I have come to the end of my second year at Warwick University. It didn’t quite go as I planned, to say the least. When I look back on this year I see a lot of negatives. I’ve considered dropping out numerous times (even though I knew I never would), I have struggled with my mental health and learnt that not everyone is going to be there for you. However, I want to use this post to reflect on all the good things that have happened this year. When looking back it can be really easy to ignore the good, but bad experiences have not shaped my whole second year and it is important for me to remember that.
In first year I strived to be a people pleaser. I think I was so worried about making friends, I never said no. This year, however, I have strived to be more focused on my own happiness and being myself. This has sometimes left me very lonely but it has also allowed me to meet new people who like me for who I am. I finally decided it was time to start taking my mental health seriously, and have used this year to seek help. It also meant I finally started weight training, something I have wanted to do for years! I can’t express enough how much this has helped me mentally, socially and physically. I feel the most comfortable in myself than I have ever felt and I have found a healthy outlet for dealing with anxiety. Without the adversity I was facing at the start of the year, I don’t think I would have ever braved the ‘scary area’ or started my Instagram. I guess this means I have grown up. I’ve accepted more that not everyone is going to like me and not everyone is going to care or understand what I choose to do but, hey, that’s life!
In terms of my course, it’s been a tough one. I’ve found myself becoming more and more disenchanted with my degree and disillusioned with the education system as a whole. Unlike A-levels, where I slogged to the point I almost couldn’t cope, this year I have been relatively belase about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked, but certainly not to the same extent I used to. This really stressed me out but, when reflecting on it, I actually think that is what kept me sane. Working until you physically cannot work anymore is not healthy and can be really counterproductive. I’ve learnt this year that my happiness and health is more important than pushing for that 1st. If I get a 1st, great! If not, I know that I have tried my best whilst keeping a work-life balance. I also think the disenchantment has come out of something quite positive. When I chose History it was because I did not know what I wanted to do and I thought it nicely left my options open. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally certain now but I now have a clearer idea of what I hope the future holds. The fact this does not involve knowing about Early Modern economy and commerce has definitely left me feeling a bit uninterested (sorry European World), but I guess that isn’t a bad thing. Rather, I have learnt more about myself and have found a direction that excites me.
Despite ups and downs, the hard times that this year has thrown at me have made me realise that it is far better to have a small group of people you trust than a large group of people you are unhappy with. I am extremely grateful for the people that have been there for me this year. Some old friends and some new. I have also celebrated my one year anniversary with my boyfriend who I am going on two holidays with this summer! I feel like I have gained a whole other family through being with him and I’ve really learnt what is important to me. There is so much more out there than simply going out and ‘fitting in’ and I have really learnt to prioritise.
I guess what I’m trying to say is every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes life throws shit at you but I’ve learnt I’m strong enough to deal with it. In the middle of this year I never thought I would be where I am now but I am proud of how far I have come and how much I have developed. I’m not going to say I am looking forward to starting my final year at University but I am certainly not dreading it, which is a start. I will take the lessons I learnt this year with me into my third year and throughout my life and continue to grow and develop as a person.
So, I never thought I would say this, but thank you second year.