It turns out being a mature full-time university student, while working a part-time job in a different town miles away, maybe wasn’t as easy to juggle as I so confidently first assumed. Adding to that, I’ve recently been found to have Dyspraxia and Dyslexia or visual stress, which explains why reading takes me double the time of other people. I can read like anyone else, but I read slowly, I lose my place, get confused, forget things and have to read it all again. I thought I was just crap, but apparently it’s actually a thing! More importantly, it’s a thing I can get help and assistance with, for example tools like TTS (text to speech) reading software to help me speed up and not fall behind again.

Also, putting off essays… We all know we shouldn’t procrastinate, blah blah blah! Yep! Shit happens! Especially when you have a job & needy family back home, depression and anxiety, to mention but a few of the joys of trying to study over the age of 21. Moral of the story… If it’s costing you £9000, prioritise! Just do the damn essay or ask for help, long before it’s too late! Know the late submissions policy and for the love of Glob, if you are struggling, TELL SOMEONE!! PLEASE ASK FOR HELP!! University want you to pass. You are worth a lot of money to them, so they tend to be more than willing to help if you ask. I foolishly did not speak up until too late, and did not submit enough to pass, despite all the work I did hand in getting great marks! I’m not dumb, I just crack under pressure. 9000 words all due the same week for 4 different modules is a lot of pressure, especially with previously mentioned job, family etc. I needed help but I was too stubborn and proud to admit it for too long.

I don’t know about other universities, but I can honestly say at Essex, Student Support have been incredible! They’ve helped me in so many ways! Not only have they helped me survive this long, to not throw in the towel a month in, or explode in a fiery rage ball. They listen, and offer genuine help and advice with how to move forward. When it seems like the end of the world, sometimes you just need a calm rational person to show you all the other paths to freedom, that you cannot see through the pile of caffeinated beverages, junk food, paperwork and piled up library books. Yes a 34 year old can crumble into a dribbling mess like an exam revising, Red Bull and Pro-Plus popping teenager too! Although people assume it’s more the Bridget Jones style life crisis at my age. All the student memes are true, no matter your age! Uni is fucking hard!! 

So, where do I stand now?

It’s summer, I have not passed all my modules, but am waiting for exam results to confirm this. I know I failed one exam because I opened the booklet being expected to answer 3 of 10 questions, and I couldn’t answer a damn one! It was a 3 hour exam, and as soon as the 40 minute rule was up I legged it out of the sports hall so fast, leaving only an apology in my answer book. The plus side of finding out I have learning difficulties means in future my exams will be typed on computer and extra time allowed if needed. If my exam marks are good enough, I can resit 2 of the essays and that awful exam again over the summer to pass the first year.

I love History! I always have. But thinking back, I got a D on my History GCSE which I always blamed on getting a question on the war treaties, which I had not revised and couldn’t remember anything about. Maybe truth be told I am just not suited to History. But saying that, in both instances I was unaware of any learning difficulties. Maybe I could resit and do better going in to the 2nd year knowing where I stand and how to cope.

On the other hand, I could say sod it all and change course. I studied Social Science at college last year and did particularly well in Sociology. Maybe a fresh start in a subject I have done well in previously would be a better idea. It seems a waste of a year and £9k, but I wouldn’t skip the past year for anything! I’ve learnt a lot, met great people and loved the independence. I’m stuck between my heart and my head, waiting for the exam results to show the way. I can get into the 2nd year if I resit, but I could start fresh on a new course. I could also land in exactly the same boat regretting switching.

Life is never bloody easy is it!?!