Getting It Together

The last few weeks have pretty much been made up of me trying to be positive, not just more positive but actually happy. The first few days after making the decision to Be Happy were fine, but then came the darker days where positivity seemed like a mask I could hide behind instead of confronting all the crap I’d pushed aside in order to Be Happy.

I’m moving out in just under two weeks, which is simultaneously really exciting but also absolutely terrifying and really sad. I’ve probably written about it before but I don’t get on with my mum, and recently it’s got a lot worse. I need to move out more than want to at this point, even though I’ve wanted to move out for years. I think now it’s actually happening the reality of what it means to leave home has hit me pretty hard, because it’s not like I’m moving out for the adventure of university and halls and that whole new life; I’ve got to go, which is shit. It’s particularly shit because I’ll no longer live 20 minutes away from everyone I know and want to spend time with. This time in 2 weeks I’ll be an hour away from them all, and it terrifies me that that’s going to be too far for them to want to travel so we just won’t see each other. I know, I know, that if we’re as close as I think then distance isn’t an issue, but an hour is a tricky amount of time – it’s close enough that you can easily say ‘it’s only an hour away’ but it’s also far enough that it’s just as easy to say ‘ugh, an hour?!’ and that’s what scares me most.

I’m not that worried about not seeing my friends, because I completely believe that they’ll see an hour as only an hour, but my boyfriend being of the second opinion does worry me, lots. It’s not that I doubt that I’ll see him, because he’s my boyfriend, of course I will. It’s just anxiety, but that doesn’t make it easier to push aside the worry. I hate that my anxiety is back (so strongly). I want it gone, I hate it. There’s always this thing in the back of my head that whispers that my boyfriend doesn’t love me anymore, or that he’s falling out of love. It whispers that I annoy him, and that he deserves better, and that I’m unlovable completely. I’m trying so hard to try and quieten it, but it’s not working anymore.

I’ve somehow gone back to just sitting, with some tv show on in the background, for whole days. I just sit there and do nothing, and then it gets dark and I get into bed and just lie there, then just as I’m finally falling asleep, finally doing something, my mind wakes up and reminds me just how bad a person I am. Thing is, I know really deep down that I’m not a bad person, but knowing that doesn’t allow me to push aside the whispers because they’re so goddamn reasonable.

I’m so scared about moving out. I don’t want to move away, but then at the same time the only reason I’ve ever wanted to do uni is for the social aspect and the living in halls aspect. I feel like I’ve got to go, but I’m not convinced it’s the right thing. Obviously I can’t live at my mum’s anymore, and it’s not like there’s anywhere else to go so this is as good as I can hope for, just really scary.

Also I think my depression is coming back, so yay.

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That Time Of Life

So I’ve been lying here for the last few hours staring at my phone screen waiting for my boyfriend to reply to my messages because he’s sad and isn’t ready to talk about it yet, so I’m worrying that he’s sad and worrying that I can’t help him.

I’ve also been lying here getting deeper and deeper into my Pit Of Despair, because I was talking to my ‘brother’ today about universities, because all of a sudden we’re nearly 18 and have to think about these very Grown Up things that I for one am not nearly as ready for as I thought.

He and I have never actually sat down and had a proper conversation about unis, other than a brief ‘oh I wanna go here’ months ago before any of it was really real. But now it all suddenly is, and so we had that conversation and he’s been accepted to all of his uni choices and none of them are here in London and suddenly it’s real that he’s moving away and won’t be close by anymore and suddenly we’re Growing Up and I am SO not ready for that because we’ve never lived more than 20 minutes away from each other and we’ve known each other since we were 2 months old.

So that was rather a scary thing to realise at lunch time, and then became scarier as the day went on because all of my friends are moving away for uni to and I’m just kinda sorta… here. I’ve applied to do an Art Foundation at CSM, and at a local college, and I’d love that, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to be left behind because, realistically speaking, I am well aware of the fact that my getting in would be the most amazing and unlikely stroke of luck out there, somewhat akin to being struck by lightning. 3 times.

I also can’t shake the feeling that I actually just want to be let loose and be free for a bit, travel and help people and do something meaningful.

But I am also well aware that I significantly lack the funds to do so. And the courage.

If I am being completely honest, I don’t know what I want to do. I know I don’t want to get left behind, and I know I don’t want to lose people, and I don’t want to break up with my boyfriend because I love him an absolutely ridiculous amount, and I didn’t realise it was possible to love someone as much as I do him and to lose that is a terrifying prospect.

My friends keep saying, when I talk to them about not knowing what I really want to do, that a) it’s normal to feel like this because it’s scary and b) I actually do know what I want to do in some way because I know what I love – art.

a) I know it’s normal, and I know it’s scary, and I know everyone feels like this.

b) I do love art, but in the end you can’t make a career out of it alone, and (again if I’m being completely honest) art is amazing but I genuinely do not believe that I have enough of it inside to make anything worth looking at or paying the remotest bit of attention to because one thing that studying art so far has taught me is that all of it is a copy of something else, and originality is basically all gone, and I want to make a difference and not just blend in to a mishmash of other things and people, even if blending in provides safety.

I don’t know, I just feel more than a little bit lost rn, and as much as I keep telling myself that that’s normal and what makes things interesting blah blah blah I’m actually shit-scared because I have no idea what’s going to happen next (and not in some romanticised ‘anything could happen’ way but more in an ‘holy hell anything could happen. help’ way).

So that’s that for now.

Appreciation Post For My Idiot

So in my previous post I wrote that going to university would mean leaving everything and everyone I know, but really there is one person I’m most terrified about leaving behind.

If he ever reads this, not that he ever would, he’ll know this is meant for him right away.

I’ve known him forever, literally, and so I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t around. It’s only recently that I’ve realised just how important he is to me, I mean I’ve always known but just never quite acknowledged it, I suppose because I just figured things would stay as they are with us. Anyway, I’ve always considered him the best of all my best friends, possibly because I’ve known him so long, but only in the past few months have I properly realised that he feels the same way.

He’s like my best friend, brother and other half all rolled into one, in the least sappy way possible. I know that I could tell him all this and he wouldn’t bat an eyelid because it’s the truth, but our relationship has never been a sappy one; we’ve never needed to say the ‘I love you’s because we’ve just known, and because I don’t think a simple ‘I love you’ would suffice to express the way we feel.

If anyone is reading this and getting a niggling suspicion that perhaps we’re not just friends, let me just stop you there; we’re friends. That’s all it’s ever been and all it ever will be because that’s just us. (Plus, he’ll always be the boy who sits on me and farts, and the boy who wipes goodness knows what on me.)

He’s the one person I can trust more than anyone else with anything at all, and I know I’m the same to him, because neither of us would ever dream of judging the other. He’s also the only person I don’t doubt likes me – even if he didn’t, it’s been 17 years so we both know by now that we’re stuck with each other, and there’s no point trying to pretend otherwise so a simple dislike for one another wouldn’t keep us apart.

But yes, saying goodbye to him terrifies me… We’ve never been more than 20 minutes away from one another, and I know that there are phones and texts and Skype and I know that there will be university holidays and things, but I’m still terrified.

So I suppose this is a post that probably means nothing to anyone, but it’s also a strange little appreciation post for him as well as a way to let loose some of the ridiculous anxieties I have.

So thank you, idiot, for being amazing (you).

 

Just One Of Those Days

I’m having one of those depression days again and I feel awful.

I think it was triggered by a mixture of things, the most notable of which being that I am so goddamn paranoid… I hate it.

I worry that the slightest thing will make my boyfriend realise that I’m way less than what he deserves or could have. I worry that he doesn’t actually like me. I worry that we’re low-key because it’s not a serious thing. I mean, we talked about it and we are together but just not shouting about it, which is completely fine and yet I’m still worried… Part of that conversation was an agreement, initially brought up by him, that we can do whatever but no falling in love (which I don’t feel like talking about). This agreement was fine at the time, but over the last few weeks I’ve started wondering if that’s just what he wants because we aren’t actually serious. It’s horrible.

The thing is, I know that I don’t doubt him even if it seems like it; I doubt me because I know I’m not good enough for him.

Obviously, there’s also the whole panic about grades which I could probably eradicate by some revision, but over this past three week holiday I’ve done none. Sure, I’ve sat down with my books and all that but none of it’s stuck – I have a brain like a sieve, as I’ve probably said before.

Linked to that is the stress of university; I don’t have to apply til later this year unless I go for Oxbridge, which I don’t think I want to do. It’s just the whole future thing, I think, and the distance bit and the fact that I’ll be leaving behind everything I know. Bit scary, really.

On top of all that I’ve got strange little problems at home, and I’m just as paranoid about my friends as I am about my boyfriend, again because I can’t see why I’d be even slightly interesting to them.

All of this has come crashing down today and landed me with an awful migraine, one that came with all the symptoms of flu; in short, my depression has taken today as its day to remind me that it’s still there, as loud as ever.

I wish I could get rid of it, because I know that it’s the reason for my paranoia and anxiety and everything else, or at least I know that the three go hand in hand. I hate the fact that everyday I have to fight my own head, with my head, and that every time I wake up on and after days like today the phrase ‘won the battle, lost the war’ seems oh-so relevant.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It’s like this muffler stretching over my nose and mouth and a weight on my chest that makes breathing really hard, as well as this ache in the back of my head and a mixture of guilt, anxiety, paranoia and so much else biting at something deep inside my chest. Ohmygod I hate it.

St. Andrew’s University

I’m currently 17, meaning that the time has come for me to seriously start looking at, and visiting, universities. Because I haven’t found any personal articles written about any universities, no blog posts or videos or anything, I figure I might as well be the first. So I hope this is useful.

EDIT: I live in London and have done my whole life, so everything regarding university is written from that perspective. The course I wish to study is Anthropology, ideally a combined course with Philosophy. 

From London to Leuchars station, 10 minutes by taxi from St. Andrew’s, took about 5.5 hours by train. As I travelled with three friends this wasn’t such an awful amount of time, but alone it would be tedious to say the least. On the way back home it took longer, about 6.5 hours, which really was a long time.

St. Andrew’s town itself is, predictably, small, with a population of 20’000, of which 8’000 are university students. This size means that, as we were frequently told, the students ‘make their own fun’ as there isn’t exactly a mutlitude of clubs or pubs or the sort of social things that usually come with the idea of university.

This problem appears to be solved by the fact that students seem to visit Edinburgh, about an hour away by train, and Dundee, about half an hour away, when they choose to properly go out. Obviously, this would be an expensive night out as the cost of train tickets, admission, drinks etc. would be rather a lot, particularly for an in-debted university student (something I will come to speak about a little further on).

Despite my previous paragraph of social woe, St. Andrew’s isn’t without a night-life; the student union bar is an apparent social hub, and because the university takes over the whole town there are many places to hang out and enjoy being a student. There are also the university halls of accomodation, all with common areas and decently sized rooms with all the utilities one could require. There isn’t really a need to visit either Edinburgh or Dundee unless you want shopping malls and clubs, and the hours journey to Edinburgh isn’t actually much longer than travelling from A to B in London.

Meeting people would be easy; of course the size of the university means that the student body forms a close-knit community, and the fact that you can walk from one end of town to the other in 25 minutes means that you’re always in close proximity to friends, and other people full-stop.

According to Which? University, St. Andrew’s has the overall student satisfaction rate of 89%, nearly matching those of Russel Group Universities such as Cambridge (90%), Oxford (91%), and Durham (90%). This means that the whole small-town thing clearly isn’t a problem.

Perhaps now would be the time to talk about the aformentioned small-town; St. Andrew’s is located on the East Coast of Scotland, with beautiful architecture and beaches, the biggest of which being West Sands Beach, a huge stretch of flat sand with rock pools and shells and all the charm of a picturesque, if chilly, coastline.

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West Sands Beach, St. Andrew’s, Scotland

The beach is an area of town that most everyone mentioned at some point, as was the ruined castle, the rich history, and the abundent traditions.

The main street, Market Street, is just a normal long, cobblestoned road with all the shops you would need; New Look, Phase Eight and H&M to fulfill high-street fashion needs, Superdrug and Boots, Subway, Nandos and lots of little coffee shops and independent restaurants, the ones we tried having served delicious meals with lovely staff.

Parallel with Market Street is North Street, where the admission ‘block’ of the university can be found. Just like Market Street, North is cobbled and lined with beautifully designed buildings, a theme that runs throughout the town.

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West Sands Beach, St. Andrew’s, Scotland

Now, I think the time has come to discuss the debt issue; as St. Andrew’s is a Scottish university 1/3 of the student body is made up of Scottish students who don’t have to pay to attend. EU students also have discounted fees, I think, so together that’s a substantial percentage of the students who have no or less debt than those from England and Wales. This means that they would have extra spending money compared to, certainly, me and people in my position. This would also explain how they would manage to go into Edinburgh and Dundee for a night out. I can’t pretend that this financial issue doesn’t worry me slightly, but I don’t think it would be as noticeable as I think I’m making it out to be.

Courses-wise, St. Andrew’s manages to strike a middle ground between the English university system, where students pick a course or a joint course meaning that at most they can study two subjects, and the American college system, where breadth is valued more so students study a range of subjects. St. Andrew’s is much like the American system for the first two years of one’s course in that students study three or four subjects and then cut it down to two in-depth ones in the last two years, like the English system does from the start. Personally, I like this method of teaching as it would mean that I could study Anthropology, Philosophy and Film all at once for the first two years, and so even if I didn’t get a degree in it I would have some kind of a background in film, the industry I wish to go into.

The students and professors that we met were lovely – very welcoming and easy to talk to, as well as happy to discuss their worries before attending the university.

All in all, I found St. Andrew’s to be an absolutely lovely university and town, and highly expect to be applying there later this year. My only real worry is that, for me, it’s a very long way from home and, since I’ve only ever known London, my entire life is here. Of course, the finance side of things worries me too, but there are plenty of scholarships and bursaries to apply for and really money-worries will crop up with all universities, as is the nature of higher education.

I hope this little post has been educational and helpful, and if you wish to know any more about my visit to the university feel more than welcome to drop me a comment.