Going to University was one of my the best decisions I ever made. It is also something I am very proud of. However, it started a bit out of the blue.
How it all started
I was walking along the street and saw there was an open day at London met. I went in out of curiosity and grabbed a booklet with all the courses and went home.
After some time I went on the university’s website for more information and found out there was another open day. Despite my anxiety, I decided to go for it. I wanted to ask all the questions and face the unknown.
Looking back now, it feels like it was all very simple. But the truth is it felt very overwhelming. I was already classified as a mature student, I was an immigrant coming from a completely different school system. I was scared.
After some research, I found out about UCAS which is the admission service for universities in the United Kingdom. There I was informed about IELTS which is a series of exams to understand our overall level of English. As nervous as I was, I passed it with flying colours.
Then I applied for a student loan, which is something I had never heard about. Where I come from there isn’t anything like that. After many phone calls and emails, trying to show evidence that I had been living in the UK for at least 5 years, I was good to go.
And so, I went. I applied for the course I absolutely wanted to be in, and anxiously waited for a reply from either the university or UCAS, which at the time I didn’t know where and who would end up letting me know the result. Eventually UCAS and London Metropolitan University offered me a place.
Mental health perspective
Coming from a mental health perspective, it was very hard to go through this process, starting with my age. Did it make sense to go to uni when you are in your 40s? On one hand, I wanted the degree, the knowledge that came with it and the skills it would provide me.
On the other hand, maybe I was too old to be able to fit in? Or too cynical to accept that despite being older than most of my peers? It didn’t necessarily make me smarter, which at the time it was fuelling some of my doubts. Obviously, every other day I felt the opposite, it would maybe be too hard and I would make a fool out of myself for trying.
During my application, constant self doubt was kicking in all the time. Were student finance going to reject me because I was old? There were so many doubts that continued to grow and pile up. Week of anxious thoughts, thinking about the worst case scenarios.
I wish I could say that it was plain sailing and easy. I was riddled with moments where I was close to giving up. All I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed and forget my dreams.
But I didn’t give up and that is the best and only advice/suggestion I can give to anyone. I don’t regret facing my anxiety because I reaped the rewards in the form of knowledge, skills, and friends.
Sometimes I imagine what it would have been like if I did give up. All I can see are the memories I have now not being there. I know I made the right decision.
Please don’t listen to your anxiety when it comes to your dreams.