College · Mental Health

Graduating from University…

Yesterday was one of the biggest days of my life; I graduated from university.

girl graduating from college university in hat and robe

I had the absolute worst time of my life in secondary school, and I didn’t have a good time in primary school either,  people like me who didn’t “peak” in school get told we’ll have the time of our lives in college. I don’t think that’s the case, the popular people still have a great time in college. There might not be queen bees and cliques anymore, but the former losers won’t always get “their time”. If you were sociable, popular, and outgoing in school – you’re probably gonna like college. I am and was none of those things. I don’t resent people for having a good time in college, if anything I’m happy for them.

It’s probably better I didn’t enjoy college all that much because it means the rest of my life is gonna feel better than my time in the education system. I didn’t have the worst time ever – I still have some great memories and met some wonderful people but to be quiet blunt – I put up with a lot of shit. My course and my education was never my issue with college or school, I actually love knowledge and learning!

students at graduation ceremony

Graduating is a massive achievement for anyone but is especially important for me.

I’m not naturally academic. I have to work harder than everyone else for B’s, or A’s if I’m lucky or it’s a subject I’m good at, and sometimes a C if it’s particularly a challenging one. Other people work as hard as I do and get straight A’s, some put minimal effort and get the grades that I got from working my best. Being intelligent and being academic are not the same thing, so don’t base your confidence or self-worth on how you do in school. Everyone’s brain works differently, I thrived in English, but literally had to repeat a year of school because of how bad I am at maths.

Then my secondary school tried to dump me in one of the classes they immediately abandon. Although they deny doing this, my school and I’m gonna assume others, assigned the best teachers to “higher” classes and the teachers who picked the wrong profession to the “lower” ones. Before starting secondary school, you do an assessment test which you can’t prepare for or study for, and they use it to decide what class you end up in. I ended up in the “lower” ones and if not for my parents knowing that this goes on, because of my brother and sister being in the school already, and fighting the school on it, my brain would have been left to fester in class full of the kids they never gave a chance. Before even walking into the class, they decided some students weren’t worth putting time and resources into, some of those students had just emigrated to Ireland and couldn’t speak English yet, and they immediately abandoned them. The rest of the students in those classes were the scapegoats to be blamed if something happened, and kept acting out because from day one they were wrote off as bad eggs. No one asked or cared if they had a turbulent home life, or bothered to motivate them themselves if they suspected their parents didn’t. Almost every teenager will learn and flourish when given the chance, and the fact that they gave up on them before trying is appalling. I’m livid that the education system wanted to give up on me.

graduates throwing hats

As my siblings were in the same school, and we’re triplets, there was no pretending I wasn’t held back so I endured 6 years of people treating me like I’m stupid and thinking I was too dense to notice. Karma had my back, because although results aren’t a representation of self-worth, I ended up doing considerably better than the people who put me down in my Leaving Cert. I got the highest possible grades in higher level English and Business which are the hardest subjects when you don’t count Maths, and did exceptionally well in all my other subjects too. I got into university and had a lot of points to spare.

I was so excited for college in my last year of school. I was ready for that part of my life to begin, and overall my first year of college wasn’t that bad, (when you don’t count the literal stalker, or rather; my first stalker of college) I had my struggles but I still have some great memories and got to know good people I’m sad to have drifted from.  Second year was the real demise of my college experience, and I would go so far as to say that my college experience was robbed from me.

I used to be disappointed that I didn’t get to move out and live on campus, and felt that I was missing out on “the real college experience”, as living with my parents made it feel like I was still in school. Living at home turned out to be the best thing for me, I couldn’t afford to move out anyway, but it meant I got to leave my struggles in college after my classes, as opposed to them being omnipresent if I lived on campus.

For my last semester, I took my life back, I joined clubs & societies again and I met some lovely people. College is so lonely if you only go to the academic things, don’t talk to anyone really, and go home. It’s primarily about learning, but it’s also an opportunity to join clubs, go to events and trips, and meet new people. Unfortunately, 2019 and my final semester really felt like testing me for personal reasons, but overall, I’m glad I made the effort.

graduates throwing hats

I spent yesterday acting like I didn’t give a shit. Graduating means a lot to me, but I didn’t cry because the reality is that I won’t miss it there. I got the generic “our kid graduated” pictures with my parents and then went to dinner and my favourite pub with my family & friends so I left campus pretty quick. I still feel a loss for the friends and experiences that were robbed from me, but I’m trying to be positive – I spent the second half of yesterday with people who genuinely love and care about me, and stuck around when no one else did.

I’m proud of myself not only for getting here in the first place, but for sticking it out. I worked too damn hard (and spent too much money) to give up.

I’m looking forward to taking night courses in nutrition in September. I’m done with college, but happy to keep learning.


Side note: a lot of my followers are from the UK and I noticed university and college seem to be different things there, we say college as a colloquial thing here even if we’re in a university which I was – I’ve said on twitter that I’m finishing college and people have asked if I’m going to “uni” so I just want to specify. 

I’m also aware of how lucky I am to have been able to go to university, I know people have it worse than me, but please try respect that my feelings are valid – and if you’re not a close friend of mine, you have no idea what I actually went through over the past four years. 

18 thoughts on “Graduating from University…

  1. It’s so sad reading about your university experience, I hated my last year of my degree because a bunch of factors but none as severe as you’ve mentioned here! Congrats on finishing and sticking through it though x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿

  2. I empathise. I don’t feel I made the most of university and basically left with a degree and a best friend. I’m definitely not pushing my kids to go if they’re not sure. There’s more to life!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS ON GRADUATING!! 🎓🎉I’m glad you didn’t give up and made it to the end. I too struggled my years in college, ahh it was a nightmare. I was so miserable 😭. My professors were so mean to me not to mention the classmates were freaking rude🙄like you I was so happy I stayed at home instead on campus because I was able to detach. But it wasn’t until my junior year, I started to thrive emotionally. I finally discovered what I wanted to do career wise. I’m glad I didn’t give up because I wouldn’t found how to make my dreams a reality. I’m very excited for you to accomplish your dreams and become your best you!🥂

    Natonya |

  4. Congratulations on your graduation! It can be hard not enjoying something that so many people say ‘are the best years of your life’, but as you said you will enjoy the rest of your life with freedom to do what makes you happy!

    Danielle |

  5. I had a similar experience in school and uni (I also had a stalker 😂) so I can really relate and empathise with how you feel! I graduated last summer and I love learning and that’s why I went to uni, not coz it was the next step or coz I wanted to get the partying experience ! I think it’s good you’ve talked about that side of things, coz I think a lot of people have that experience but no one ever seems to admit it!

    1. I’m sorry you went through something similar. The pressure to have the time of your life there isn’t a healthy mindset, it just makes people feel like life will get worse, when I’m happier after it!

      1. Yeah exactly! I had a great time but that was mostly because of the friends I made and going to the pub with them not out clubbing every night 🤷🏻‍♂️ there’s always a pressure to go out like that

  6. Congratulations on your graduation despite the adversity! And, I’m so pleased for you that you’ve decided to continue learning even after leaving full time education.

    Also, I’ve got to say, I was shocked by how you described the lower achievers at your school being treated, that’s awful. The kids who struggle are the ones who need more time invested in them, not less. Really made me angry, although I know it’s not that uncommon.

    But, to end on a positive, it sounds like you’ve done really great under some tough circumstances, and that’s amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story.

Leave a Reply