If for most of you September, 21st, rhymed with The Big Bang Theory season 9, for me it definitely was the start of the school year, yay! Come on, back me up here.
I am on my way to get a diploma in Psychology and this year is my second one. On Monday, I start my second week at university and I am so afraid.
I am an anxious person. When I was a little girl, I was always bitting my nails, my stomach hurt all the time because of stress and I felt under pressure when nothing important was in play. Now, I can handle my stress more easily but I still have the bad habit to shake my legs like crazy when I wait or when I feel uncomfortable and scared. Also, I am so used to anxiousness that my body barely makes the difference between being hungry and being stressed; I don’t know when to eat or I often get disgusted by food as if my nervousness couldn’t manage a meal and closed all the way to my belly.
So the Friday before I start, I felt very bad. I had spent four months with my mother, I was at home, safe, enjoying holidays with some friends, travelling a bit, reading a lot, writing and watching The Big Bang Theory and TED videos. I was not alone, I was in a place I perfectly know, in my small but lovely town. And then, I went back to a bigger city, with a lot of people around me, looking at my clothes and makeup, noticing I walk alone and not with friends. I had to look for my classrooms in my big university during two hours without finding them all and I had to go back to my apartment, far from the center of the city, alone. I didn’t like the look teenagers had on me. I had a so bright red lipstick on, pink and blue hair, and an oversized pullover whereas it was hot outside, so I may understand why they had a smirk. I would like to say I don’t care, and sometimes I really don’t, but I felt weak and their looks not that discreet made me weaker. So my unofficial first day at university was not that good. I missed my small town, I missed its zigzag streets and its cobblestones, its Camino de Santiago and its Roman towers. I missed the faces I know, the places I love, the sounds I cherish. My university is three hours away from my town and even if I love its spanish culture — I am in the South West of France –, even if people are lovely and smiling, even if I live in the “Pink City”, I know I don’t belong there and it makes the school year complicated.
On Saturday, I went to bed very late — very early..? At 2am I wasn’t sleeping. Well, I couldn’t stop thinking and I started cleaning my room at 7pm and only ate at 10pm, watched CIS: Miami, read the reaction of Mayim Bialik to a fans’ video I participated to to wish her good luck for the Emmys — unfortunately, she didn’t win. By the way, can you explain why some of us can’t stop cleaning when they are stressed? It is crazy. Anyways, on Sunday I drew and drew again. It was very relaxing. I also decided to calm down and cooked for a friend of mine. We spent the night together and it was lovely. When I went to bed, I was hoping a good start for the following day.
Martin Luther King’s voice and Indian utopia. This is how I could sum up my first English class. My teacher has the same voice as King and we worked on utopia in a small Indian village. Let me tell you the subject is not my favorite at all. I must add French English teachers love working on India and of course not the good side of it — they prefer child marriage, death rate and pollution, it is more funny. I am really disappointed in fact. I love English but I am fed up to work on it on my own, I was really hoping to study good topics. I hope the teacher will concentrate on utopia and not on India. I will see. Then, I got informatics and it was a nice class. I even made a friend, a lovely girl, and it appeared she likes The Big Bang Theory! Always look for the positive.
About Psychology courses, wow. I mean, wow. I remember, last year, every teacher was boring, they didn’t care about what they told and I do think it was a way to make us quit university. This year, teachers are very interesting, they are passionate by their lessons and jobs, and they really try to share their feelings and opinions. They refer to theorical science but they also tend to ask questions and create a dialogue between us. I couldn’t expect more from this year and I was very astonished by this new way of teaching. I am very glad not to have abandoned my idea of becoming a psychologist even if I really hated university last year. I have beautiful expectations for this new year. I even decided to take a jazz dance class. It will be every Tuesday, from 9 to 12. I never did jazz dance before but I am looking forward to start. I love dancing — I did flamenco/sevillanas for almost ten years — and I need to do sport. We are social beings, we need to be with other people sometimes, and I missed that last year. I was too withdrawn and I put barriers to my actions. This year is a new one.
Here are some of my advice to start a new year at University — or even the first one –, with more joy :
- Don’t hesitate to speak with people. I don’t tell you to say hello to everybody like a desperate person, but look around you, cross someone else’s look and smile. A conversation can start with a smile. Make a little joke or just a comment like is it the good class? or what do you study? or even wear you favorite TV show t-shirt and you will start speaking with someone you don’t know. Maybe you won’t see each other again and it is fine, but you tried! Otherwise, it may create a beautiful friendship.
- Participate to events. Same, I don’t tell you to go to parties if you don’t want to, but try to find something you like and go there. It could be a dance class, a bar, a language exchange club… Meet people who have the same interests.
- Don’t hesitate to propose an outing. You don’t feel confident because you don’t know your classmates? Propose to do something together. Go to the cinema, eat together, go to the museum, go to the gym, review together. You will be able to share and discover each other.
- Set goals. After all these social advice, I must remind you not to forget why you are at university. You are here to get a diploma and then get a job you enjoy. You will have breaks down, you will wonder if you took the right decision, that is why you need to set goals. Write them somewhere, make a song about them, ask your parents to learn them so that they can cheer you up if you don’t feel ok. Never forget why you are here. If it is a path you have chosen, nothing has to stop you.
- Organization is your best friend. Try to keep in mind that you are going to have a lot of work to do at the same time. It is always the same, at the beginning of the year everything is fine, you still have the impression to be on holidays and suddenly, you have four lessons to learn and three commentaries to write for next week. You have to organize your outings around your course work. It is an important balance.
- Eat and sleep. I know it can sound stupid but do it. It is good for your body and for your mind. You will feel better, and being healthy makes your year easier, believe me. Take time to relax, do sport, make art, listen to peaceful music and eat enough.
- Decorate your room/apartment. Create something personal, a place where you enjoy being. When I started my first year at university, my apartment was very not me. There was nothing on the walls, as if I was living at someone else’s house. The reason? I think it was a way to say that I didn’t want to stay, I didn’t want to belong to that place. But I study here, I have to feel good in my own space, and now there are so many drawings, speeches, pictures and letters on my walls. It is more colorful and I feel better.
If you have any question — or any recommendation because I still feel like I need support! — comment and ask, I will be glad to answer and to share my experience with you.