Mature student & back at uni but really struggle with loneliness

Anonymous #1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago

I'm 35 and at uni full time again doing the undergrad I left several years ago. I went through an abusive relationship at the time and dropped out - the entire situation is too long a story.

I moved a few hours away to go to uni as I didn't want to go back to the same uni I attended alongside my original ex - bad memories, didn't want the same uni appearing twice on my CV for professional reasons especially as I wasn't alumni and I was effectively repeating my degree all over again.

I have really bad social anxiety (again long story but its related to DV) so whilst I appear super confident on a professional/academic level I struggle talking to people as friends here. I hide it extremely well; I always have. When I was at uni first time around it was kind of okay as I was a similar age to people (early/mid twenties) so I didn't feel like their weird old auntie. Now I live in my 3 bed semi detached with my (lovely) long term partner and cats and whilst most people on my course are really lovely, its probably my anxiety and my own ****. Because I'm away from home during the week I don't really know anyone here. I used to live in London, but I feel lonely here.

If I were younger I probably would go to the societies but I think well I'm in my mid thirties, so. It's given more of an appreciation that I didn't have before for students first time around who move away because all I hear is "oh (whatever) I think you're so inspirational, leaving your life to go away and reclaim your life after what you went through" but I sit some nights and cry thinking I made a mistake. I don't talk to people because somewhere in my head I think I'll just be a nuisance with my boring life, and I remember what uni was like and I don't want to get under people's feet. It might sound hard to believe given all I've done is spill my guts but back home I am popular in my social group; I tend to keep friends for years, tend to be really easy going, laugh things off. This has brought out every single social anxiety I've ever had and its like watching it over and over.

The screwed up thing is I went onto a rant to one of my best friends about how her age didn't matter if she wanted to go back to uni, who cared if she was in her late 30s when she graduated, life is short, misery can be shorter. I wish I listened to myself.
Anonymous #2
Report 2 years ago
I know how you feel, I went the first time at 19, left at 20 and now have gone back at 24, in a different country. I’ve found going out with my flatmates, coursemates and getting involved in a church helps with loneliness. I work anyway so that helps with loneliness
Anonymous #3
Report 2 years ago
I understand how you feel. I am 25 and feel totally seperated from everyone else at university. I was so worried about the 5/6 year age gap before I came to university but everyone told me not to worry and that there wouldn't be a difference. There is. I can't connect with any of them despite trying continuously. I attended loads of society tasters and events but felt so alienated and that I have nothing in common with the people I meet. I find that the other students aren't always as motivated towards university work as I am and I find it frustrating.

I have all but stopped attending my seminars because of how painful they are to sit through, as it is obvious they dont' do any of the readings. Being asked to "pair up" and "work together" with the other students is my worst nightmare. I've always had anxiety but being at university has made it significantly worse to the point where I sometimes wish I was back doing my boring old admin job than being here! University was my dream and I quit my job and took a year out to do an Access course to get here. There is no pastoral support or career advice for mature students at my university and I feel totally forgotten.

I came to university hoping to make "friends for life" and meet likeminded people. This hasn't happened and I feel like a failure.

Work hard and enjoy the day you get your degree. It is the only thing keeping me going. x

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