August is always a strange time for me. When I was at school it seemed to drag on, I’d count down the 31 days until it was time to start school, get my new books and timetable and start fresh. That underlying excitement that quietly simmered under everything I did kept me energised throughout the Summer holiday. The past two years August has felt very different.
Last year, August symbolised the end of a very difficult time at college and the start of a gap year. A whole year to myself, to get a job and earn money, write a book, meet up with friends and prepare myself for the move to university in a year’s time. It was a month of relief and hope – two of my favourite human emotions. Yes, there was a little anxiety at the thought of not knowing where the year would take me, but after two years of feeling sick at the thought of college and having to ‘just get on with it’ every day, this new, more distant anxiety was much more manageable.
Cut to: One year later. Tomorrow is the last day of August and in nineteen days, I’ll be moving out of the house I have lived in with my Mum since I was four and into my university accommodation with people, I do not know and have never met before. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get out of my town, it is far too small to hold me anymore but there’s still something holding me back, mainly fear. I can not wait to start studying again, my inner nerd is jumping for joy at the mere thought of writing essays and going to lectures. I’ve missed being excited about school. However, that excitement is currently being outweighed by the hundreds of ‘What ifs?’ that are running through my mind at a mile a minute, every second of the day. What if nobody likes me? What if the university isn’t the right one for me? What if I don’t get on with my roommates? What if I fall behind on my course? What if I end up dropping out? These questions are the first thing I think about each morning and the last thing every night. They just won’t let up. Deep down I know the only way to answer all these is to just do it but, as I’m writing this, something, in the back of my mind is resisting and I am scared that voice will win and after a year of psyching myself up to leave, I will give it all up at the last minute.
This was supposed to be a little summary of my month but it suddenly got very personal, although, it wouldn’t be an honest summary if I hadn’t because it seems as though university as been literally all I’ve thought about. This time next month, I will be living in a new city with new people and some of my ‘What ifs?’ may or may not have happened, I’ll be back in a month to let you know my answers to those questions.