It is incredible how draining university is. On every single level. When can I make time for downtime? At the moment the answer seems to be never. There’s just so much to take in all the time. All the time.
Since the beginning of term I’ve read three critical texts about autobiography, two plays, a Shakespeare play (needs a category of itself because it takes so much longer to read than the average modern play), a play about the self, two texts about enlightenment, two introductions for books (one about memory and Europe and one about Eurovision song context). I’ve been to three theatre performances and I’m going to another one on Wednesday. I’ve worked at the Fresher’s fair two days and I’ve tried running a student ambassador campaign for the Arts Centre without much help from the others in my group who have just ignored my suggestions. I’ve applied for a job, been for an interview for a job, got a job and been to a training session for said job. I’ve tried to catch up with my friends, been to a birthday party at which I drank an entire bottle of wine myself in the time period of about two hours and regretted it a lot the day after (especially as I was working), I’ve been to lunch and coffee and pre-drinks (I skipped the clubbing to save energy). I’ve been for walks with my boyfriend, had communal meals with my flatmates, cooked a lot of dinners with my boyfriend and tried some new vegan recipes. I’ve been to five lectures about Shakespeare and two in Literary and Cultural Theory. I’ve been to a seminar where my homework is to create and alter-ego (how do you even do that?). I’ve had the question: “What are you doing after uni?” about three times a day. I’ve only had one breakdown that is directly related to university work but cried a few more times and that has probably been brought on partly by the stress that begins to creep into the middle of my chest again. I’ve been tired (read: completely exhausted) for a week from what I think is menstruation-caused iron deficiency and that also made me more vulnerable.
And on top of all that the season is changing (summer-autumn) and it is always at those moments that I miss home most because I know that it is autumn but it is not the autumn that I am used to but a different autumn. The signifiers for autumn that I need are absent.
There are just so many thoughts going around in my head, so many people that I meet all the time and so many things I need to think clever things about. I always need to have an answer for everything but all I want to do is just crawl up in bed. I don’t like being this busy. Don’t get me wrong, I like having things to do, otherwise I get really restless, but I am also not very good at dealing with stress. At university it is also really hard to deal with the distinction of what is private life and what is part of your degree. The simple answer is that there is no such thing as private life as everything is very focused on university all the time. Everything around you becomes university. The city you live in you’ve moved to because of uni, the friends you have are all at the same uni as you and have similar uni-related problems, your room is a shitty room in a shitty student house with things like pink plastic sofas and neon green kitchen walls that you just live in because there’s nothing else available while you are at uni. All your time is spent either being on campus, studying or thinking about that you should study right now. I like to imagine the future being a place where you leave work behind when you go home at 5pm and something which you don’t have to think about at weekends.
But you know, apart from that I’m fine.