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18th March 2015

The Fear

What are you worrying about this year? Lauren Howells knows how you feel every step of the way… and has the advice to help you through

As much as the media and our families would like to think studying at university is three years of dossing around, blowing thousands of pounds of government money on cheap vodka and generally not contributing an awful lot to anything, this isn’t actually the case. The truth is that most of us are usually worrying about something, from the moment we rock up to halls mid-September with our parents and all our worldly possessions in tow and wonder what we’ve let ourselves in for, right up until we’re standing in front of a fancy building holding a diploma, baffled as to where the time has gone and what on earth we’re supposed to do now. Sound familiar? Here’s a run down of ‘The Fear’ year by year, and how to fight it off.

First Year Fear: The ‘40% isn’t that hard to get, right?’
Is the ratio of food to basics vodka in my kitchen cupboard verging on worrying? Is it worth the FOMO of not going on a flat outing to Sankeys to get a grade on this essay that I can actually tell my parents about? Is it true they kick people out for bad attendance? How important is that Monday 9am lecture anyway? And when did 40 per cent start sounding more like a target than a disaster?

Find the balance! First year is probably the least responsibility and most freedom you’ll ever have in your life, so take advantage of it. Join a society, play a sport, go out an obscene amount, but don’t be afraid to take some time out from the madness to put some effort into your work. It’ll ease your conscience, and it might even remind you why you wanted to do your degree in the first place.

Second Year Fear: The ‘I am the only person on the planet without work experience’
Maybe I should get a part-time job. Does bar work count? I could totally go and do charity work abroad. Everyone has an internship this summer. Should I have an internship this summer? What am I even going to do an internship in? I am going to end up unemployable and living in a box. FML.

First of all, stop panicking. You still have loads of time to get valuable part-time work, if you want to. If you see an internship, work experience or volunteering opportunity that interests you, go for it! If not, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re the only person in the world whose CV doesn’t read like an application for a Nobel Peace Prize. You’re not, and you will be fine.

Final Year Fear: The ‘I must do all the things before I leave’
I need to finish that coursework/revise for that exam/write my entire dissertation. Should I have a job lined up by now? Maybe I should look at more grad schemes. Oh, and seeing as I’m leaving Manchester, I HAVE to find the time to go to that bar/club/restaurant/festival and spend as much time as possible with my friends and be happy because it’s all going to be over soon and WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Change sucks, but it happens. Just keep taking the time in between the stress to enjoy the company of the people who have become like family over the last few years, and when you do get some free time use it to tick something else off the Manchester Bucket List. It ain’t over till it’s over, so stop moping and make the most of it!

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