Reflecting on School & Education

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I have to be honest, I spent my education counting down the minutes to finally finish for the day and get to hang out with my friends. I hated being forced to learn about things I just didn’t care about and that I felt had no relevance to my life or my future. Of course, as we all do, I now look back and wish I’d paid more attention as it was pretty interesting after all haha.

The best part of school for me was being able to hang out with my friends everyday and  I have vivid memories of meeting everyone in the morning, walking to school together, passing notes to each other between classes, sneaking my iPod in my jumper sleeve and feeding the headphone wires up through my polo shirt – ah the good old days!

Despite loving the social side of school I really didn’t want to go to college. I felt done with education and am a much more creative person when I have the freedom to choose what I do with my time, but my parents convinced me that college was the best next step and as much as I was done with a set educational system, I was most definitely not done with hanging out with my friends everyday haha!

Anyway, I went. I got to choose my subjects which was perfect for me. I chose psychology as I LOVE everything to do with human behaviour and the mind – I always have and I always will. I also chose music technology because music was my absolute life when I was 16. I went to gigs every weekend and spent 24/7 with music plugged into my ears. Of course, to balance this out I had to do something sensible, so opted for business studies and geography. To be honest, geography was probably one of my favourite subjects at school and I genuinely love geography so I would probably be happy with my choices if I was going back to college today.

I did really well in my first year and for the first time in my life got straight A’s. How on EARTH did this happen? Through school I was so proud of my ‘rebellious’ streak and thrived on knowing I didn’t care (teenagers…), but for the first time I thought, ‘oh my god, doing well feels really good’. Unfortunately I got really ill during my second year and everything went to shit, but still – I did well that one time haha!! 

In a nutshell, I started to suffer with the symptoms of what was (many years later) diagnosed as Lupus and fibromyalgia – yay. I struggled a lot through this time and even though overall I got B’s and C’s, my ‘nerdy’ days were short lived. At this point I just wanted out, and went and got myself a job. 

I loved working, I was on £16,000 and I felt LOADED. I paid £250 a month rent to live at home and the rest pretty much all went to ASOS and going out and it was amazing. I felt like I had so much money and freedom. The company I worked for was great, the people were great, life was great.

After about a year and a half of staying at my mates uni houses on weekends and hearing about everyone’s seminars and lectures, I felt like there was a bit of an educational shaped hole in my soul. It was a weird feeling for me because I had no idea I would feel this way, but when I realised I was leading all my conversations towards Zimbardo or human behaviour, I knew I wasn’t as over education as I’d thought. 

I’m an all or nothing kinda girl, so for me going to uni was a decision I made and it just happened. My brother went to visit countless universities, and planned what he was going to study and where he was going to go for years and years – I sat down and thought, I like Bristol – apply there, I have been to a gig at Norwich UEA – apply there, and I like the sea so Bournemouth will do… apply! 

Already knowing my results, I would find out if I was accepted straight away and Bristol was the first to come back with a confirmed offer so off to Bristol it was! I was thrilled because my best friend went to uni in Bristol and it was only an hour and a half from home where my other friends were so it was perfect.

I saved up enough money to cover my accommodation for one year with a bit of spending money to supplement my student loan and off I went. I don’t remember feeling scared or worried at all – I was just excited and so ready for more independence. The only thing that made me sad was leaving my cat behind at home! I left in September 2010 and never looked back.

I enjoyed uni so much. It’s true what everyone say, it’s the absolute best time of your life. You can have adult life, with real responsibilities, but you have massive support through student loans, your university, friends and wider social circles, and for me, that is all I had ever wanted. 

When I look back I often think I could have made more effort to expand my friendship groups a bit more, I definitely clung onto my favourite people and put all my time and energy into my close friends and specific groups including friends outside of uni, but to be honest, that’s who I am. I’ve always preferred having a handful of close friends than 100 acquaintances you go out with on weekends. I met one of my true soulmates and best friends I ever had at uni. We lived together for the three years that we studied (in a shared house with others), and lived together for another year after graduating too. We went on holidays’, city breaks, countless nights out and everything in between together for four years.  It’s rare to find friends that you can be your true self with and I think this part of my life helped me find myself in so many ways so really, there are no regrets here.

I had a great mix of work and play at uni. I never missed a deadline (although many times I made it by the skin of my teeth), and I was happy with my course (psychology, dah), but I partied every night I could manage, I went to the gym more than I ever have in my life. I smoked, I drank, I ate crap, I had a the best friends in the whole world and every day was an absolute fucking blast. I loved my house, my routine, my lifestyle and just everything that came with it all. 

If you are considering going to uni, or going back into education – I highly recommend it. My experience was amazing, and to be honest, I found going a couple of years later than everyone else in my circle really suited me. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to do it all over again and I would happily go back into education tomorrow! 

There are so many types of learning these days which is ideal for so many people as moving away and going to uni isn’t possible for lots of reasons; money, childcare, anxiety or family commitments. Even if you don’t want to study, or you’re the other side of education like me, there are tonnes of online courses you can do to continue learning in your spare time. I have done lots of courses like this because I think it’s important to grow and develop your whole life.

I would be really interested to learn about your experiences in education too as everyones is so different. Let me know on Instagram!

 

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