– Hollie Morris
Going to college was never something I thought I would. I kept comparing myself to mine
High performing friends and family and thought the academic world was a life I was not made for. On results
During the day I camped with friends and listened to them announce from their tents that they had gotten in
her first choice, and on the way to school to collect results, my friends lined up for her
Image in local paper after school had the highest number of admissions in Oxbridge
ever seen. I reluctantly applied through UCAS after being told staying home would be a “waste”
my high school diploma. I have no idea what a “city campus” is, let alone what I wanted from a city
Having spent three years, I picked a university almost at random on the day of the results and moved in a month
I felt quite uncomfortable and wasn’t sure I wanted to leave; I didn’t know anything about the city or the city
The joy and excitement that I saw in my friends was completely alien to me. After a semester, I told my family that I was
I didn’t want to go back even though I loved the course and was blessed with something really caring
Roommate. It wasn’t what I chose, the city wasn’t for me and I felt isolated. On request
‘Give it another semester’ every time I got home, I’d somehow made it to my second summer
Year. At that point, I had accepted that university would be just a drudgery that I had to endure and
that I’ll graduate in another year and could move on. At that point I went to a
University advisor who asked me what I want and I explained that I felt like I hadn’t made up my mind
be there and it was too late to change course. In a couple of sessions we found out that I love history
and my tutors, but that I didn’t have the option to choose and that made me feel like it was me
mask yourself in someone else’s life. I’ve learned that you can’t convince yourself that you are happy with it
Lists of advantages and disadvantages and wishing one time at a time.
It was only after loudly admitting it to friends and a counselor that I wasn’t happy it turned out to be
clearer to me what I wanted. I wanted to be and have surrounded by the energy of a busy city
more opportunities to get active outside of my studies and it was okay that I didn’t find that where I did
Finally, I shared with some friends that I was unhappy where I was and wanted to move. she
assured me I would make it, although it would be difficult, we were in the middle of strikes and we were holding on
It was almost impossible for my tutor to talk about an exam, let alone move anywhere
different. In the end, a tutor met me for coffee and I explained what I wanted from university and why I did
thought I should move. He offered to read a sample of my writing that I would send for transfer
Application, and encouraged me to aim higher with my decisions after I had undergraduate writing
that would be considered alongside my high school diploma. That meant that I got in somewhere I couldn’t have got in
were originally accepted. Then I knew what I wanted and was from my surroundings
more equipped to choose. I chose a house full of people I’d never met and I had to
repeat a year. The changes were huge, but this time it was changes that I chose. For the first
For a couple of weeks my fear was great, but I began to understand my friends’ excitement
felt. As I settled down, I started getting higher up academically and devoting myself to new hobbies
outside of my course.
Sometimes we are convinced of what our next steps should be; I was told that I “should” go
uni at 18, and that I should stick to where I was. But for many of us this is not the way to go.
Living by the standards of others can make anxious voices or depressed moods much louder and
Listen to yourself and realize that you don’t have to graduate in three years, you don’t
have to go right after school or college, and you certainly don’t have to “just go” for fear of missing out
the end. Since then, I’ve graduated from my second college with a grade I’m proud of, and I am currently
complete an MA. It took five years and I’m incredibly happy that I didn’t just “hold out” where I did
was because I wouldn’t study the history I am now, I wouldn’t be an avid climber, and me
would not have met some of my closest friends!
Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at
University or a friend’s assistance, help is available.
I’m Hollie, a Masters in Cultural History in Liverpool. After focusing primarily on the history of mental health and psychiatry, I am consistently amazed at how much we have learned about the human mind and how we can alleviate our fears, and how hard we still try to help other people fallen, our own disadvantage. I hope to continue my interest in mental health and medical history and become more involved in mental health advocacy. The culture surrounding mental wellbeing has a long way to go, and blogs like this one seem like a great place to start.