Congrats! You’ve completed your industrial placement year/summer internship- hopefully you’ve learned many new skills and are better prepared for the working world! If anyone would like to hear my experiences over the past year, let me know via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below!
You’re probably buzzing and can’t wait to go back to uni- I’m happy for you. Unfortunately, I can’t relate right now.
I’ll be completely honest with you, after a relatively stress-free year, returning to university has done everything but excite me. I’m a worrier and the truth is that I’m more scared for university now, after having already completed two years, than I was when I began, having no idea what to expect. So maybe it’s somewhat ironic that I’m here attempting to give you advice, but we’re all in this together! Hopefully, by organising my thoughts, I can help us all (myself included) *prays*
What’s bothering me?
Change brings discomfort, discomfort brings stress, stress brings spots- I only just cleared up my skin! The environment isn’t new, but it’s different. The people won’t be the same as when I left and once again I’ll be forced to socialise- not one of my strong points. I’m transitioning from learning on the job without external pressure to worrying about exams, coursework and remembering how to calculate thermodynamic isentropic efficiency calculations. I just can’t…
Imma keep it real, the uni struggle is real! I think every student can relate to how the financial stresses of university can add to the stresses that come with your course. After a year of steady income and random extravagant purchases, I’m worried that it might take me slightly too long to adjust to simply not having money. Those shoes I bought because I got a bonus, or that Fenty Beauty I picked up because my pay was a little bit more than expected, will not be part of the lifestyle I will have to re-adopt once university starts. Watching West End shows and travelling around the world simply won’t be within my budget- these new methods I have adopted for simply having fun and de-stressing will no longer be viable options.
I guess this is somewhat of a pre-warning to you all; the biggest cause of stress to me right now is disappointing you guys. I started my placement and I launched Behind the Schmile..:) around the same time. I started taking this ‘blogging thing’ seriously and I have been consistent with my weekly uploads because I have had the free time to do that. After working so hard to get to where I am now, thanks to all of your continued support, I worry about how long I can keep this up.
But you know I can’t come to you with problems and no solutions…
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” – Psalm 94:19
What Do I Plan to Do About It?
People are stressed when they’re uncomfortable, we’ve established that. In order for me to be comfortable, I need familiarity and this comes with a routine. Developing a routine early on is what I’m hoping will help me to settle back into university life without too much hassle.
University is not all doom and gloom despite what I think at this very moment. There were good moments; great moments in fact and there will continue to be more. Joining a few more societies, keeping an eye out for student discounts and socialising with other people is how I coped before. Time to do it all again.
I’m sure you already knew this one was coming. For me to be excited about the change, I need to think about what new opportunities this change may have in store for me. Once I’ve identified them, I need to come up with an action plan to help me achieve these things! Read more about setting goals here
This is a new opportunity to:
- Learn new things
- Meet new people (network)
- Gain more experience
- Find new challenges
- Discover my purpose
Courage for the Change
Both change and discomfort are essential if I want to continue growing. This new change will teach me how to be more adaptable, just like the last big change to working life did. When I expressed my worries to a friend his response had me triggered: “typical, handing out advice you can’t take yourself”. *le sigh*, he was right. Around this same time last year I wrote about finding the courage for change in my post Embracing Evolution– read here for more benefits of change. It’s about time I learn to practice what I preach.
One of the main reasons in which I worry about everything is because I like to be in control of everything. This isn’t possible of course but it’s never stopped me in the past. Whilst on my placement year I learnt how to relax (just a lil bit) and leave work at work. Once I had clocked out and left the office, I tried my best not to think about work again. I’m hoping to adopt and adapt this mindset to suit me once I return to university. University obviously isn’t a job and so I can’t just completely forget about it- but it will be important for me to learn to switch off sometimes, for the sake of my mental health if nothing else!
“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
Time Management & Structured Learning
This seemed obvious to me at first but I really had to think deeply about why it’s so important. Work life tends to be the same pretty much every day (for me). I know what time I start work and roughly when I end; I know what days I’m going to the gym, what days I’m going to church and when I need to do my laundry, grocery shopping etc. It became somewhat boring knowing exactly what was happening every day of the week. But one benefit was that I knew when I had ‘free time’. At university, defining this free time is somewhat difficult to do when timetables change on a regular basis and the work never really stops- there are no set office hours when it comes to university. If it’s 3 am and that coursework isn’t done, you are not going to bed!
So… after being suggested to me by so many, my plan is to treat university like a job. To establish my set hours and work within them- making occasional allowances when need be. My weekends will be my weekends (within reason) and my free time will be my free time (again within reason) as long as I can commit to 8/9 hours during the day as I have done this past year.
This may not work for everyone, but I like structure, I need structure and so structure is what I plan to do.
Sorting out my priorities will be the first step. Deciding how high up I regard this blog, my academics, socialising and most importantly my mental health will help me to organise university life and decide what deserves my time. This doesn’t mean to say there won’t be surprises and setbacks, but we can’t prepare for these.
It’s only a degree
Ultimately, after working for a year, the pressures of attaining an amazing degree have reduced significantly. Of course, at this point in my life, this is probably the most important thing. But isn’t that how we once felt about the GCSEs that no-one asks about? Or the A Levels that got us here right now that nobody seems to judge us on? One day University will be in the same boat, it will certainly matter, but not too much. Such is life. So yes, I will work hard and yes I want to do well- but the world won’t end if I don’t and so it’s not worth dying over. Your mental health should always come first! After all, Education does not Equal Success…
We’ll be fine!
I hope this has been somewhat helpful! Planning and writing this post made me think more about the pros of this change rather than the cons and I’m that little bit less worried. Bear with me; I’m working on it… I know that soon enough I’ll graduate and I’ll be dying to go back! But this post is for anyone who like me, at this moment, is flat out worried!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
If you are/have been in the same position, please do share your experiences and tips with me. I’d love to hear about how you coped!
All the best,