Uni is great but comes with its challenges. One of the biggest challenges I faced in first year was maintaining my old hobbies. I was so busy going out, making new friends and going to lectures that I couldn’t find time to sit down with a book that wasn’t required reading. I would have a book on my bedside table and read 20 pages every two weeks which was really sad as someone who used to read a book a week.
And this isn’t a unique problem. Everyone I know has forgotten hobbies and that’s ok- you can’t do everything and uni is the perfect place to try new things. However, this was also about making time for myself. It can be hard to set boundaries and make sure you get some ‘me time’ when you want to meet everyone and do everything. So, something had to give. For me this didn’t mean staying up late to read but re-evaluating what I was really enjoying and what was good for me and my mental health. I realised that not reading wasn’t the problem. The real issue was that I was pushing myself too hard.
I would sit at the breakfast bar and pour over grammar books for a couple of hours every night and it wasn’t good for me. I wasn’t spending enough time with my flatmates, boyfriend or myself. Once I realised this I stopped forcing myself to do every bit of extra work I could. Instead, I did less but it ended up being more beneficial to me, academically and mentally as I was happier and much less stressed.
In short, when you start uni it may seem like there’s a lot of pressure to do everything. But the only thing you really have to do is look after yourself. Now I’ve learnt to do that I can enjoy a book worry free.
-Yzzy (English Literature and Hispanic Studies)