Hey, Life Is Hard Sometimes.

Hey, Life Is Hard Sometimes

There’s no doubt that life is tough. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are, everyone has their own challenges day to day. For the last few weeks I’ve felt incredibly stressed, tired and have been in a fair amount of pain from my old injury. I’ve gotten to the point on more than one occasion where I’ve just wanted to walk away from everything and shout I’M DONE WITH THIS. Everyone has those moments, but that’s hard to remember when you’re in the middle of it.

I’ve found it really hard to focus, write blogs, read or just create things, honestly, I’ve just felt a bit run down, a bit exhausted. I know it sounds like I’m just writing this to complain, I’m not. I realised that sharing how I feel and my struggles are partly why people connect with this blog. I’ve found myself wistful for my days at uni, even though I know I had tough times there too and that going back wouldn’t be easy but I think having rose tinted glasses about the past is all too common. Of course, I don’t look back and look at the sleepless nights with deadline stress, the frustration of trying again and again to get an assignment right or choosing what to do when you leave.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are always troubles in each part of our lives. You never really know what a person is going through, what they’re thinking about. I try as hard as I can not to let what bothers me show to most people around me, with the fear of people thinking badly of me. It’s ridiculous and I wouldn’t suggest that to a friend. Most of it, I know, comes from me being one of the ‘high achievers’ my whole academic life, now I’m not in that environment anymore I find it hard to know when I’m doing well, to have a clear goal, because let’s face it getting 70 in an easy is a clear goal, sorting out your whole life and future in your 20s isn’t that straight forward.

I know this is a bit of a ramble, that it might not make sense. I just wanted to try and explain to you all how I was feeling, that in the words of Paramore ’22 is like the worst idea that I have ever had, it’s too much pain, too much freedom, what should I do with this?’ I have no idea what to do and I still feel like I’m finding my feet. I wonder every single damn day if I’m doing things right, what I should be doing next and if I’ll ever feel truly successful. Everything is hammering at my brain and it’s a little exhausting.

Things are going to happen as they happen I’ll keep plodding along, maybe one day it might even make sense!!

Hello August

Hello August

Like the rest of you, I’m scratching my head as to how it got to August so fast. I’m also marvelling at how different this August is going to be. Some things will stay the same, it’s still going to be my anniversary in two weeks (!!), it’s still going to rain a fair bit, my sister is still going to argue with my Mum about new school shoes. Some things though, have really changed. For the first time since I was 4 I’m not preparing to go and buy my new supplies for the new term, get new clothes or uniform. For the first time I’m not lounging around my house or working a part time job. For the first time I go to office meetings while looking at the beautiful views from my window (above).

A lot of people have written these types of post today, I’ve enjoyed looking at a few. I felt a slight sense of unease when I looked at the date today because from this month, things start to slow down. I started to panic, what do I have to look forward to? Did I make the right decision to completely stop studying? Change is necessary, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. So, I have a few things planned a trip up north, my 22nd birthday, comic con. In fact I have something to look forward to every month until the end of the year, but I guess this feeling of unease comes from a break in what has been my routine since I was a little girl, but you know what, I’m kind of looking forward to it.

So hello August, show me what you’ve got.

Looking back at University -I’m a Graduate!

On Thursday 21st of July my journey as a student came to an end. Yes after 3 long years I am now officially a graduate of Kingston University, Chloe Metzger BA Hons. I’m going to try and keep this blog short, because I feel like I could write a book on this chapter of my life alone. I went from a girl who was terrified of leaving home, to a young independent woman. I’ve gone through more than I thought I could enjoy and have had experiences that I never thought I would but I’m so pleased I went to university, I found out who I was.

The past 3 years have been overwhelming such amazing highs and very tough lows. I’m nothing like the girl who started, who was so anxious the thought of getting on a bus nearly sent her into a panic attack, now I’ll travel around London for work. I’ve met the Chancellor and had a good few chats with her. I started this blog, interviewed by various people, made friends, started a band, played all over London and the South East and released 4 singles. I’ve watched countless bands and artists and met some of my absolute heroes. I’ve also met authors, celebrities and inspiring people. I’ve won awards, became a society president, got firsts and two ones, become a Student Ambassador and in charge of social media. I’ve given talks on mental health and found my voice as well as a way to use my past to create a better future.

Of course there were tough times too the homesickness, the really tough times with my depression when I wouldn’t leave my flat or be around people for days on end, friendship breakdowns, breaking my spine and not getting some of the grades I wanted. Originally I didn’t post that I got a 2:1 for my degree because I wasn embarrassed. My goal from the first year was to get a first class degree and I missed it by 3.5%. I cried, a lot, I was full of self loathing, how could I not get that extra 3.5%? Then I spoke to a friend, someone who chose to love me rather than being Ali or my family who were proud whatever, who told me not many people can recover from a broken spine and be in hospital for IBS and still come out so close to a first. It made me feel a lot better. I put this pressure on myself and it’s one of my flaws. I wanted to tell you all that because university comes with the good and the bad.

My future has completely changed from that I thought it would be before I went to uni, hell it’s different from what I thought it would be a year ago, but I’m happy. I’m happier sitting writing this than I have been in months, because third year was hard. It wasn’t just the workload, but my personal life. If I’m honest I’m surprised I made it through. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting but I want  to be truthful to let others know that even when life gets so tough that you don’t know how you’re going to keep going, you can.  I haven’t you the space to write everything I loved about studying at university, but I did. I’ve got some incredible friends and memories from my time at KU and it’s honestly one of the best decisions I ever made.

So thank’s Kingston, you were great!

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Pre Graduation Nerves

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Tomorrow, after 3 years of reading, tears, late nights, hungover mornings, trying to stay awake in lectures, essays, library days and trips to the pub, university will be over. I left with no idea what I’d do once I left, or if I’d even want to stay in the first place. So I’m sitting here (and a big follow up post about the end and looking back and all that jazz to come Friday or Saturday) and just thinking about tomorrow, this big ceremony that we’ve all been told about for years. I’ve had my hair done, my eyebrows, I have a new dress and even heels for the actual ceremony (not all day though, you have to be kidding me), Ali’s going to be there, my parents, my sister. Mostly I’m feeling nervous right now, worried about how the pictures will look, the walk across the stage. I’m not as panicked as I thought I’d be, actually I’m pretty proud of the fact that next week I’ll have spent a month in a job that I love, I have a car I saved up for and I feel like I have some idea of how I want my life to go. Fingers crossed I don’t fall over in the 5 minutes I have to be in heels.

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Why We Need to Talk About Post University Depression

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It’s that time of year. Exams are long gone, results published and gowns ordered. We’re told that now is when we enter the ‘real world’ of jobs and adult things. While it is all new and exciting there is something that many people don’t, or don’t want to talk about, that’s the feeling of loss that comes with finishing university. There’s almost a feeling that you can’t be sad, you have a degree! You’re one of the lucky ones, right?

Post university depression is something that I’ve come across a lot online. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself struggling sometimes and although people may just say that’s my pre existing depression, I can tell you it’s something different. You got from all the pressure and stress os exams to nothing in a matter of weeks and then from that point onwards you’re asked about what you’re going to do next, do you have a job lined up/ There’s also the inevitable, for most, of having to head back to the old town, into your old bedroom and having to stay with Mum and Dad again. Add that to not having your friends around the corner, is it any wonder it can all feel a little bit much?

Of course it’s not all bad BUT society just seems to have a filter when it comes to the impact that these changes can have on someone’s mental health. I’ve noticed that in the period straight after my coursework was handed in, a mere few days after deadlines I felt a huge pressure to get a job and know what every part of my life was going to be. I started falling back into more days spent in bed and more anxiety attacks about my future than I’d had in awhile and on top of it all the access to my mental health support was cut as soon as I handed in my last essay. With all the uncertainty, moving and, for some, not getting the result that they wanted there can be a lot impacting a person emotionally.

So, I’m writing this blog to start the conversation. To say that even though I have a job and it’s going well I still have days where I feel really down and can’t believe university is over. There are still nights when I just can’t sleep because I don’t know how to do this adult thing and I miss my friends and knowing that I just have to go to classes and read a lot. Apparently this is all normal, but we still don’t want to talk about it. I have to say if anyone feels like it really is more than just post uni blues PLEASE talk to someone about it, and if you feel you need to see a doctor (they’re not going to put a ‘crazy’ stamp on you and that’s that, trust me).

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help in times of change, you’re not alone.

 

 

image from Pinterest

Am I ready for the end?

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As excited and happy as I was to see the back of my Dissertation and Special Study, my two biggest essays I’ve felt a little all over the place with my emotions for the past few days. I think it’s finally hitting that as soon as these assignments are over it’s the end of my time studying for my degree and slowly but surely everyone will start moving to various parts of the world and I’ve got to work this job thing out. I guess I’m struggling with the fact that I’ve built my life in this town and I have all these people I know, places I like and now I’m going to up and move again. While I’ve missed Basingstoke, I’m not the person I was when I was there, and I won’t be the doormat I was when I lived there. I want to carry on being this strong person but with so much change and uncertainty I can feel my anxiety rising.

As my Mum said this morning though, this is a new beginning. I’m trying to look forward and remember the person I am now is who I continue to be. Not being in uni doesn’t mean I revert to the anxious 18 year old I was when I left, or that I’m going to be as sick as I was. When you’re low it’s hard to think of these things. I’m also not putting too much pressure on myself to find the perfect job straight out of uni and be 100% independent in every single aspect, there’s going to be a time where things are a bit messy but I guess that’s ok.

I don’t really know what this post is, I guess just to get my thoughts out because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m also just struggling to be motivated to finish my assignments, there’s definitely been a lack of support at uni for the last few weeks which is a shame, so I don’t know if I’m doing things right or not. I guess I’m just a bundle of anxiety right now but a little over 1 week to go and it’s all over, I’m just wondering what happens next…

Going, going, gone- Goodbye Dissertation

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If you are following me on any social media, Twitter, Instagram any friends I have on Facebook I now apologise for the avalanche of dissertation related posts for the past few weeks. It really has been my life, every minute I had ‘free’ was spent on my dissertation, reading, editing, re-reading, having a meltdown, carrying on and finally submitting!! Yes today at about 2.30pm I finally handed in my printed and bound dissertation and it felt so good. So, so good.

It doesn’t mean I’m finished, I have two more assignments to finish and submit before everything is done but I do feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I know for a fact I handed in looking exhausted and I don’t really care about that because I am absolutely exhausted! I’m hoping that the next two essays don’t leave me working until 3am (they’re a lot smaller) and so I’ll just feel better.

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THE selfie I’ve been waiting to take for three years

I’m in two minds about whether, if I started my degree all over again, I would take a dissertation again if I had a choice. Looking back on this year and the stresses and strains I’ve had because of my health and my body I would probably been better doing two special studies, but hey ho it’s done and dusted now. Sylvia Plath will always hold a special place in my heart, hell I think I could even write a book on her if I wanted after all the research I’ve done for this! I mean I’m not going to, Sylvia is now just for pleasure reading. On that thought, ah pleasure reading, the TBR list is piling up now!

Honestly, I just feel so happy that it’s over and yes there are niggling little thoughts but I’m pushing them aside. It’s done, it’s over and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Buh-bye! Thank you to all of you who have commented on blogs, liked them, sent me messages on Instagram and Twitter, it feels like I have my own little support group when I’m struggling. So now, onwards and upwards, I’m halfway through submission and come the 3rd May it will all be done!

5 things I wish I’d known before going into Third Year

With third year coming to an end and my graduation looming I sat and thought about what I wish I’d known before I’d gone into third year. I won’t lie, this has been a tough year not just because the pressure was kicked up a gear at uni, but also because of stuff going on in my personal life. Either way here are 5 things I wish I’d known, that might just help future third years out!

1. You have a LOT of reading to do, get it done.

Trying to read all of my primary weekly texts, the additional theory, 30 secondary sources for dissertation, 15 secondary sources for my special study, and oh yeah MORE secondary sources for the other two modules. There’s a lot of reading to be done this year. Do as much of it in advance as you can and thank yourself later. Also, get used to the library, it’s going to be your second home.

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2. You will want to take naps like you’ve never wanted naps before.

I never used to be able to sleep in the day, at all unless I hadn’t slept at night (ahem, party animals in the flat next door). Now I feel like naps are the only way to keep me awake at night long enough to work on my assignments.

3. You’re allowed to struggle.

I spent most of my third year pretending to myself and my lecturers that uni was a breeze, that I had my shit together and of course I was ok. Fast forward to a month before my dissertation was due, I’m in tears in my supervisor’s office feeling like I couldn’t possibly get a good mark on this bit of work. For some reason I felt like I had to just project this air of confidence this year, maybe it was to make myself feel better? Either way if you’re struggling go and talk to your lecturers. Don’t make my mistake and wait until it all gets too much, it’s a stressful time and lecturers understand that.

4. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and during the final few weeks you will feel like you have never had enough. 

Yes I’m mentioning sleep again. Right now I have no sleep schedule. Some days I’ll be fine to be wide awake bright and early, go to the gym, work on my assignments and eat a healthy amount of food. Other days I’m writing until 2am, wake up a lot in the night or just don’t sleep at all. No matter how much sleep I do or don’t get I’m always exhausted. The brain is doing a lot of hard work right now people!

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5. You’re going to feel confused and excited and sad and have ALL OF THE FEELS, because this is a weird point of your life. 

I didn’t realise how all over the place emotionally I’d feel. On one hand I want to dig my nails in and never let go of uni ever because it’s the one place I’ve been happy to be in education. On the other hand I want to get all of my assignments done and out of the way and never spend another evening writing up references. I find myself getting emotional at the strangest times and other times I just shrug and get on with things. It’s a very weird time but I’m hoping, come July 27th when I officially have a degree it will have all been worth it.

One Down, Three to Go.

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Hello, hello, hello!

Sorry for wandering off for a few days, I’ve been up to my ears in assignments as well as acquiring a particularly nasty chest infection too. This week has been big in terms of third year, I had my final lecture on Tuesday, have started packing up the flat as we’ve handed our notice in for July and today I finally submitted one of my longer assignments, my piece on autobiographical poetry. I’ll never be a part of my Writing Women class again!!

I’ve been working on it for a pretty long time and, although I have absolutely no idea as to how it’s going to grade (obviously I’m hoping well) I’ve kind of just decided to live with it. I’ve done what I consider my best with the time and the pressures I’ve had. It’s done, gone and submitted and it actually feels like a quarter of the weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Now all I need to do is make sure that my dissertation is ready to be submitted in 10 days and then my other two essays after that. I will say that I think it’s kind of stupid to have all of our essays clumped together. It’s frustrating because we haven’t had the questions for two of them very long and, I suppose I am nervous about writing and finishing them both on time. BUT I am super determined to get it done. I can almost taste the freedom. So close, but so far.

Who’s going to hire me? -Embracing your past

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I didn’t expect to be laying in my  wide awake at 4am this morning, followed by wandering aimlessly around my flat. To say my sleep pattern is messed up at the moment is an understatement, my days and nights kind of blur together if I don’t have anything to leave the flat for, I’m in a constant state of write, study, read and possibly eat at some point. I found myself thinking and worrying this morning about getting a job at stupid o’clock in the morning. What if they read about the problems I’ve had this year and don’t want me? What if they do secretly discriminate against me because of my mental health? What if was a prominent theme of the torture my sleepless brain put me through. But, it’s not because I’m dramatic.

I’ve been filling in a few job applications here and there, currently only for roles that I really want and could see myself working in and then there is the box that asks if you have a disability. While I myself don’t like being called disabled because it’s a crappy label, I know that to get help I need to tick it, lately though I’ve found myself  not wanting to tick that box, to hide a part of myself and my past out of fear more than anything. Like many other third years, I’m scared of the unknown and I know that the odds aren’t in my favor. Talking to Ali about it tonight he reminded me that there is so much proof that I can do so much more than a label, and I already have done so much more.

I’ve never been embarrassed or ashamed, and I’m not but I do know there is still a lot of people who are uneducated about my condition, but I’ve managed to educate people through telling my story before. With that in mind, why should I be scared of doing that again? When I saw this quote on Pinterest it made me take a breath, because what’s the point in trying to hide a part of my life or the hardships I’ve faced in the past? There is none. If anything that takes away from what would make me a great employee. I work hard, I persevere. Yes there may be times where my illness kicks my ass and I need a day to get myself better but I’m not a quitter. I got through my final year at university with a healing spine, a ‘broken’ mind and sickness and I think I’ve still done pretty damn great and have never let it affect my two jobs.

Why am I writing this? It’s not to brag. It’s because I know that sometimes you need to see someone else lay everything out. All the good times and all the shit times too and just remember that actually, you may not be ‘normal’, whatever the hell that means, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have a story to tell. To some people I’m an ‘inspirational’ person, which I’ll take but to me it’s just my everyday life, carrying on no matter what because I will not let a label or a box define me. I am so much more than that.