Mitch Cole
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I’m moving home today. Back to Bristol ‘forever’, having finished my degree at university. There’s definitely an overwhelming sense of sadness in me: spending three years in Bath and making some lifelong friends has been character building and eye-opening to say the least. But I can’t help but breathe one almighty sigh of relief at the thought of graduating and leaving my student status behind me. As I wrote in a previous article, ‘When I Grow Up’, university is often seen as a bit of a grey patch to many people, and living life in black and white is far more appealing to me personally.

If you’ve ever engaged in a conversation with me regarding university and higher education, you will know where I stand on the whole thing. Attending university was a huge mistake for me and as much as I hate to admit it, I followed the crowd after my gap year – waddled with the rest of the directionless ducklings to the nearest institution and hastily necked the nearest bottle of whiskey like my semi-alcoholic peers. Studying a subject I was never sure about and moving away from home meant I was out of my depth, all very unfamiliar and unsettling territory. But it was important for me to stick at it, to prove I really could do it and cope. Well, “cope”. My family weren’t that far away, my friends were all in the same boat as me (at better universities doing real subjects) and I had absolutely no back up. Excellent.

Like so many others, I had a bad patch in my second year. Real university life reared its grotesque head and first year seemed a million miles away. I couldn’t gel with the work, had very few friends on my course (studying early years education meant I was surrounded by sickly sweet middle aged women, aggressive homosexuals and closeted slutty socially inept librarians) and felt really lonely. I was a regular at the university’s student support centre, asking for help and advice every week. Being away from home encapsulates you in a uni bubble where the outside world is almost fictional and things don’t really “happen” back home. Losing both grandfathers, a family friend and facing several upsetting diagnoses really hit home and I crumbled a bit. Summer extensions were embarrassing to talk about, lectures and seminars were out of the question and even going to work felt like a chore. It was a pretty bleak time and definitely the main reason I’m so bitter about my university life. I could’ve been at home with my family and friends but instead was isolated and alone, unhelpful and out of the loop.

Regardless of what you might think, people hate students. They’re seen as second class to the “real” adults of the cities, a skid mark on the pants of society. We take money from the Government and, quite literally, piss it away. We’re loud and obnoxious, keen to have the time of our lives at the expense of just about everyone else. Student areas are avoided like the plague, club nights are ruled by the mean girls of universities and the pavements are lined with gold(en urine). I guess it’s not all bad though; time at university has offered me undeniable maturation, independence, a handful of people I can call close friends and a boy that I love (okay he’s not from university but you get the idea). They’re the light at the end of my ‘too-much-rent, sleepless-nights, looming-deadlines, never-ending-stress, popularity-contest’ tunnel. Thanking university for those things is a bit like thanking your friend for pushing you into oncoming traffic and then pulling you back before you’re brutally mowed down by an 18 wheeler.

Whilst this may seem like a This Is Your Life kind of article, it’s not all about me… honest. I always intend to make appreciative comments to the quiet people of social media – those who just do. They get by without self-righteously informing the rest of their uncaring following about how much better their lives are, what they’re up to every second of every day and rubbing in their perfect memories. You can guarantee that these quiet tweeters are far more secure in themselves. They don’t need to reassure the world they’re having a good time – they just do. So, if you’re caught in a sea of amazing university statuses or a timeline full of a drunken tweets, move away from the social media and do something that makes you happy. Don’t follow in my footsteps, wallowing in your hollowness until you snap. Know what you want, then go and get it. Otherwise the world would be full of articles like this and absolutely nobody needs that.

About Mitch Cole

The love child of all seven dwarves, Bristol will always be home to me. With an unusual degree in Early Years Education, I'm keen to get my teeth into something new. Excited to write about anything and everything, I might even stimulate you with my emphatic opinions and disappointing vocabulary.

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