The University Diaries : The Campus Idiot

You know how there used to be a village idiot? Well I'm pretty sure every university has it's token under-achiever, and that person is probably me. I am really, really struggling to cope and I can't seem to get a handle on how to get my work to the right standard. 

My exam results were bad. I knew they would be bad but seeing it in front of me was just a real kick in the throat. During my time at the Open University I was always averaging around 60-70%, so to see an average for semester one of a pathetic 46% was, and is, just devastating. 

My friends were all getting incredible results and now I'm embarrassed and ashamed to be anywhere near them. Don't ask me to even try and explain how those two go together, because I have no goddamn idea. No-one said I am 100% rational at this particular point in time. 

This semester has meant that we have all split up into our various specialties, and I don't seem to have really found any other medical neuroscience students that I have made any sort of 'click' with. My social skills are really holding me back on that front. This also means that my labs are a disaster zone. Working with strangers is a nightmare situation and I am always painfully aware of my awkwardness and general stupidity.

It's all just such a frigging challenge and so, so exhausting. I don't feel at all like I should be there and they made a massive mistake giving me a place.

I'm struggling to be in lectures, and seminars are pretty much a no-go zone. I have a mentor now who is really lovely and understands mental health very well, so thankfully we're saving lots of time there by me not repeating the DSM-V to her. We're mainly working on strategies to help me with retaining information and note-taking in lectures at the moment. Once my workload gets a bit heavier she'll be able to help me prioritize my assessments and all that time-management stuff I suck at.

My confidence with approaching lecturers took a knock this week. As part of my 'research methods' module we're meant to give presentations on various medical issues that have been in the media. It's not assessed, thankfully. I went to see her to plead for mercy and just present my work to her. That part was fine. What got me was that while I was answering her questions about my condition(s) with absolute honesty and as much detail as I could give, she decided that "well, there can't possibly be that much wrong with you?!" was the best way forward in terms of a response.

It left me shocked and pretty confused. I left shortly after to go to my lecture and was really tearing myself up for basically telling the truth. Yes I do have this very severe anxiety disorder. Yes I have been trying medication for almost a decade with not much success. Yes I do need a hell of a lot of support.


I'm trying so, so hard. Every single day I push my boundaries and stay on campus as long as I can physically tolerate. But it's not enough. I always feel like I'm letting everyone down.

I have to see the head of mental health services on campus to discuss my 'situation' so she can talk to the head of my school. My place isn't at risk. I'm not going to be put on medical leave or anything. It's just very disconcerting to know that people get together to discuss students that are unwell and need to be 'kept an eye on'.

The stupid thing about all this, is that at the moment, none of this pressure I feel is coming from the university. It's all me, and maybe the boyfriend a little bit. I guess that's something to mention when I see my CPN.

It's all just so exhausting...

1 comment

  1. I'm sorry to hear you are finding things tough at the moment. It's horrible when other people struggle to understand illness. There's still a lot of work to be done on raising awareness of the so called 'invisible' illnesses such as mental health issues, CFS, fibro (and, sadly, so many more), and improving people's understanding of what it's like to live day to day with something that is chronic (and has the potential to become acute again). I have my fingers crossed for you that things start to get better. Make sure you give Lily lots of cuddles, cat's are a great comfort at times x


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