When you stereotypically think about university and how it is supposed to be the best years of your life – you’ll likely think of freshers week, making lifelong friends with your flat and having the freedom to do what you finally want.
For me, however, it was filled with tears (and tiers), bullying and loneliness.
Most students have suffered in some way this past year, with COVID affecting the student nightlife and in-person lectures being cancelled, but many have managed to make a great year with what they’ve had.
The first couple of months of my first year was fun as I got to go out to Baa Bar, Bunk and many other places, as well as enjoying my lectures online.
Unfortunately for me though, things turned a lot worse when I had problems in my flat and the bullying ensued where I ended up crying to my mum on the phone most nights and I went home as soon as I could at Christmas.
A flatmate made a fake TikTok video about a dirty kitchen to create hate towards me and it went viral. I was sent death threats among other horrible messages about my family from hundreds of people online after finding an online account that I had zero control over.
January 2021 ended up being one of the worst months for my mental health in a long time, and I was so glad to be at home with my Mum and brother who looked after me.
I decided to move out as soon as I could, and I haven’t looked back since. I completed the rest of the year at home which luckily I could do as it was all online.
I would watch my friends from home having so much fun with their flatmates at university and see all the great memories they were making. It felt so selfish to feel this way, but I couldn’t help but be jealous.
My university experience had been tarnished and I felt so upset and lonely as my friends went on and made new ones.
However, I met a lovely girl at a couple of in-person lectures at the start of the year, and she invited me to live with her next year after knowing what I’d been through. She even introduced me to her friends to make me feel more welcome.
I don’t know what I would have done without her and I am truly lucky to have had someone make me feel like I can actually look forward to my second year of university.
No matter what your situation is – just know you aren’t alone if university doesn’t happen how you imagined, because it isn’t going to be the same experience for everyone.
Despite feeling upset and lonely about what has happened to me this year, I’m thankful that I am enjoying my course, I’ve made a few friends (who I hope to become closer to next year), and I have a lovely family who have supported me while being at home.
Remember, you are never alone.
By Scarlett Acres
Featured image: Pixabay