I’ve experienced so many different things in my life so far. I’ve gone from home-schooling to college, and now to university. I always told myself none of this would ever happen. When it came to university, I wasn’t the only one who thought I wouldn’t get there.
If you haven’t read my previous blogs, my name is Laura and I have severe depression with psychotic symptoms. That is my diagnosis; however I have high levels of anxiety too. Because of my experiences, I never believed I’d get an offer into university. I was told by many I wouldn’t survive. When you are in college, you still live with your parents or guardians, but when you go to university most students live on their own. That was the part not many people believed I’d be able to do.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” one person told me. And, yes, it is a huge responsibility.
Another person said I wouldn’t cope and I’d fail. They said to me, “Do you know the suicide rate at university, do you want to be one of them?” This knocked me down and made me feel like I wouldn’t cope with such a huge new thing. I was made to feel that if I did something as huge as this I wasn’t going to cope. I wasn’t told anything positive by this person.
Months later this person left my life, which I was glad about. However what he’d said still hurt me. I decided to study another college course instead, because I felt I could just about do that. Granted, I was studying something I liked, but I didn’t feel happy, and the lecturers weren’t that understanding about my mental wellbeing, so I quit.
At this point, I spoke to my previous music tutor who asked me what I’d like to be doing now. I told him I wanted to go to university, and I told him my fear of going. That’s when he reassured me. I’ll never forget his words: “If anyone can do it Laura, you can!” He said I should do what makes me happy and that he’d do anything he could to help me with applications and everything else.
Just that one conversation made a massive difference and as soon as I got home, I started to research into university.
This was over a year ago now, and so much has changed. I applied to the University of South Wales and to my surprise got an unconditional offer. I never believed I’d get an offer for the university I desperately wanted to go to.
For the first few weeks I struggled with the idea of living away from my parents, but suddenly things became easier and, to this day, I’m still here. I cook, I clean, I’ve had my mental health ups and downs, but I’m still here. I’m coping.
As of September 2017, I’m studying a popular and commercial music course and I’ve faced my biggest challenge yet by moving into a flat with my partner. For the first few weeks I struggled with the idea of living away from my parents but, suddenly, things became easier and to this day I’m still here. I cook, I clean, I’ve had my mental health ups and downs, but I’m still here. I’m coping.
I’m also doing wonderfully on my course. I’ve done two assignments so far and I’ve received a first for both of them, which I never thought was possible. Now I aim to continue studying and hopefully apply for a master’s degree in two years’ time!
It’s weird how just one person’s negativity can put you down. It’s also surprising how one person can also make all the difference. My tutor said a few words, and it’s because of him and the support from people around me that I felt able to apply to university. When we say, “It takes one conversation to make a difference” we really mean it.
If you want to apply to college or university, don’t let anyone stop you. Obviously you need to be well in yourself to make the huge step, but don’t let negativity stop you from achieving your dreams and happiness. Always expect people to be concerned, but don’t let people tell you whether you’ll cope. And don’t ever be the person who puts someone’s dream down.
Now, I’m a happy person who is enjoying university, living my own life, and it’s the best feeling ever!
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org