Blog: Life, University + Everything

So, this is pretty much a ramble – and an excuse – as to my lack of presence on here for the last couple of weeks. I’ve not picked up a book for nearly 2 weeks. Not properly at least, I’ve read a few pages here and there but I’ve not been able to completely lose myself in a book. I just have no time to read right now, not for pleasure, and it’s really getting me down because I don’t feel like I’m getting that escape I so desperately crave.

I started my third, and final, year of my undergraduate degree on the 21st of this month and I’m really loving it so far but I’m already stupidly stressed. Primarily because I’m president of the Chemistry Society and the stress of organising freshers events is insane – freshers was so much more fun when I was taking part rather than organising it! But also, research projects are intense. I’ve been working on my project for a few weeks now but suddenly it’s become a lot more scary with all these meetings about it and actually organising getting in to labs to complete it.

I study Natural Sciences – it’s a multidisciplinary degree and I’m majoring in biochemistry/biophysics. My research project has me reengineering enzymes to make them more effective for use in animal feeds and it’s really, really interesting. I love what I’m doing. The research has me stupidly busy, reading for pleasure has gone on the back burner but I really feel that this is what I’m meant to do. I’m enjoying it to the point that I’m looking at doing a PhD after I graduate next Summer which is insane but, oddly, feels right. The thought of doing a 100000 word thesis and four more years at university don’t phase me whatsoever, in fact the thought of it has me giddy with excitement! I just have to get through the 10000 word dissertation this year and actually get a PhD programme. My current project supervisor actually has a fully PhD opening up and I am determined to get it – I just have to beat other people, who are probably more qualified than me, off with sticks.

But, while I love science, I just have no time – or energy – to read which is bringing me down. I need to work out a routine in which I squeeze reading in and make time for it. I think when I’m in the habit of getting up early again and reading on the bus, I will feel much better!

Anyway, I hope I’ll be picking up books again soon, rather than research papers and that I can post on here a bit more. I have a few books I want to read in October and I also want to read the Man Booker shortlist in it’s entirety so I’m hoping that’s motivation enough. In the meantime, I’m sorry for lack of updates but I think I have a reasonable excuse.

… Some Time Later

So much for updating this regularly, oh well!

So in the break of my initial post of celebration, a lot has happened. I’ve started university, made a great group of friends, got closer to my old friends, successfully broken my laptop, lost things, found things… It’s all been happening! But now I’m in a routine (of sorts) I thought it was about time I got in the habit of updating this!

University is brilliant – I absolutely love it. I was terrified, that much was clear from my last post, but after about 3 days I met a good group of people and I started to settle a bit. The first week or two of lectures was hard, getting settled in to a routine with buses and the actual material covered in lectures; after practically having a gap year I was both surprised at the things I remembered and the number of basic things I’d forgotten! The main thing is I’m there now, I’m feeling positive and I’m loving what I’m learning. I wake up at 0630 every day feeling excited about the day ahead of me, however much I don’t want to get out of bed at that time. 

I never really considered myself a social person, but I’m actually enjoying being surrounded by people most days. Some days I really hate people as a collective, but I’m lucky in that I have some really brilliant friends who make the collective seem irrelevant. They get me and my crazy and I’ve never been more grateful to a group of people. I’m going out with people for cake and coffee, doesn’t really help my diet but it’s making me happy – I’ve never been this happy to be around people.

I’m developing some very interesting hobbies; in getting on a bus every day of the week I see the same faces, and I know it’s probably weird of me, but to pass time I make up their life story in my head. It seems that every day I see them their lives become more elaborate in my mind, to the point that I’m debating whether to write something for NaNoWriMo about one of the women I see daily who is just so vivid in my imagination now because I’ve practically complied a fictitious life story for her. 

University is truly brilliant though. I can’t remember being this happy, not for such a prolonged period of time. I still have days where the depression sinks in, I still have days where I just want to bubble and cry, but I’m learning to work through them. I’m also having to learn to work through some of my ME/CFS symptoms which flare up – I’m having to relearn my boundaries and limitations, work with my body not against it. To be honest, learning my limits has been the hardest thing for me so far.

Part of me still misses school, mainly the teachers. I like to think that the place remains how it was when I left, everyone I respect so much still there. Reality isn’t as sweet though, people have moved on, it makes me sad to think that there are some people I care about who I might not see or hear from for quite some time because of that – that even though they said they would, aren’t keeping in touch with me. It sort of hurts, but I understand I have to grow up at some point, I have to let go of the past. However many bad memories I had there, I will always have affection for the place. It’s the aspect of relationships with teachers that I miss most at university at present, I miss that relationship I had, the closeness, the way they could read me – right now, though I have amazing lecturers and tutors, I feel that I’m missing something and I think it is just the relationship and trust that I’d built up with my teachers at school.

Right now, I’m just having an ‘omg what am I going to do with my future?’ crisis – right now, 8 weeks in to Year 1 of my degree I decide to have a career crisis. But in some ways, it’s a positive thing, because I’m looking at things I probably wouldn’t have considered a few years ago. Lab work is already getting to me – god knows how I’ll feel about it come the end of year 2!

…T Minus 12 Hours

So it’s about 12 hours before I’ll be getting up for my first day of university! Eep. I can’t believe how quickly it’s come around, I really can’t. I’m so nervous about it, but really excited too. This is a new chapter, an exciting chapter and I’m just really looking forward to it. I do, however, sort of dislike being a local student this weekend, people have been moving in to halls and meeting people, going out, getting used to the campus (eating Haribo apparently, too!) and I’ve basically been sat in my house, in my onesie, annoying anyone who will give me a chance to!

My last week of freedom has been quite eventful. Tuesday I had a prizegiving evening, I didn’t win anything, I went to get a hog roast and some folders for uni from K (who I don’t quite know how to thank. I gave her brownies and I’ve promised to spoil her impending child, but I don’t even think that is enough!) K is amazing, really, she gave me 3 years worth of organic chemistry work. Notes on practically every aspect of my degree I was worrying about in 6 completely full lever arch files (and I love a lever arch) – it has taken a little bit of the worry from my system, I have to say.

Thursday I went in to the city after my SW group, mainly to get a cup of tea with my nanny. I found this beautiful little teashop, not far from where my sister works, that uses mismatched china and tea leaves and it’s just absolutely beautiful inside (The Teapot in St Gregory’s Alley, Norwich for anyone interested in teapots and china cups or just a cheap place to get a really nice pot of tea/cup of coffee!) and I knew from the second I walked in I had to take my nanny, my other grandmother will love it too and I intend to take her out for a day when she is off her holidays! Anyway, the rain poured and I walked home. It was miserable but I had a great day, I really did.

I went out Saturday, again with my nanny, but with my sister and we went down to the coast for a day. We usually go in the summer holidays, but one thing and another we ended up leaving it until the weekend before I started uni. It was a really lovely day and I even spoiled myself by having an icecream (lemon meringue. Yum <3) – I had been so good all day, resisted the temptation of doughnuts and fish and chips, we had Spud-U-Like for lunch (which was yumsk), so my treat to myself was icecream and boy did I enjoy it. So yes, lovely day at the beach, I didn’t win ANYTHING on the 2p machines though, which sucks. =(

This week has been stressful and quite turbulent though, really. However fondly I’m talking of the good memories I’ve made, there were some that weren’t so good. Emotionally I’m all over the place, a lot has happened and it’s left me drained and hurting. Hurting quite a lot actually. Friendships hurt more when you’re older, you become more involved, emotions become entwined; so when things go tits up it hurts ten times more than it did when you were 8 or 9 and someone ‘stole your friend’. I don’t think I need to elaborate much more than that, I don’t want to elaborate much more than that because it’s not fair on the other person involved in the situation. But I will say that I’m lucky I have the friends I do to see me through this ‘breakup’, one to distract me with Harry Potter and Criminal Minds chat, one to come to my house and eat biscuits (well, snack-a-jacks) with me and let me cry all over them, and most of my friends who don’t even know what the hell has happened but have just made me happy by saying something they didn’t realise would make me such a difference. I’m appreciating the small things in my friendships right now, counting the people that make me smile. I couldn’t get through each day without the people who make me smile and I’m feeling very blessed that I have so many people who do that in my life.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of the next chapter and I’m really ready for it to begin now.

I’m Going To Uni!

I’m still coming down from the high of Thursday. Having woke up at 5am, I honestly thought it was going to be the hardest 3 hours of my life waiting for Track to update. It was raining, I’d had anxiety dreams and I just didn’t want to get up – I saw it all as bad omens building up to the inevitable rejection. I feel so blessed that I have wonderful friends, Sophie was awake at 6 and managed to keep me company online until just after 7 (when she went back to bed).

It was at 7 that I started the incessant refreshing on UCAS – I thought it would be futile as Track wasn’t supposed to open until 8. But half past 7 track let me log in and I saw something that I never thought I’d see.


I just really can’t believe it – even now, 3 days later, I just keep falling in to a fit of giggles out of the sheer shock of it! My whole life, as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to university. When I was 8 I remember university first being mentioned at school – it all seemed so far away and crazy to even have to think about it, but I did and I knew I wanted to keep learning. At that time, I wanted to be a surgeon, I was in my Holby City phase. However, a lot happened, between that day and this, my heath deteriorated and improved two or three times – the thought of university seemed more and more unlikely as the years went on, I abandoned the dream of becoming a doctor  but I never gave up on the ultimate goal of university – but it became more of a dream than a distinct possibility. I admit I gave up hope, something I said I’d never do.

I’ll be the first to say my grades were pretty shocking, given how well my AS year went (I finished on BBB – though maths I was 3 UMS off of an A) – but I’m grateful I came out of that year with good grades, given how abysmally Year 13.1 and Year 13.2 went – I’m not proud of my end results (well, the B in chemistry I am most certainly over the moon with; biology I can live with and maths just breaks my heart a little, knowing how much time and effort my teachers put in to me) but I’m proud that I persevered on through the shit that was high school. I’m proud of what I achieved as a whole. Achievements aren’t just letters on a page, they’re what you feel inside. I know I did my best in my exams; the ultimate goal was reached and right now that’s all that matters and I’m looking towards the future.

I could never have done this without the support of the people around me; amazing friends and family. There are so many wonderful people who I just feel so blessed to have in my life. They’re responsible for me being able to do this. They’re the ones that got me through my exams, through the tears and sleepless nights worrying!

As of the September 26th, I’m an undergraudate. That’s scary but exciting, it’s a whole new adventure beginning, a whole new phase of my life – more importantly it’s a fresh start for me – and I can’t wait!