Growing Pains – finding a path after graduation

By Hattie;

It’s official. My degree, written on parchment paper, has come through the door and I am officially a graduate. I should be excited for all the next adventures waiting… But, why do I feel like my university is dumping me? It’s like they’ve sent my things in the post with a passive aggressive congratulations and be on your way. I know it would always come to an end and on some late night study sessions I wished it had come sooner. I had the most amazing four years at university, even with a few bumps along the way…. strike action and winter storm bumps and a global pandemic kind of bump. It’s fair to say, it wasn’t easy. But it was still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Graduating in absentia is lonely, however. It’s a click of button to end your final seminar and another click to submit your final piece of work. Then it’s all come to the end. No hat, no cloak. Just like that! Conversations start changing from assignment chitter, to where’s your life going chatter. This shit is scary. Nobody really prepares you for this stage of life. Whether you have studied or not, everyone goes through it. Change starts to appear in all areas of life. Some of the things I’ve noticed over the past year would be: increasing activity on Right Move, the desire to watch children’s films, heavier anxiety about finance and stability, and even physical changes in my body. I have heard of the ‘Second Puberty‘; I mean what kind of fresh hell is that? My spotty and over-emotional teenage years were over… I thought so anyway. But no, your body and hormones all change again in your 20s. Your physical capabilities change too, not to mention after a pandemic. Stairs tire me now, I look for comfort in my shoes and underwear. Is this just me? Am I entirely boring now? I haven’t even mentioned the mood swings: from enraged postoffice experiences, to sobbing over infestations of fruit flies. The pressure is all consuming.

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Why I Went Back to University – searching for a path

By Michael;

A few years ago, I wrote a somewhat zany post in which I explored the differences between the nightmares I have as an adult and the ones that plagued me as a child. In that post. I listed returning to education as one of my most frequent recurring nightmares as an adult- specifically in the form of a postgraduate degree. In each version of the dream, I would be unable to perform basic tasks- keeping up with deadlines, concentrating on assignments, or simply understanding the work. It all amounted to a general sense of being “out of touch”, of going back to something I used to do and finding myself no longer able to function in that setting. I’d lost that part of myself forever.

And yet here I am, right now in my waking life, in the thick of postgraduate education. After graduating from the University of Winchester with a BA in Creative Writing in 2014, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, or better yet- what I could possibly offer to the job market. I came close to doing an online MA in Creative Writing, but my heart wasn’t in it. Delaying adulthood didn’t seem like an adequate justification for taking on more debt. After that I stopped considering education- though as I mentioned, it would continue to creep into my dreams for some reason.

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Reblogged: Me, My Mental Health Battle and I: My University Story

In the blog-post linked below, a third-year university student, with dyspraxia and a multi-system disorder, shares his mental health struggles and crises, especially, during the second-year, and provides useful advice for addressing mental health difficulties, including social anxiety and depression, at university. A key piece of advice he offers, based on his own improvement, is sharing concerns and difficulties with trusted people by reaching out to university mental health and well-being services and amongst peers.

The student, Bukky, presents himself as outgoing and having a close group of friends and, yet, he found himself, in the second year, unable to leave his room – and, at times, even unable to answer his mother’s phone calls. He also describes struggling to eat and to look at people. He ascribes the difficulties to a combination of depression, social anxiety, stress anxiety and his existing challenges with dyspraxia and a rare multi-system disorder, known as Kabuki Syndrome.

“I realised on reflection,” he writes,  “these feelings stemmed from a multiple of reasons, such as being home sick, stressed about course work and deadlines, feel really about myself along with having a hard time progressing from first year to second year along with several breakdowns.” He adds, “(s)ome of my internal struggles came thinking and feeling like I was different, I wasn’t like everybody else.”

Bukky lists actions that benefited him, including reaching out to the university – including his uni mentor and the well-being service for advice and help. He received meetings with his mentor, regular counselling, food vouchers, more time for his coursework and he also scheduled extra time to visit his family. He describes being checked on every day by Student Well-being.

He also shared his difficulties with his family and his friends – who convinced whom to stay on because they “explained their own university experience would not be the same if I wasn’t around.”

Finally, Bukky recognised that he felt different and lacking compared to others. He outlines a series of actions he took on his own to boost his own mood and self-esteem, including listening to music with uplifting and relatable lyrics and reading positive quotes on social media in order to feel his own self-worth.

Whilst no two situations are alike, the experience of this student, who was fortunate to have a supportive friendship network, suggest that sharing difficulties and seeking help from friends and support services can be highly beneficial. They enable communication, attention and a relieving of the stresses of university academic life by, for example, adjustments to deadlines and exams. Moreover, peers can provide a support network to relieve isolation and loss of self-esteem. Finally, personal work to strengthen self-worth through connecting with interests and inspirational stories also benefited this individual.

Read the full blog-post by University of Derby third-year student, Bukky, at his blog.

CEO OF My Own Life


My name is Bukky, I am a third-year Media and Communications student at the University of Derby. I would say my friends would describe me as very smiley, bubbly, chatty, humorous and laidback. As you can look at from the pictures above. However, I went from trying to do my best fortnight moves in Walkabout to feeling very anxious and refusing to leave my room. I’d like to share my story with you, in hope that if you relate, I can support you in improving your mental health while at university.

2:How I struggled?

1:Hold on, let’s rewind – Me refusing to leave my room, yep that was how I felt. Let’s just say, my second year at university was when my mental health really affected me more than ever. I had days where I would be so depressed, for no clear reason, to the point where I switched…

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