My name is Emma, I’m 18 and I went to Northumbria University for two days. I can’t really say I got the University experience from those two days, unless University is school but with a lot more drinking… then I totally got the experience apart from I didn’t do any of the drinking, I just heard the drinking at 2 am when I was trying to sleep!
So why did I dropout and come home? Hmm… it’s difficult to explain, not only to those I don’t know but to my parents. The only way I could even articulate how much I missed them was to cry and ask for them to come and get me. So how do I explain it to you reading? Well how do I explain the loneliness? The feeling of debt? The wanting to go into the kitchen but not being able to because of random strangers being in there? Watching money slowly drip out of my account with no way to replenish it? The feeling that something was just off?
If I’m honest, university wasn’t how it was described to me.
People didn’t just come knocking on your door and say ‘Hi’, people didn’t start talking to you because you were there alone and certainly people did not invite you into their friendship group and if you don’t like to party then good luck meeting new people at least in those first few days.. Sure, I could have stuck around and waited for classes to begin but for that to happen I would have had to go through a week of not knowing anybody because I didn’t like to party. And being quite frank, the loneliness was crippling.
If somebody has a thorn in their arm you don’t tell them to let it settle and get used to it, you tell them to get it out…
There is no way to describe the pain I felt over the simple things, smelling my shirt and realising it smelt of home, thinking about my dogs and realising I wouldn’t see them growing and the sudden crying when I messaged a friend on Facebook. The crippling feeling of loneliness I experienced was overwhelming. I’m an only child and an introvert and I have never, ever felt so lonely before in my life. I just spent 10 weeks pretty much in my bedroom but the thought of spending the same amount of time in that flat was enough to drive me over the edge.
University is this huge change that nobody prepares you for and sure maybe that’s what being an adult is about. But everybody is up for telling you the great laughs out you will have and the parties you’ll attend, the fresher’s week you’ll have and the amazing people you’ll meet… that’s all well and good, if you are going there with friends or are close to home. I was 4 hours away with no friends there whatsoever and that was too hard for me. I’ll put my hands up and admit that honestly, it was too difficult and I’m not ready to leave home just yet.
Tell potential students a bit more about it, don’t gloss over the homesickness and tiredness, don’t skip the hunger and the weight of everything. Inform people so they can make true decisions.
I’m only 18 and I have years in front of me of life so no, I don’t think I’ve messed my life up… I’ll only know that when I die won’t I? And as I’m not dead yet, I’ve got a lot more living left to do, whether that be with a degree or without one.
I am a university dropout, I got top grades in my BTEC’s and have 13 GCSE’s under my belt… university just wasn’t for me and we should offer more help to the kids that come to this same understanding as myself.
Thank you for reading, I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has… I’ve been answering them to random people for the last two weeks, I’ll answer a few more.