Writing: Kirsty Thomson
I sit in the library, surrounded by students feverishly writing notes and reading articles. The clock looms overhead, 2am fast approaching. Barely any time has passed and already we are racing towards week five of term. How did we get here? What happened to the tranquillity and reassurance that we had in our pre-honours years? While to some this is progress, I sit filled with fear and bewilderment.
Moving into third year has marked a significant and noticeable shift. Peers have left to pursue studies abroad, contact hours have been slashed and there is the palpable sense that things have become serious. I look to the fresh-faced bright eyed first years, wondering if they know what is to come. I knew that progressing through university would mean more challenges and an ‘upping of the ante’, but I hadn’t anticipated this. In just two short years, so much has changed. The uncertainty sits like a rock in my chest. Peers and tutors offer what they can, but there are days where I cannot help but feel terribly out of my depth.
I often wonder if there are others in the same boat as I. The quiet and individual nature of university studies has the effect of making us all feel very much alone in our experiences, but surely I cannot be the only one that feels this way. The decision to reach out is daunting and appears to be indicative of weakness; all too many of us will thus suffer in our own silence.
The main thing I have had to learn through my years at university is that there is no shame in asking for help or showing that you are struggling. We exist in a society where we feel conditioned into upholding appearances of strength and confidence, but look around even for just a moment and you see that there are others like you who are desperate for someone to reach out. It doesn’t take much to reassure, and often that little boost is all that is needed for us all to thrive. True progress is not that of the individual, but instead that of the community as a whole.
Image: via Wikipedia Commons