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– 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.

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