A girl with too many thoughts...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

University Open Day

Today I went on an open day to the University that I will be studying at in only three weeks’ time. Events like these are my idea of a nightmare. I do not find being around tons of other teenagers, sitting in a packed room to watch a presentation and feeling under pressure to make a good first impression fun. In fact, I find the prospect positively terrifying – as anybody with social anxiety would.

However, if I’m going to survive University life, I must challenge myself to be in these sorts of situations more often. After all, I do not want to spend my entire three years at uni shying away from every social situation and eventually becoming a recluse with absolutely nobody that I can call a friend – this idea is not particularly appealing to me either.

‘Start as you mean to go on’ I like to remind myself, so that’s exactly what I did by forcing myself to go on the open day. I want to enjoy the next three years, meeting a lot of new people and being a more confident version of myself, and the only way that I can make that happen is by pushing myself.
I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t find it difficult, because I did. Socially I found the whole day to be a bit of an ordeal, and after only a couple of hours I was absolutely exhausted and felt like I just needed a break from being around such a large volume of people. But I got through it. I put a smile on my face and spoke to the appropriate people to found out all of the information I needed to, however much I didn’t want to.

I found out all about the course (I’m going to be studying Psychology, if you didn’t know) and it certainly looked interesting. The tutors seemed to be passionate about what they taught and the University generally seemed to offer a lot of support, not only academically but also in terms of anything else that may be bothering you, and that is something that is important for me. Something else that I liked about the University was the fact that it is rather small (as far as University’s go) so it is much more close-knit and there’s certainly a more personal feel there – something which I think I may be more comfortable with as it's less daunting than larger Uni’s with at least double the number of students.

In terms of accommodation, I don’t think I could get any better than this University is offering me. I will be in my own self-contained studio flat, with my own kitchen facilities and an en-suite, all to myself! This will be perfect for me because my OCD will be so much more manageable and if I ever feel like being around people is just too much, I have the option to stay in my room for as long as I need.

Things slowly seem to be falling into place, but with only three weeks to go the reality of the situation has dawned on me. Being completely responsible for my own wellbeing is going to present a massive challenge to me and really test me in terms of my mental health conditions. I feel under so much pressure not to slip up, both regarding my eating disorder and everything else as well. Having so much freedom over what I eat and not being watched 24/7 will be the perfect opportunity for slip-ups to happen!

I think just getting everything organised over the next few weeks should keep me occupied, so hopefully my mind will not stray to all of the 'everything-that-could-possibly-go-wrong-ever' kind of thoughts. Also, I need to bear in mind that facing challenges is not a bad thing, and I need to focus on the good things that will come out of this. For example, the friends that I might make and living independently in my own space.

I think it's very easy to search for a 'get out clause' when you are confronted with anxiety - anything that will make the uneasy feeling go away. However, working through this anxiety and trying to think more rationally can provide us with some incredible new opportunities.

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