Post Graduation and Depression

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Uncategorized, University

My whole school life prepared me for university, nothing at school prepared me for life afterwards. If I go to university my life will be sorted… or so we are led to believe. We are sold many dreams of what life will be like after university, with no real explanation of how to get them. My uni told us a statistic like 90% of graduates gets jobs straight from leaving university. Sounds amazing… yet the reality is these jobs are likely to be nothing to do with the degree they have. I work in retail and completed my degree in Applied Physics. I have all this knowledge that I have spent three solid years working on, with now nowhere to apply it to.

Brighton November 2019 for my 21st

I’ve suffered from mental health issues for a considerable amount of years. It has been a constant battle of ups and downs. I find change hard. I knew the transition to university would be difficult for me, but I didn’t realise how difficult the change back would be. I didn’t realise how lonely I would feel watching life and university life go by without me. I was fortunate in the fact that I lived on campus for three years; meaning that whenever I felt lonely or depressed, there was usually always someone around. I could walk from my room to the library and would guarantee to bump into someone I knew. Which would usually lead me to go to the student union bar instead of the library… Since coming home from university, I’ve not got the friends I have been used to. I have one best friend who is amazing and I have a few acquaintances… people I see now and again… but that is it. At university, in my final year, I had established a large group of friends, so there was always someone to do something with. Now my best friend works and is at university, and so if she is busy, then I do not really know what to do with myself. I am not sure how to develop adult friendships at home, adult life is not like university or school where there are people for you to be friends with. It is tough to try to develop friendships, so I just constantly feel like an irritant to those I do talk to. It makes me wish I had been more popular in school and that I had a friendship group to come back home to. However, I know to be fortunate for the few true friends I have, as others do not have any at all.

While I feel incredibly lucky to be living with my parents, I sometimes wish I was living with my university friends. I wish I was living with people in the same boat as me. Currently, I am surrounded by family members who are married or popping out children. They live lives that I cannot relate to and if I am honest I do not see myself settling down anytime soon. This furthers the feeling of loneliness and that I am not good enough. So not only do I have hardly any friends nearby, but I am also single. Another lie we were fed on university life, that our soulmate would meet us and we’d live happily ever after. However, in my 3 years, I had a grand total of ZERO relationships. So now like the friendship situation, I’m not sure how you now meet guys. Where do people find dates in the adult world because online dating is not the one? Any tips would be grand…

Graduating university is hard, graduating university in the middle of a pandemic when you couldn’t say goodbye to your friends is harder. No finale summer ball, no last night out with those who have kept me sane for the last three years. Just a quick goodbye to those who were on campus and a rush to pack my bags before lockdown hit. The first few weeks of lockdown were survivable, daily FaceTime calls with my friends all over the world. We were all in the same boat. Back home to isolation or back into jobs that we had before university. However now some normality has resumed some of my friends are back to uni, others in graduate jobs, and it feels like everyone is thriving. Everyone is thriving but me.

With all of this also comes the pressure that I’m wasting my life. I thought I would figure out at university what job I’d want when I finished, but if anything it’s led me to be more confused. I’m fortunate to have a job at the minute and know that there are so many friends of mine who are unemployed bouncing from one rejection to the next. I find that my life outside of work is quite dull and my life inside work can some days be emotionally draining. It leads me to live in a state of numbness. Where days turn to weeks and weeks have turned into months. I do not feel like I have succeeded at anything these past few months. I do wonder some nights if my degree was worth it or if I am in any better a situation than before I had a degree. If anything I am more uncertain of what the right decision for my future is. There is a lot of pressure that society and I have put on myself. I tell myself that I am in £40,000 debt and need a job that is worthy of this amount of money. I feel totally lost and overwhelmed about what the right career choice is. I wish I was someone who always knew they wanted to be a vet or had a burning desire to be a nurse. Because I simply feel hopeless with not knowing what is next. However, my indecisive behaviour makes me feel like I am wasting time. However, I now understand that I am still young and I have time to try out different careers. If one doesn’t work out then there are plenty more out there for me to try.

They say university is the best three years but all I can do is sit back and analyse the times I spent. Did I spend too many nights in the library, or depressed in my room? Did I waste too many nights out crying over boys who don’t mean anything to me now? Did I waste the best three years of my life? It’s questions that keep me up at night. I know when looking back at all the Snapchat memories that pop up every day that I made the most out of my three years but there were so many things I still wanted to do. So many adventures I still wanted to complete with my friends. I love looking through my photo albums to see all the antics I got up to, but it feels so bittersweet. Part of me knows my life will never be like that again and misses it. I miss my life of living in the moment and being spontaneous. Part of me knows my liver would not cope with it again… (Why I went out three nights sometimes more a week is beyond me, RIP my savings.) I am trying to be more hopeful and tell myself that the best years of my life are still ahead of me. However, the saying that university is the ‘greatest years of your life’ buzzes around my brain constantly. While I had a good time at university I am not sure that statement rings true. I enjoyed some aspects of university life but some were incredibly difficult too. I have been finding it hard to be optimistic about the future when dealing with depression. It puts this cloud over the future and glorifies the past. I can’t seem to separate in my brain that university did have its lows, it’s like my head just brushes past them. I have been trying to put current life into perspective to try to ease my brains overthinking. Life is pretty tough right now, but it is still way better than some of the lows I experienced at university. I am eating, sleeping properly and navigating day to day life, which is better than some weeks at university. I think social media ruins me, I will compare my current life to others and see that they are all still living their best lives. The images they put on social media do not show their struggles so as usual, I am comparing my nitty-gritty life to the best versions of their lives they are putting on social media. So, I guess this whole article of waffle is also saying if any of you have been looking at my Instagram and thinking I am living a good life. Know that I basically work a 50 hour week, cry a lot and only occasionally do exciting things. I am still posting old pictures from my summer getaway to France, and I am trying to grow accustomed to adult life. A life I am struggling to accept.

Life is weird. No one prepared me for what adulthood is, and so I’m going to just try my best to navigate through it. If you are still at university or just about to start, count yourself lucky every day. University is hard, but the memories you make will play through your mind for years to come. I will forever be grateful for all the good and the bad I experienced. Here’s to whatever is next for me. I will grow through it all and so will you. Know if you are feeling alone and struggling with graduate blues there are charities out there where you can get help. You are not alone. COVID and graduating in 2020 is tough, but you will bloom into a wonderful adult eventually. Take adult life at your own pace, you are doing great.

All the love,

Queen Clo x

How to survive FRESHERS!!!

University

Welcome to the relaunch of Queen Clo!! I am so so excited to show you all what I have been working on. First up is this post, all about my favourite week of the university calendar, fresher’s week! It is in collaboration with the wonderful UcaDO, which is the new peer-to-peer app that’s launching soon. I think it is important to only work with brands that I think will be beneficial for you, that’s why I love UcaDO, at the minute if you pre-register at ucado.co.uk/students/ , you can be in the chance to win £100 each week! If you’re about to become a fresher or are currently a university student, that £100 would be a wonderful way to start (back) at university! So, about the app, it will do more than help you find your next home and build your credit rating; it will also keep you connected to useful local knowledge, and be on hand to help you get the most out of your uni days. Do let me know in the comments if you preregister, here’s to hoping it’s one of you who wins the £100!!

Now on to the post….

So, my first tip is not to pack too much stuff to bring to university. I am the worst for being an over packer, I visited my friends for a week and took the biggest suitcase you can imagine. So, when moving into university you can only imagine the amount I bought, we have a Land Rover, which is a fairly large car and I filled it…. The worst part of it all was that I lived on the third floor of an old building with many, many, steps. On moving in day, I almost died having to do the stairs many times. In reality, I didn’t need half of the things that I had brought with me. I think in my head it was once I had moved I wouldn’t be able to bring things back again with me, and it all needed to be there NOW. When in reality, in September I didn’t need ALLLL my winter clothes and I could’ve brought them back when I visited home in October. Think practical and what you actually need. Worst comes to it you can get things you have forgotten posted to you, (thanks mum for sending me my laptop charger, opps). Also, I found shopping was an incredible way to bond with new friends, so bought more stuff, which I did not have space for in my little room. So, take this into account with how much you bring. Below is a picture of me suffocated with stuff in the car. Just know, this year only my essentials will be brought with hahaha…

Tip number two is to bring a doorstop, I actually took two… My doorstop became so handy within the first two weeks of uni. Firstly, I had it in when I was moving my stuff in which saved me the hassle of trying to hold my door open. My spare doorstep I gave to the girl opposite me (big up Sophie Mould, who I now adore. Mould, you were a dream to live opposite and I’ll miss you next year😭), and it was a great way to meet her. After moving in, I left the doorstop in to allow people to walk past and come in. Having a doorstop shows you are open to people coming in to socialise with you, I actually became friends with the people who came to visit me. When you first start out making as many friends as possible is crucial, because it allows you to see who is going to be your types of people, and after all you are with these people for potentially three years, so it is worth being sociable and meeting people at all opportunities.

When choosing what kitchenware to pick do not buy it from IKEA!!! I swear everyone buys it from them because it is cheap, but it is a nightmare to work out who’s items are who’s when they are all left on the draining board… I ended up having green glasses, pink plates and red cutlery, cause at least I knew they were mine. Another note, it might be worth investing in a mini fridge for your room! I adored the 30 girls I lived with, however annoyingly my food and drinks would sometimes go missing from the fridges…. This year, I will be taking my own mini fridge down with me, so at least I know my food is safe in my room. Plus, I am mega lazy, so if I can make breakfast in my room it may save me 10 minutes in the morning which I can have in bed…

Fresher’s flu is real and it kills you off!!! I had fresher’s flu in the second week of university, which led to a nasty throat infection! Not what you want in your first week. I had never heard of fresher’s flu, and so didn’t think to bring cold and flu tablets or Lemsip, but trust me you will need them. Even if you manage to be the lucky one who doesn’t have it, I can guarantee someone else on your floor would be very grateful for having some of your Lemsip. However, it seemed last year my WHOLE floor had fresher’s flu!! Just remember to drink plenty and to get enough sleep alongside your partying! Also get your meningitis jab, I had viral meningitis this year and it was not pretty!! Luckily because I had the jab I didn’t get bacterial meningitis, which would’ve made me a lot sicker. It does not take long to get done and could potentially save your life.

Next, do not feel like you have to go to every single fresher’s event. My university has two weeks of fresher’s, and realistically I cannot afford to go to every event. Some of the events are in central London, so although the entry is included in my wristband, the expensive drinks and commute are not. That’s why personally I will not go to them, as it will cost me way too much money and effort. Also, it is quite nice to have a night or two in just chilling out and getting used to your new surroundings. When you stay in, you can get to know the people you are living with so much better than you can in a club. In a club, usually you are trying to yell to each other to be heard, at least at your home you can talk about who you are and not worry about if they can hear you or the ringing noise in your ear from the music at the same time you’re trying to speak. Below is Hannah and I enjoying a face mask, during freshers week it is so nice to find time and chill out, plus my face very much needed replenishment.

Now, talking about fresher’s events, check the schedule and see which ones are themed nights. This year I know that there is Zoo Party, back to school disco and where’s Wally, to name a few, so I have pre-bought all my outfits. This saves me the stress of last minute buying the outfits. I am the worst for not having outfits ready, and I know if I don’t have a suitable outfit I will panic and throw a mini meltdown, leading me not to go out. So, do your research and now what you want to wear! If you’re short on cash, you can make yourself fit themes very easily. Below, we just ‘painted’ our faces to fit zoo parties theme!

My favourite thing about being a student is the student discount. Imagine just getting money off for being at uni, a win!! Now, my favourite discount is 30% off at Zizzi’s, meals out are a great way to get to know friends more, but they can be expensive. Having student discount makes you save a few £££ and leads you to be able to do more with your cash. Unidays is a perfect app to join, as is getting an NUS Card, but there are also many free websites you can join too which will send you the latest student deals. Get looking and joining.

Go to your fresher’s fair!! At my fresher’s fair, I got free domino’s pizza and what felt like hundreds of free Yazoo milkshakes… You get some great freebies, who doesn’t love freebies?! Also, it is the perfect way to speak to new people as there will be many people wondering around the stands. Sign up to any societies and clubs as they are also a good way to make friends who have similar interests in you. Sometimes there may be companies hiring for jobs, so give them some of your details so they can contact you about applying. Having a job at university can really help with allowing you to have fun and not live in your overdraft.

Next, STAY SAFE!! When on nights out it is easy to have a false sense of safeness, but please do not ever leave your drink anywhere unattended and watch when it is being made. Sadly, I became aware of a few different friends who had their drinks spiked and became very ill. This is not how you want to start your university experience, so do keep your eyes out. My new thing is to always have £10 note either in the back of my phone or in my purse, you never know when you need it, I am so used to getting Ubers that when my phone has died I panic because I have no money. At least with the £10 you have an alternative way to get home with a taxi. However, it can be used for more than taxis, but save it for when the emergency strikes and you need it. I think it is also incredibly important to save someone you trust as an emergency contact in your phone, while I have both my parents saved as A Mum and A Dad, and saved on speed dial, I also have my friend Abi saved too. If there was an emergency at university and my parents couldn’t get to me, at least Abi (who I lived with), may have been able to come help faster than my parents trying to send help. (Abs if you didn’t know you were my emergency contact, this is you now being aware, opps, don’t kill me….). It is also so important to register for a doctor’s surgery and to know where it and a hospital are. You never know when you may need them in an emergency so already become familiar as to where they are!

Now, the real key to surviving fresher’s is to remember that you may feel broke at the end of it and the homesickness may begin to kick in, but fresher’s week is not what normal university life is.  Sometimes during fresher’s, I felt a tad lonely because everyone I lived with was so busy, but once your course starts and everyone settles down that’s where you begin to have proper meaningful friends. So, while fresher’s week is happening enjoy yourself as much as possible before the work kicks in!! Good luck!

Added Tips from people on Instagram

1. From @teganpersephone : Have your own washing up bowl and keep it in your room with your dishes in so you don’t have to touch other ppls dirty dishes you can move the gross bowl out the sink and put yours in.

2. From @stephanie_may16 : Bring a box of tissues, for freshers flu, crying of laughter (and sadness). A spare towel to mop up spilt drinks? And buy toiletries when they’re on offer as they’re so expensive

3. From @lucywheeler_ make sure you turn up to your first lectures because that’s where you meet your course friends!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx