Image: Urge/ Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

On resisting the urge to spiral at university

The second term of university can bring out its own set of fresh anxieties. The first term is all about new beginnings and opportunities. There’s so much to do, so many people to meet. You’re expected to go overboard a few times, or feel lost in the crowd, because everyone’s still finding their feet. The third term is the opposite, with exams locking everyone down in the library in what feels like a prison sentence. If you feel the urge to break down then anyone will understand, because everyone’s losing their grip a little.

In the second term though, you may find yourself hitting burnout, with the thrill and novelty of university going off and the long stretch before a meaningful conclusion very much on your mind. This often happens in second year; it will pass when the finality of final year kicks in. Alternatively, you may find you’re doing just fine, but not satisfied. If this is the case then you’re not odd or ungrateful for your opportunities as it may feel like.

Anecdotes and stories of drunken mayhem are a kind of currency on campus

Also, you’re not missing out on some profound adventure everyone else is having. Maybe you don’t have all the stories you wanted, or the one indescribable thing which has defined university, but that’s okay, the main thing is to avoid what might seem easy and suddenly spiral.

If this hasn’t come to mind then well done, you’re doing great. But if the urge to spiral sounds like a good idea, it’s understandable to reach this conclusion, even if by accident.

Anecdotes and stories of drunken mayhem are a kind of currency on campus. They make for cracking ways to open a conversation, they seem to make you interesting, as it’s easy to imagine people talking about your drunken madness and marvelling at how you do it. It’s seductive to want to lose control because surely a bad night is better than a boring night?

Being around people all the time can get exhausting

The truth is that it’s more than fine if you’re not out doing something all the time. Sometimes going out with friends is exactly what you need to relieve stress and tension, and sometimes it’s the opposite and you need time to yourself to recharge because university can get a bit too much. Being around people all the time can get exhausting.

On campus, it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. Letting go for a day or two is tempting because that seems to be what everyone else is doing.

Your stories will come and your time at uni should always be yours. You don’t have to go out all the time, and it’s okay to have a boring night in.

You need the boring days, the days you consciously don’t do much with

Forcing yourself to be spontaneous, or to have fun at all costs is not going to help you. It’ll just force you to crash, burn and spend more time getting up. By all means drink, enjoy life, but not at the expense of everything else, and certainly not because crashing is better than living healthily.

You can have experiences all you want but that doesn’t necessarily make you a more interesting person. It’s unfortunate that uni hypes up the idea that while here, these will be the best years of your life. The reality tends to be more complicated.

You need the boring days, the days you consciously don’t do much with. Seizing every moment is exhausting and dilutes the good in life, just be okay being boring sometimes, and when you’re satisfied, then get back into the fray. Resisting the urge to spiral is something that we can work on. Most importantly, make sure that you are looking after yourself.


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