Why I didn’t like this place for a little while, and how it got better

I haven’t written a blog since I have come back in January, and I’ve realised why. In all honesty, I have really had a horrible term. It is beginning to look up, but a lot has happened that has made me hold off on blogging. I have had amazing experiences at this uni, but for the last eight weeks I’ve really struggled to see the positive from all the rubbish that has made me ultimately hate being here for a bit. However, I wouldn’t have published this if I didn’t have a positive spin on my awful second term. While I’ve hit my lowest points a few times, I’ve been proactive and have made some changes which are beginning to make my uni experience less terrible.

Why was my second term sucky?

I had a group of close friends in first term, and we literally did everything together. In January when I came back, I was so excited to hang out with these people again and make more memories I could look back on fondly. However, after Christmas we stopped talking. I tried reconnecting but it didn’t work out, so I had a few fun weeks of being really lonely.

The course also got much harder. In first term I found I struggled with the amount of work as opposed to how tough it was. In comparison, this term there has been a much lighter amount of work, but the actual work is so much more difficult. I’m so glad I like my course so I have been able to adapt to this, but it was a huge knock to my confidence struggling so much initially.

I have dealt with anxiety all my life but this term it just got miles worse, manifesting in social anxiety which has and is continuing to impact my life massively. I think my early bad luck with friends really triggered it, and it’s gotten to a point where I don’t go into my kitchen at all anymore to avoid social situations. Thank goodness for meal deals?

However, there is some silver lining. I’ve tried to be as proactive as I can to improve my situation, and I can say it gets better.

How have I tried to improve things?

I started trying to force myself to talk to more people. Being socially anxious, this is quite an alien concept for me, and I found it really mentally taxing at first as it is hard to fight through fear. However, I have begun to make quite a lot more friends who I hang out with regularly. Having people to watch movies or eat out with has made me feel so much better about uni life in general – it’s so nice to finally have more friends.

I’ve also tried to get more involved in societies to feel more of a sense of belonging. I’ve really enjoyed Dodgeball and Alt Music Society, I’ve met some really likeminded people and felt instantly welcomed to these communities. After a day of lectures, I really enjoyed the Alt Music meet where we just got beers from the Union Bar and listened to each others’ vinyls, it was a great way to find new music and also connect with new people through common interests.

I’ve tried to take out more introvert time as well. Adjusting to uni life for me has meant finding the perfect balance between socialising with friends, and just having a night in to do some artwork or play some videogames outside doing uni work. Now every week I’m trying to take out an evening to just do art. I’ve found allocated me time to really improve my mental health, it’s allowed me to reconnect with hobbies that I’d previously lost the time for, and it’s provided me with the opportunity to recharge.

Coursewise, I’ve talked to more people on the course to feel a greater sense of community, and I’ve learned that we are all finding it hard. I really love a lot of the modules we are learning like computational methods and fluid mechanics, which has given me the push to get through the tough work as it’s actually really interesting. If it wasn’t for this, I’d definitely be in a much worse situation.

Finally, I’ve done little things to treat myself. I’ve always wanted my lip pierced and a tattoo, so this term I’ve rewarded myself for pushing through the adversity with a new vertical labret piercing and a tattoo, which I will be getting in three weeks time for my birthday!

Ultimately, I’m still feeling a bit exhausted from the earlier weeks of this term. However, for anyone reading this who is going through an awful time like I have been at points, I hope this encourages you. Uni can get better, and Imperial offers a lot of opportunities to try and make uni life a bit better for students who are struggling with plenty of societies and events. Now I have more friends and am getting much more invested in the course, I am feeling much better than I did, and I wish the same for all of you reading.

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