Here Are The Facts: I’m Unhappy

Here Are The Facts: I’m Unhappy

So far, being twenty hasn’t been that great. Okay, I can’t judge a whole year based on a week’s experience. Being nineteen wasn’t brilliant. Eighteen was stressful. Seventeen was painful and full of difficulties. So twenty has the potential to at least be better than those, if I give it a chance.

But, well, sometimes university just kind of sucks.

I try to be honest on my blog and on other social media, but there are limitations to that. I don’t like the culture of only portraying the good parts of your life, because it just makes it harder for those who aren’t having a good time. Sanitising all your experiences before sharing them makes them less real. At the same time, I’m aware that this blog in particular is very public. Anyone, up to and including my lecturers, supervisors, etc, could stumble on it.

So I don’t really talk about university. I don’t talk about the bad parts because I’m worried about putting people off who are thinking of applying to Cambridge or for ASNaC or just generally to uni. I don’t talk about how difficult I find it in case this makes people anxious. I don’t complain about the workload or the cost or the inflexibility of the university’s style because I don’t want faculty and staff reading it and thinking it’s a personal thing when it’s absolutely not. (Mostly…)

Also, if my mum’s reading this, I don’t want her to worry unduly about me. Which is kind of a lost cause because she’s a worrier through and through.

It’s reached a point where my silence on the topic feels dishonest, and where I don’t blog because there’s nothing to say unless I admit that I barely got out of bed for three days because I didn’t see the point. Talking about my struggles with uni is intrinsically linked to talking about my health, both mental and physical, and so I end up avoiding the topic entirely.

I can’t do that forever.

The fact is that I’m paying a whole heap of money for the privilege of being miserable for three years.

The fact is that I’m a barely functioning human being right now, struggling to find the energy and the motivation to make myself meals that are nutritious enough to give me the energy to do anything else.

The fact is that my room is a tip and I haven’t done the washing up in days and I keep not eating enough and I got up at 2pm yesterday and I’m behind on all my work and I’m so, so, exhausted.

The fact is that earlier this week I didn’t shower for three days and I didn’t even realise it until I noticed that I smelled.

The fact is that even when I can motivate myself to cook, I can then barely force myself to eat, and even the concept of food-as-fuel can’t help me choke down whatever ill-fated culinary experiment I’ve made.

The fact is that the thought of doing work makes me want to throw up and/or have a full-blown panic attack, and thinking about how behind I am is just stressing me out, and I keep reading books just so that I can escape from my own head once in a while but I’ve read 28 (fiction) books this month and I think it’s getting a little out of control.

The fact is that the only reason I’m still here at this point is that I’ve committed to doing Romeo & Juliet with the ballet club at the end of February, and quite often, ballet is the only thing that will get me to leave my room.

The fact is that the fleeting moments of happiness I felt at ceilidh band on Thursday (the first time I’d been able to go in ages) were such an exception to the rule that they were notable, however small they were in themselves.

The fact is that I keep dwelling on the idea of saying nothing to anyone and just going to the station and getting on the first train home, because probably, no one would notice for a while.

The fact is that the only things I enjoy are the non-academic, non-uni-specific things: ballet, ceilidh band, writing, reading.

The fact is I feel isolated and stressed and I want to go home.

But I don’t say these things. Because they might put people off, or make them worry about me, or seem ungrateful when I’m extremely privileged to be able to go to a university like Cambridge (even if it’s costing an arm and a leg because the living costs in this city are so high). Also, they’re just kind of a downer, and no one wants to read a laundry list of miseries and frustrations.

I can’t keep being dishonest and pretending that everything’s fine, because it’s not. So many people I know are having a great time at university. They’ve made friends for life, fallen in love with their course, and are active members of numerous societies, and I’m happy for them. I just wish I wasn’t quite so jealous.

So. These are the facts. Despite the good things, I’m miserable. I’m unhappy. I’m stressed. Maybe it’s because it’s second year, maybe it’s because it’s January, maybe it’s because my mental health seems to have gone drastically downhill later… but I want to go home.

Sorry to be such a misery-guts. I considered not posting this, but… well. Like I said. Honesty has always been my policy, and I guess if you know where I’m coming from, I can write posts in a more natural way and not have to sound cheerful when I’m not.

Now I need to post this before I lose my nerve and delete it.

10 thoughts on “Here Are The Facts: I’m Unhappy

  1. My second year at University might have been the worst time of my life; so you aren’t alone in wanting what it represents and not wanting the actual moments.

    If you feel it might help to talk, or just vent, and don’t want to do it publicly, feel free to email your thoughts/rants/anythings to me. Or to not, if you don’t want to.

    Either way, I hope you find things to enjoy.

    1. Thanks, that’s comforting. It can be frustrating — I thought after first year, I’d settle down and be able to have actual fun, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Good to know I’m not alone, though.

  2. Urgh, yes. Winter is never a great time for me, especially after the holidays/winter break when it doesn’t seem like there’s anything to look forward to for a long time. These past few weeks haven’t been very productive in terms of reading or writing or blogging. It’s all just kind of… blahhh and dreary and very very mentally tired. I love it here at school, but I’m also exhausted all the time, and it’s weird to think that I don’t really talk about it on my blog so most people end up not knowing. Maybe I should at some point? IDK. I think I’d like to, eventually, but not right now. At any rate, *hugs* and I hope you feel better.

    1. Occasionally I’m like, “I would be happy if I wasn’t tired,” or I’m enjoying myself but just worn out. Mostly, though, I haven’t been able to find anything that makes up for the exhaustion. Sigh. And my birthday’s in January, so after the break I sort of have that to look forward to, but I just really don’t well with these short winter days. My weird sleep patterns mean I sometimes miss the sunlight entirely. I need the summer hours to ensure I actually get some fresh air and vitamin D.

      1. YES. This. Last semester was much worse in terms of sleep patterns and waking up as the sun was setting, but I still hate it so much… I like winter so much more in theory, and then when it’s actually winter, I’m ready for it to be literally any other season.

  3. I’m one of thsoe who had a blessedly wonderful time at uni, and I had more breakdowns in second year than any other point in my life. It’s tough. It’s really tough – and this isn’t at Cambridge. You are dealing with an astronomical amount of pressure and expectation. And that’s on top of your mental and physical health.

    There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are unhappy. You’re not ungrateful – you worked damn hard to get to Cambridge after all! – and bottling it all up inside will not help.

    But if I may say so – you are doing incredibly well. You’re hanging in there. You’re sticking it out, you’re not letting the crappy feelings win and that speaks volumes more than the understandable unhappiness does.

    Finding things like ballet and the little breaks like Ceilidh Band will hopefully help you keep your head above water until your brain remembers what it’s supposed to be doing and you get to perk up. Hopefully as the sun returns and the awful middle part of every uni year ends, it’ll get easier to cope.

    Until then – I as ever offer what support I can from the other end of the country xP

  4. I hear ya, I do…I feel this way a lot and I don’t even GO to uni, so I can’t imagine the overwhelmingness of uni on top of struggling with all of this. I also think you’re brave for posting the good and the bad. (I tend to only post the good, sad sucker me.)

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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