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The BBC published an article suggesting that students’ mental health is ‘at risk’ because of concerns over finances and future job prospects, among other things.

I can’t speak for previous generations, but I can definitely understand why there are concerns.

There are more reasons beside those stated in the article too.

It was hard going to university having been top of the class at most things both in high school and sixth form. I achieved 100% in most of my A Level Law papers, and went to university feeling as though I couldn’t fail at anything.

The first grades at university were hard to take. A 55, meaning a 2:2, wasn’t fun. It felt like a complete failure. Thankfully, it didn’t count and I have improved, which is always a good thing. But there is a problem. I don’t know where my current grades stand against everyone else in the year. I don’t know if I’m terrible in reality, good or just average. No idea whatsoever. And I can’t ask random people their grades – that’s just mean.

I cried when I got that 55. Just alone in my room. I loved university though. I still do. I loved the people I lived with, I loved my course, I loved the amazing nights out, I loved the new boyfriend I unexpectedly acquired. But I found it hard to get used to no longer being ‘top of the class’.

There are probably numerous reasons why I feel more apprehensive than I ever have before. On October 12th, I start my third year. I have a vague idea of what I’d like to do when I finish, but believe I came up with these plans too late to get a job in that industry when I leave. The media has filled me with horror stories about employment. In my head, it feels like I’ll never get a job. Too educated for a shop, not enough experience for anything else. And I can’t afford a Postgrad. But I’ll probably need those qualifications to get into journalism. So I’d have to get some sort of job to fund it. But what to do?

But I can’t live with my parents. I need to move out. I do like living here over the summer, don’t get me wrong. It’s secure and happy. But I miss the independence I get back at uni. I miss cooking my own meals, eating them when I like, eating what I like. I haven’t had one of my yummy Thai curries in ages.

I have bouts of anxiety now. Not diagnosed anxiety, but just feelings of being totally overwhelmed. Sometimes, daydreaming, I imagine some nice future with a job I love and a really pretty little flat in London. But then reality strikes – I have no idea how to get there. The media makes me feel as though it is unachievable; the economy too poor, there are no jobs. And who would want me anyway? I just come with a mismatch of work experience placements.

If students are suffering with their mental health more than ever before, I can believe it. Every time I think about leaving education, it makes me feel a little bit ill. I don’t know what I’m actually good for. And I do know I can’t live with my parents for more than a year. But I’d need money to move out. Therefore, a job. But it won’t be easy to get one of those, supposedly.

Most students will feel the same as I do. But the truth is, many of us find it too horrible to think about. So, we don’t discuss it that much. I think if we did, I’d probably spend more time in tears than I’d like, and I refuse to cry in public. So I just quite feel alone.

– – – –

Apologies for the sad tone. I’m actually quite upbeat generally. But the BBC article struck me somehow. It’s a tough year ahead, and I hate not knowing where it’s going. But bear with me. I’m sure I’ll figure something out eventually.

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