wanted when going through the process of taking a break from uni, it was for someone to tell me that it was okay; that the decisions I was making didn’t make me less successful; and that it’s perfectly normal to not be at that stage just yet. 

University jitters are completely normal. You’re going to be nervous, anxious, excited, and stressed. However, if something just doesn’t feel right and you’re not sure if uni is for you right now, then that’s completely okay. It will be here when/if you’re ready.   

Catherine Bleach

2nd year English Language and Literature

You can find more of my writing on my website (bleachykeen.com) - I talk about my experiences during my gap year and uni there too (and an awful lot more!) 




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