Is University really the best years of your life?

Hey guys, so first of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Lateefat, a recent graduate shoe lover and workaholic. I spent 3 years at University studying Journalism and Creative Writing and boy was it a journey!

As a child of African Parents, I had no choice than to go to University. My parents didn’t want to hear any better or be open to other opportunities aside Uni.

Looking back now, I won’t have necessarily gone to Uni as there are much more opportunities and experiences to gain, which creative industries look out for. Although University did give me the analytic skills, confidence, improved my writing and time management skills. I also met people from different walks of life and was introduced to new opportunities via career fairs.

Now let me tell you how my first year went. I was the life and soul of every rave and house party and I was determined to live my best life. My flatmates in halls weren’t the sort of people that I would usually mix with to be honest so I made friends in other flats and blocks that were on the same wavelength as me. We drank, partied, studied together etc until we didn’t seem to click anymore which was fine. Our priorities were different and I was caught up juggling different things at once. I suddenly spiralled into an episode of depression as I felt I had no support system and student finance were just being mean.

Second year was a bit more settled, I moved into a flat with a friend and another girl. It was very chilled and I think I really underestimated the jump between first and second year. My lecturers were not playing games and certainly spotted out essays done the night before. It didn’t help that I worked so much. I started falling behind and I was starting to get depressed again.

Although my module leaders were very helpful and will often grant me extensions, I still felt like I couldn’t cope. To be fair, I felt like dropping out several times but it wasn’t an option because my parents would have skinned me alive. I couldn’t really explain to anyone how I was feeling as being a black girl, I was always expected to show braveness and confidence and mental health was and is still a taboo subject amongst black people.

Relatives on the other hand did not help my situation. Mental health and depression only applied to druggies and homeless people apparently. I was told to snap out of it and be grateful for my life or pray and everything would be fine. Where was the energy to pray? I just went out all the time to drown my sorrows which helped I guess and oh a cheeky bit of counselling too I must admit.

Third year was my best and most relaxed time at University. Oh no, it didn’t mean the work load was less, It just meant I had more days off, planned my time vigorously and realised that I was fast approaching the light at the end of the tunnel and I couldn’t let things go wrong at this stage. I worked 2 jobs part-time, started my radio show, was elected Social Media secretary for my Uni’s media society, active member of a church group and its events and still had time for Uni. Awesome, right? My head was in the right place and I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to do with my life.

Uni taught me I could survive 48 hours without sleep, I love my own space, dirt drives me nuts and that I can write a 2000 word essay last minute and still get a first. These Uni experiences have helped shaped how I handle issues life brings and I seriously wouldn’t change the experience for the world.



Jasmine N Cannon-Ikurusi