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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Krea chapter.

University Life. It’s something that many of us look forward to; as exhilarating as it is to become completely captivated by the idea of romanticising uni, it’s also extremely important to be mindful of what it actually entails.

Trust me, as somebody who had dreamt of moving out for my higher education since the eleventh grade, I ensured that I was doing all the “right things” to prepare myself for the crazy experience that awaited me. During the intermediate period before my transition from school to university, I was journalling, meditating, and going on daily walks. Immensely satiated with myself, I wondered what could possibly go wrong!? And then boom! Just the first month at uni and I see myself having emotional breakdowns, constantly skipping meals and overspending on food outlets, not having any concrete sleep schedule, and losing touch with friends and family from back home. The reason why I’m getting candid about this experience is because I wouldn’t want anybody who’s starting a whole new University life or even just a new term to go through this. It doesn’t register for a while that when you’re endowed with a lot of freedom to carve out your own narrative at University, you’re also solely accountable for each step you take!

On my very first day at uni, I was a complete nervous wreck. I was intimidated and apprehensive of what was to come. Completely consumed by my anxiety that day, I couldn’t even sleep properly. I knew that I couldn’t go on like this for four more years. I wanted the glittery uni experience – Student Government, clubs/societies, internships, party nights, I wanted to do it all. So, on my second day, I took the most reckless approach which sounded like a masterplan in my head. I decided to socialize with everybody, sign up for literally everything, stay out of my room for no less than eighteen hours, and take my uni by the storm. It was all going really well initially. ‘Homesickness’ wasn’t even a part of my dictionary and I got dubbed by my batchmates as the “social butterfly” of my batch. All the sudden attention felt intoxicatingly good. Sleep became an alien concept for me and all was going according to plan.

This rush continued until one day I just crashed and couldn’t take it anymore. My cheeks were warm with tears rolling down and I called up my bestfriend back home after three long weeks. I suddenly loathed the self-inflicted pressure upon myself and my “ideal” routine seemed crazy to me now. That was the exact moment when I realized that to cater to an arbitrary expectation, I was neglecting all of my needs. Having a tetra-pack of ORS as my brunch clearly serves as a testament to that. Not giving myself any downtime, my journal with a few frustrated scribbles lay there on my table collecting dust. The idea that I had to completely abandon my comfort to accommodate all these ventures sounded brilliant. However, it soon turned into just a downward spiral of immense self-neglect. And I’m still on the path to bounce back from it!

This is precisely why setting boundaries and allocating time for yourself becomes crucial when you’re involved in a fast-paced University culture. The onus of your well-being solely rests upon you and it is your duty to honor it. I didn’t realize the importance of giving myself the time to process things until I had a nervous breakdown. I unfortunately discovered the hard way that it’s okay to take things at your own pace, to ask for space, to eat lunch alone sometimes, and most importantly, to look after your own self.

The insane amount of autonomy a university imparts you can be both a blessing and a curse. However, it’s your responsibility to write your own narrative at your own pace, which is why now I’m a huge advocate for exploring and auditing your pursuits in a capacity that challenges you but doesn’t overwhelm you. Don’t indulge in activities just for the sake of them but because you want to. You need to believe that you can bring value to them and they can bring value to you – remember that it’s a two-way street! Your endeavors are meant to suit you, it’s not the other way around. To put it simply, before being available for others, realize that it isn’t selfish to be there for yourself first. Of course you’re not going to get it all right the first time but you’ve to remind yourself time and again that progress isn’t meant to be a linear process. Mistakes and reckless decisions are the very stepping stones to understanding your limits, which shall only lay a strong foundation for you to further set your boundaries. As long as you’re ensuring a safe space for those around you, without it being at the expense of your mental wellbeing, you should be good! 

hello people! :D im amandeep (he/they) and i thoroughly enjoy writing, painting, and binge-watching sappy romance shows (how unique & groundbreaking of me!) welp, through my writing i hope to resonate with you at some level, and hopefully leave you with something meaningful to ruminate over! thankyouuuu for checking out hercampus krea, much love x ♡ ‧₊˚.