University: Three Years in Review

Prologue
The year is 2009. A primary school teacher has just asked a bunch of nose pickers to please return all pencils to to the pencil box at the centre of each table. At the end of the day, only about two have actually made it back. The underpaid teacher, who paid for those pencils for the class out of her own pocket, suddenly snaps. “Things won’t be this easy when you’re in middle school!” She says…

The year is 2013. A middle school teacher has just asked a bunch of boner-joke cracking small people to put the chairs up on the tables at the end of the day, so that the cleaners can vacuum the room when everyone has gone home. After about five minutes, no chairs stand atop the tables. The underpaid teacher, who is good friends with at least one of the poor cleaners, suddenly snaps. “Things won’t be this easy in high school!” She says…

The year is 2016. A high school teacher has just asked a bunch of hormonal lay-abouts to shut down their computers at the end of a long class. Three minutes go by and a sizable number of kids are still on Cool Maths Games. The underpaid teacher, who had specifically asked that site be blocked on school computers and had evidently been ignored by her peers, suddenly snaps. “Things won’t be this easy in sixth form!” She says…

The year is 2018. A sixth form teacher has requested that the students please pick up the litter from the common room floor before the end of the day. When the end of the day comes, there is actually more litter on the floor than there previously had been. The underpaid teacher, whose job was supposed to be to treat these 17-18 year old felons as adults, suddenly snaps. “Things won’t be this easy in university!” She says.

Enter university…

Desperation
Aside from dropping some dope killstreaks on Call of Duty when I was younger, in 2018 it didn’t seem as though I had any particular talents outside of writing and media analysis. Thusly, the university course I chose to apply for was an English and Creative Writing one. But the UK – my country of origin – is swimming in universities all claiming to offer better student experiences than all the others. Yes, that does include those that have absolutely no reputation in the slightest for having renowned English courses. Alas, I had to narrow it down somehow and the only way of doing that was to visit the universities and listen to their sales pitch.

First was Stoke-on-Trent University. Went there. Looked around student accommodation while we waited for the English sales pitch to begin. Eventually got to the English sales pitch only to find out it wasn’t happening for one reason or another. Turns out I drove hours from home to look at a bunch of apartment blocks made in the 1960’s, modestly tidied up for students, with the only modern improvement to them being some grass gardens placed outside. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested.

Second was Keele University. Based on my visit, it seemed to be a replica of Stoke, regarding student accommodation, except it had a campus that wasn’t terrible. It was big to the point that it felt like just as much of a town as it did a place of education. I liked it. We eventually get around to going to the English and Creative Writing talk and… I’m gobsmacked. I’ve never heard a person sound so bored by their own words while giving what is supposed to be a promotional talk about how good their course is. I also didn’t like their voice. In hindsight it was probably just because the speaker was nervous, but as a prejudice and judgemental 18 year old I couldn’t let go of how they said “um” after every single word that came out of their mouth. After absorbing the boredom and displacing it somewhere outside of my body, I decided Keele was not the place for me.

Third was Coventry University. It’s in the middle of Coventry city centre and, well, Coventry city centre isn’t the most beautiful place in the world. At first glance, it’s got a pretty dope cathedral and old Tudor buildings a little ways out, but there’s also a homeless person on every corner and enough chewing gum stuck to the slabs to temporarily satiate world hunger. But to Coventry’s credit, the student accommodation isn’t some single bedroom house from the 1960’s repurposed for four drink-oholic students; Big modern city blocks are dedicated to student housing. It’s modern, new and clean. A little lacking in personality with all the grey, but I like it. I go to the English and Creative Writing talk. There’s only about five other potential students there, including myself, where there had been dozens upon dozens at the other universities. However, the staff presenting the course had also put so much more effort into it than any other I had visited. While I cannot remember exactly what they said, I do remember acknowledging that they were the only staff I’d seen at a university who sounded as though they were passionate about what they taught. This is what sold me.

I applied to Coventry university, finished my A-Level exams, and started studying English and Creative Writing there in September of 2018.

Coventry: City of Culture
Leaving home was always an event in Coventry. On the very first day of my induction week at the city I, among others, witnessed a homeless person berede a new journalism student with racial slurs outside of a public museum in what was a busy area of town. He eventually got walked away – the homeless person that is – but I’d always see the guy on my way to classes since I walked past the museum to get there.

On the second day of my induction week I saw two homeless people bombard an innocent student because they refused to give them money when asked, as though they were obligated to do so. They shouted stuff like “She’s going to die without me there! How am I supposed to get there now?” And then wandered off… Their eyes set on me. They wove me a story about needing bus money to go see a dying loved one in hospital. Now, I don’t know how £1 was going to pay the fare, but I just wanted them to go away so I gave them the pound and received a non-consensual hug in return. If I ever needed anything, I was to ask that abusive sounding homeless man about it now since he thought of us as friends. Thankfully, after he walked away in the opposite direction of the nearest bus stop, I never saw him again.

Sometime later, thankfully not in the same week, I walked past another begging homeless man. No one dropped him a coin. Then I walked past a homeless woman only a few steps around the corner who was receiving quite a lot of donations. At the realisation this was happening, the man approached her and told her to find her own spot to beg or else he would return with a bucket of cold water and drench her in it. I never saw her in that spot again, but I always saw him right in the centre of what was supposedly his territory.

But it wasn’t just the homeless who were vultures. It was regular-ass people. If I stood still for even a second I would be approached and asked for – you guessed it – bus money by anyone and everyone. This was regardless of how far away the nearest bus stop was, so it was safe to say not everyone was being honest with me regarding their motivations. Now if this was a once every few weeks kind of occurrence, I could buy into it, but it was sometimes a thing that happened for consecutive days on end. There aren’t that many people short of cash in the moment, especially as 9/10 of these people would be carrying around a bag of groceries when they asked money of me, thereby demonstrating that they themselves have cash that they simply don’t want to use.

I grew up in a small town where this stuff doesn’t happen at all – a town so small that the homeless are essentially known characters and the only people asking you for pennies other than them are old couples trying to pay for parking. It took me a while to adjust to telling these city people that, no, they couldn’t have my money. But when I did get used to be being able to do that, I think it corrupted me a little. I became a machine identifying those approaching me for cash with my answer halfway out of my mouth before they proposed the question. I was like the Terminator scanning the crowd for Sarah Conner, only I was looking for beggars. I even got called out for being a bit possessive over it when some friends of mine got roped into lending someone money and I refused to contribute. But of course I was possessive over it. It was my wallet and I was a student racking up debt and doing my own shopping for the first time in my life.

Had I become a vulture? It’s quite possible.

Vultures aside, who can forget the death?

Outside of my student accommodation in the city centre, a man was shot. While this didn’t happen on the doorstep of my living place, the building in which the shooting occurred could be seen the moment I stepped outside, and was also a building I passed every day to and from university. Granted, that particular victim survived and was rushed to hospital. The same cannot be said for a teenager who was also shot in the city centre while I was on break.

And when people weren’t getting shot, they were getting stabbed. Though second hand information, I wasn’t one to dismiss the idea that someone was stabbed while buying drugs just a hop, skip and a jump away from my front door. Debatable as that case may have been, what wasn’t debatable was the news worthy stabbing of a sixteen year old in the vicinity of the train station, in was what presumed to be gang related violence.

What’s ironic is how adamantly the city puts itself forward to be nominated as a city of culture within the UK. It has a lot of history, sure, regarding the targeted bombings of it during the second world war and something about underground medieval tunnel systems. It has even started to look a little nicer recently as the number of modernised buildings seems to be trying to overtake the number of run-down 60’s office blocks. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve seen more homeless people there than in cities twice it’s size, a scary number of violent crimes taking place surrounding university student accommodation and that it is still an eye-sore to look at, despite the council’s best efforts.

Thankfully there was a safe haven: The Hub. The Hub is the in-city campus for Coventry University and stepping into it’s litter-free, clean-windowed vicinity is like walking through the wardrobe to Narnia. The same can be said for all of the university owned buildings in the city. I swear wandering down the streets, under bridges and past alley ways until you can finally breathe a sigh of relief when you find a university building is the real-life equivalent of lighting a bonfire in Dark Souls. Sweet respite.

Socialising is Hard
The first potential friend I made was during the first induction week, who I spoke to regarding our shared experiences in Film Studies that we did at A-Level. After a few laughs, the girl gave me her number and said she would be in touch. On that very night she invited me to meet her for coffee the next day. I went to meet her for coffee and it turns out neither of us drink coffee, so we’re both chugging orange juice instead. Everything is going fine as we share laughs, but a red flag arises when she puts her hand on my arm and laughs “yeah, this could work”. The reason being that IF I was single this would probably be ideal…

But the truth is that I wasn’t single and had accidently gone on a date.

Thankfully things never really progressed from there because, despite both of us having fun, we never really got into contact with one and other again, and thus I didn’t have to imagine myself in the painful situation of explaining to this poor girl that I had unintentionally led her on. But what I am most thankful for is that everybody else in my life found these events to be absolutely hilarious and went to great lengths to question how the hell I didn’t know I was on a date.

What can I say? I’m a guy. My stupidity is in my genes.

But socialising gets harder yet.

I’m SOMEWHAT of an introvert and, on the first night in my accommodation, found myself alone in my room. I suddenly get a knock and two of my flat mates invite me to hang out in the kitchen with them because it turns out all eight of the others had already been in there for sometime wondering where I, the final person, had been. I feel like a bit of an idiot, but the flatmates also look very understanding. I decide to join.

I go in, playing drinking games for a bit and let’s just say my memory gets a bit wobbly from there. I vaguely remember calling a girl a kraken because of how she laughed, which incited more laughter, and that’s about it. You see, they were going to the nightclub which was not really my scene. My idea of a goodnight is a couple of beers at the pub having a laugh – dancing to deafening music until the early hours has always been unattractive to me and thus I decided not to go. Slowly, I interacted with the flat mates less and less and less to the point where I was just in my own bubble.

My real friends were the one’s on the Creative Writing course I had found myself on. This suited my “not the partying type” personality because it meant I could socialise during the day and come home to recharge my batteries without having to worry about being pulled into more flat-related escapades. It also meant that if I wanted to hang out I would have to go outside instead of hanging out in the kitchen all day, which was probably rather healthy.

I found my friendship group when a guy on our course invited half of it to a birthday party of his at the slug and lettuce near the Cathedral. After being interrogated about my sex life for far too long by a person I had only just met, and whose inquisitive smile is the thing on nightmares, I eventually settled into a small group of the gathering who were of my slower pace. Despite that, it wouldn’t be until I entered a more intoxicated state that I’d meet one of the best friends I found at university after she repeatedly had to stop me from convincing the far-gone birthday boy to snort salt up his left nostril.

I guess what I mean is that meeting people when you’re 18 years old in a city you’ve never been to before is hard. In actuality, socialising is pretty easy once you’ve built the foundations of what is and isn’t okay to talk about with a person. If you can figure someone out you can be friends of them, but no one on this Earth is a two-dimensional-creature and thus doing so is hard.

But before long I settled into a neat little group that would go to the coffee shop before/between/after classes and talk – well – about bullshit. Because, let’s face it, bullshit is the best thing to talk about in new friendships. Whose doing what? Do you like/dislike what they’re doing? Nothing wrong with a good bitch every now and again. The thing is the bitching never really stopped. And what’s frightening is that we were so good at it that I could have been the victim of it an innumerable amount of times, and still be to this day, and never know. But the truth is I don’t care, and neither did they if they were the subject, or so I believe. I suppose that’s why it was funny instead of toxic and happy instead of dreary.

But that wasn’t the only topic of conversation. Contrary to what global politics would have you believe, you can’t found a relationship with someone on bitching. There was one other thing that definetly helped; It was the one thing everyone of us had in common, and it was the undeniable knowledge that-

Writing is Hard
Everyone went in knowing the same thing. Thinking the same thing over and over again in their head. An undeniable truth: “I am good at writing…” The thing they thought after that was “But I’ll be damned if anyone other than me, myself and I is ever going to read it!”

Well, that soon changed when our very first module – poetry – required us to write a poem every week to bring in and share with one and other for discussion. It is right now that I am about to say what might be the most frightening thing you’ll read on my blog: The depiction of sharing and receiving other people’s creative literary work in the subversive visual novel, Doki Doki Literature Club (weird self-aware character plot excluded), is the most accurate depiction of what it’s like to do that I have ever seen. Conversations about one’s work can range from about 10 seconds long to 10 minutes long. Everyone has a different view on how to write, why they write and what to write, but their views are never forcefully pushed down your throat, so much as they are painfully overtly agreed or disagreed with. You might be wondering how someone can painfully agree with you. Well, trust me when I say that having a gigantic circle-jerk of people constantly telling you that your poem is the best thing they’ve ever read, only for you to get an “above average” grade at best in the final assignment is one hell of an awful thing.

Before it gets subversive, Doki Doki Literature Club is about a bunch of anime waifu’s who will tell you what you want to hear because they are romantically interested in you, unless you choose to actively write poems they won’t like. The same is true of all creative things written on a creative writing course, except their interest in you isn’t romantic but rather fearful of how you will respond to criticism. Also… Nobody there is a waifu.

Trust me when I say that there is nothing a creative writing student fears more than criticism. Also trust me when I say that they will do all they can to put on this façade that criticism is the dogs-bollocks. Every single one of them will stand there welcoming constructive feedback and controversial responses to their work, while simultaneously having a four-day long retort to any flaw you perceive in their writing fully rehearsed and ready to go. No student or professor is prepared for this bombardment.

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with defending your work. There isn’t. I’m also not saying I am innocent of everything I accuse my past-classmates of being guilty of. I am not. But when it gets to the point where you are sending a five page email to examiners about how they failed to understand the depth and meaning of your work when, in reality, it was you who failed to understand the scheme by which your work was marked, it does get a tad ridiculous. And I get it. It sucks that you’re on a course with the word “creative” in it, that confines you within the boundaries of an outdated and arbitrary mark scheme, running opposite to the open-minded tenants that lecturers love the preach about. But it’s also modern education. It’s inherently a bit crap and in dire need of revision in of itself. It’s a sad and hard lesson to learn, but each and every student on a creative course will inevitably have to confront it after they submit their supposed magnum opus for marking, only to receive the most mediocre passing grade possible in return. I’ve been there, it sucks. Thankfully, I only found myself there twice, and the second time wasn’t for something I had written creatively, so I feel like I learnt my lesson earlier than some.

While this particular lesson helps you get through university, it is actually a quite detrimental one to learn for your everyday writing. Confinement and creativity seem like complete opposites to me and telling students that they go hand in hand ultimately serves to weaken their overall creative output. It’s a lesson in creativity that is uninspiring and thus awful. But equally, arbitrary as they are, these mark schemes kind of need to exist until a better alternative to them can be found. The reason being that if they didn’t a student could hand in complete and utter shite-on-a-plate and receive the highest grade imaginable, all because they said “creativity is subjective, and so is my work”, followed by a long list of references containing that exact quote by academics and creatives of the past. I don’t really know how to solve this problem, but what I do know is…

Mark schemes are bad.

None of this is to say I didn’t enjoy some of my assignments. A stand-out one is the time I wrote 2000 word essay discussing the linguistics in digital media pertaining to… Ugandan Knuckles. In a video presentation wherein I played the role of the author Joseph Conrad, I parodied his PTSD inducing life as a sailor by allowing my classmates to throw cold water into my face for a two-second gag not pertaining to the subject matter. I remember giving a presentation about communal writing events for people aged over 60, in which I may have severely underestimated how healthy people are at 60 years old, given that my lecturer professed to me thereafter that she was 60. I wrote a few short stories that I found myself being proud of. I made some AWFUL poetry, but can at least say I enjoyed doing it.

I am not trying to be so brief about the things I enjoyed, it’s just that they all blur together. It’s hard to be creative consistently, and more so when people tell you to be. I think that might play into why it’s all just a mesh of things I have done when I try to remember it. Many of my days in class were short, and my timetable was often lacking, but I still felt a kind of mental exhaustion if I had been doing work I felt dedicated to. This was especially true of a ten minute screenplay I wrote regarding a survivor of a nuclear apocalypse hunting a rat. It was simultaneously my most simplistic project and the one I was most proud of at the end of the course, but every session of working on it had me feeling a bit dazed afterwards. Writing the reflective commentary for it and discussing why I had wrote it the way that I had was therapeutic. I always liked writing the commentaries. It was like giving these seasoned professors a link into the brain of a mad man. But even now I find it hard to recall some of the things I said.

Across most of what I wrote, I would normally find myself referencing the same few authors; HG Wells and Savannah Brown, with a couple of others who were more interchangeable. For some reason I clung onto existentialism as a theme for my creative work. Well, I say for some reason, but I know exactly why; Exploring and finding meaning in life and knowing those things may be subject to complete change has always seemed fascinating to me. What if you believed one thing your whole life and then you found out it was false? It wouldn’t be like in the movies where they shrug it off in about 30 minutes time. I think I would have a melt down if the way I perceive the world changed on that kind of level. What if no one remembers you after you die? What if you don’t get to say what you need to say before it happens? What if there is something worse than death, if death is something you consider to be bad at all? What if people thrive on it? What if people aren’t actually nice? What if we’re all horrible, despicable beings deserving of punishment? Something about uncertainty just makes me want to pick up a pen and give these kinds of questions vague and ambiguous answers because the truth is I don’t even know where I stand on half of those topics. I just know I like writing about them and I feel a sense of fulfilment in doing so. It’s as though I get a dopamine rush from putting fictional characters in fictional settings into utterly helpless scenarios and downright forcing them to scrounge something good out of it, at the threat of never allowing their story to end if they don’t. Oh God, am I the existential threat to my own works of fiction?

No, I’m not fun at parties.

I did enjoy some of what I had to write for university. But I think the things that actually fulfilled me the most were the things I didn’t write for it and decided to do in my spare time. Sometimes I’d improve work I had already submitted just so I felt better about it. Other times I’d start new projects. This blog was one of those projects. I used to post really bad poetry on here a long time ago and then I removed it all for a year, and restarted it in 2020 with my post about Skyrim and my Godzilla review series. It’s safe to say that’s one of the better choices I made. I even cross-posted on the blog of a friend I made to experiment with my review writing. It wasn’t my best work, but the poor girl accepted it and has the post up to this day. It was a review of Gamera the Brave – a film I’ll return to one day on this blog to do properly.

Friendship
It’s difficult to talk about. I’ve been shaking inside of my own head while writing this, wondering what I should write and how to write it out of fear that somehow, someway everyone I ever met at university would find this post, read this far and scrutinise my every word. Paranoid? No. What a silly accusation to make of me.

Alas. If this is truly Three Years in Review then I have to be honest, or my credibility of a reviewer isn’t going to be very high and neither is my ability to be honest with even myself, given the subject matter.

I struggled during my first year making friends. Sure, I settled into a group but I always felt as if they thought more highly of me than I did of them. And that’s not to say I thought they were all troglodytes in the mud, just that they were in the next phase of our friendship that I never seemed emotionally available to enter for myself. By the time I became comfortable where I was with them the year ended and I was at home for the summer. I was actually legitimately surprised that a couple of them asked to meet up during the summer because I was unaware that our friendship had moved that far along the rails. Always a step behind. Never quite on the right track as them.

It was an issue that was 99.9% resolved by the time second year came around. I started with a more open mind and the feeling I was going back into familiar territory and not only felt as though I had finally elevated myself onto the same playing field as the people I was friends with, but was a little more comfortable with people outside of that circle too.

And then Covid-19 happened. And then we were sent home early because face-to-face classes could not continue. And I was sad.

Third year was depression incarnate. I spent less than a semester in face-to-face classes because the way they had to be taught, in accordance to Covid-19 regulations, was in such a way that deprived students of anything remotely resembling engagement. If there is one concrete fact I can state about Coventry University, it’s that it adapted piss-poorly to online learning. Sure, I can appreciate the rapid turn of events and need to adapt to a new style of teaching, but the moment a creative course starts to make students feel uninspired, I think, is the moment it has failed. And for a long time, I truly, truly felt uninspired.

It often got me thinking about better times with my friends, but that just led to me remembering how socially inept I had been in first year and how I had been robbed of what should have been my ultimate, glorious rise as a social butterfly in second year. When I called upon my memories, I found a lot of empty space in my brain even on the days I thought had been good ones. I realised I had very few concrete memories of the “crazy” or “whacky” things I had got up to with anyone. A lot of the days were indistinguishable 24-hour periods pressed together and tangled within the current of time.

The bits that did stand out weren’t bits from university friendships; They were from my tried and true friends from home with whom I played Jackbox, Rocket League, Halo, Micecraft, Smite, Left 4 Dead, Age of Empires and Orcs Must Die.

I guess all the reflection got me wondering about…

Was it Worth it?
The good bits are all stuck together and often identical, requiring a second or third thought to validate and acknowledge. But the bad are painted in many colours and written in comic-sans across the inside of my head in size 24 font. The fact my good tales got less and less specific as this post went on was not a coincidence… It’s because that’s the way my mind has remembered university; A thrill to begin with, but one which becomes tired and outdated after only a year. One that costs a shit-ton more money than it’s worth, at that.

Did you know that one of my modules was called Employability for Writers? It’s the first thing that comes into my mind when I think of university. The class was taught entirely online during third year. The aim of it was to put together a show case of our work during our time at university that would be acceptable to show to potential employers. The first session was a QnA to catch everyone up at the start of the new academic year. The second session was a QnA because many people decided to email the lecturer questions they had forgotten or neglected to ask, which he decided to answer in that session. The third was a run-down on how to complete the coursework for the module. The fourth was a QnA. The fifth was a promotional presentation about placements, presented by people outside of our course about stuff I was too bored by to comprehend. The sixth was a QnA. The same questions were being repeated. Over and over, and over. The seventh was another presentation on how to complete the coursework. The eight was a QnA.

This was not teaching. This was a man sitting at home answering the same questions with the answers, with the same word choice, for an hour a week. To be clear, it should have been two-hours, but holding a lesson of that length would have required planning anything beyond giving non-committal reassurance to worried students. It is perhaps the most utterly insulting, pathetic and mediocre excuse for a lesson that I have ever had to endure in my life across all my years in education, capable of conception by only the most devoid, lazy and lacklustre mind on the face of this Earth. I have never felt so uninspired, unmotivated or disheartened by hearing a person speak before in my entire twenty-one years alive. If I possessed the power, I would unapologetically have the person who planned and presented those “lessons” struck down from their position of teaching that module and thereafter wipe my memory of ever having experienced it without an ounce of hesitation. That I had to pay £9000 a year to one day start and sit through that degenerate module is criminal. And if this review does require me to be entirely honest, then I would even go as far to say that I have never felt such resentment to a situation or position as I have to those that I was put into during the course of that so-called period of “teaching”. To say that my hate for it is genuine and to acknowledge that this is the most passionate I have been throughout this post should speak for itself.

And the fact that module is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of my time at university is why I cannot, in good conscience or for your own good, recommend English and Creative Writing at Coventry University to anyone. Good did happen. But it wasn’t on the course. Sure, I did good work, but found most of my fulfilment in it only after I had submitted it.

Here’s another banger: In my second year short story module, three entire hour-long lessons were dedicated solely to the idea that stories traditionally have a beginning, middle and end. This structure of story wasn’t even referred to as a “three act structure” until at last thirty minutes into the first session. And while you might be thinking “well maybe some people needed to hear that”, let me instead tell you that they didn’t. I may not have been friends with everyone on my course, but I did know them well enough and talk to them for long enough to determine none of them are brain-dead or cursed to live out their lives with the mind of a toddler. By chance if anyone of them did need to hear that… Then I would question why on Earth they joined a creative writing course.

Finally you might be asking why no one criticised the university for this. Well we did. A lot of us did. Every module requires a questionnaire to be filled in to inform staff on how students think it is running, and a lot of bad was said about some of these more specific examples of awful teaching. But the way these universities implement feedback is in such a way that the students giving it will never get any benefit from it, because the improvements are made for the next batch of students to study the module the year after you’ve finish experiencing it. Basically, if you’re on a bad module then it is going to stay bad and there’s nothing you can do about it. But don’t worry, next year’s students will get a good time.

To conclude: University was bad and my biggest take away from it was the feeling that I had wasted my time.

Epilogue
Hello everyone, this is Alex. The real Alex. Not the nostalgic Alex who started this review, the sad Alex who filled in the bits in the middle, or the angry Alex who finished it off. It’s just me, the normal one who likes Godzilla and Fallout. You’ll be glad to know I’m writing this epilogue in a much better mood.

I know this post was very different and a bit more intimate than what I normally post on this blog, but it’s something I’ve actively felt as though I have needed to get off my chest. I tried writing all this in a private journal, but it just feels more real knowing one or two of you will look at some of it, so that people outside of my university circle will know what it was like. It’s been weighing on me for a while now and already by finishing the review I can feel it lifting off my shoulders. I hope that by pressing the “post” button it will also diminish all that negativity stifled away inside of me. I just want it out there.

It was very hard to be honest about some of this stuff. I kept feeling the need to try and justify why things were bad, or write-off things that I thought were awful because they could be seen differently. I even tried to fool myself into thinking this wasn’t actually what I thought of university, or that no one else thought what I did. But I know that’s not true. I know there are people who agree with me and those that feel it was worse. Even so I have a great deal of respect and admiration for those people I met who enjoyed it and were able to take something more positive away from their experiences than I was.

I think the reason I have been so dishonest with myself regarding my true opinions on my experiences is that I sank not only a lot of time and money into it, but also a lot of myself. For all the bad feelings I harbour towards it, I can at least say I always gave my assignments my best effort and my friends as much of myself as I felt I could.

Here’s to a more optimistic and bright future,

Alex.

2 thoughts on “University: Three Years in Review

Add yours

  1. Wow. That was really interesting. And I guess kind of sad. Seems obvious that Covid really screwed up a lot of things and that had something to do with things going downhill.
    The way I always look at these things is this: you can ask yourself two questions about your life when you look back on it. (1) Would I do things differently, knowing what I do now? and (2) Do I regret what I did?
    The answer to the first question should be “of course.” You’ve learned something from your experience. Maybe you wouldn’t change everything, but you’d make some changes for sure. The answer to the second question, I think, should be “no.” There’s no point regretting your life. It’s who you were at the time. As an old guy I once know said, “How can I regret the past? It was my life.”
    This is a great piece of writing by the way. You should get it out there in some other places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the nice words, your comment gave me a bit to think about. I did regret university for so long after it finished and essentially snowballed into this big ball of negativity. But publishing this post and being sincere about my experiences for the first time ever really helped with that to the point where it’s no longer something I even think about at all. Well… that and signing out of all my university apps and email addresses so the bastards can’t spam me anymore, even though I left absolutely ages ago.

      As for getting it out there, I think I will try. Thanks for suggesting that, my writer’s ego should be satiated for the next three weeks or so lol.

      Like

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