Aside from the sassy graduation cap and gown…
When I left university, I felt a great sense of anti-climax. Is this what three years had finished with? Someone shaking my hand and a parade for 2 hours of us larking around in gowns and caps. Some age old tradition of us pretending that our degree made us great.
However, it didn’t.
Most people can get a degree now a days. Most people have a degree.
It doesn’t stand us out anymore. And those hours of work, those sleepless days and those stressful times were not worth it.
Now, understand that I’m in no way saying that you didn’t achieve anything. Most people achieved what they wanted to get them to where they wanted, to move to the next step. I sure did. However, it didn’t do much for my health.
I find it difficult to admit that university impacted my mental health far more than I would have wanted. I can’t count the numerous times I ended up crying, I broke away from those who cared for me and I doubted myself. I doubted what I was worth.
I hated myself quite a lot through university. I had people telling me that I couldn’t get where I wanted. One careers adviser told me that I couldn’t do law, and that I wouldn’t succeed (insert line where I tell you that you should probably reconsider your job if you can’t encourage or advise- you flat out just had no idea what to do… good job).
The number of breakdowns, the sleepless nights, the worry about essays, the bad grades, the lecturers who chose favourites, the students who bitched about each other, the constant arguments in the SU… was NOT worth it.
The stress about my future, the content bad cloud over my head… and I saw so many of my friends lose faith in themselves time and time again. I saw so many people fall at the first hurdle and struggle to get up. It was so taxing on everyone trying to claim that all important degree.
Take a look at The Guardian who featured a post on this not so long ago. Strangely enough, I didn’t see this post until I started mine- it seems there is something in the water.. at the university (pls don’t unfollow me because of that rubbish joke, I have better ones I swear). It is clearly a problem.
I entered university with dreams that I would come out the other end an educated and strong woman. Someone who knew what she wanted and who was powerful, and everything great. Though, I’m not that.
I’m still constantly told that I’m a b*tch, that I’m over the top and I’m emotional… we all know where this list goes. And, I’m fairly certain that my male counterparts feel cheated, also. They feel robbed. We put in years of sweat, tears, pain, our mental health, our physical health… and all we have to show is some piece of crap paper.
Oh, and join the queue of people who also have degrees. You’re not special, anymore.
I was told that university would be the greatest time of my life. I can say that it was the greatest time; it was amazing. I met some great people, I danced until the morning, I laughed and I made friends for life. Though, that doesn’t outweigh the side of university that breaks you down.
For me, I believe that everything I put into university wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth the effort I put in and the mental health I risked. It isn’t worth the strain on any student’s mental health.
Maybe, we celebrate the end of a degree because we no longer have to slog out our mental health. We no longer have to put a price on how much a university degree costs (exactly £9,000 a year, but that’s a different topic). The graduation is the light at the end; the end of what has felt like a battle with yourself.
Maybe, some say that university really is the time to challenge yourself- to work hard. How much are you willing to pay for that?
We can’t put a price tag on the mental health of students. It isn’t worth it.
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