In my last year of primary school, I quite vividly remember one of the ladies that worked on Reception telling me make the most of my years as a student. "They're the best years of your life", she said, "enjoy them". Memory is subjective; I don't remember what I had for breakfast last Thursday, or how trigonometry works, but I have always remembered her comment.
Why? Probably because at the time I thought it was a joke. Double maths, early starts and twice-weekly assemblies, and you're telling me this is the best it gets?
However, as I progressed from primary to secondary school, these daily struggles seemed laughable. They were quickly replaced with the horror of GCSE Maths, even earlier starts and prefect duties. My two years at sixth form followed, and I was treated to A-level Spanish essays, UCAS applications and an hour each way bus commute every day. Throw in a Saturday job, teenager troubles and deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life...it's safe to say I began to mourn Year 4 circle time.
I read an article on The Independent titled "10 reasons why first year at University will be the best of your life". The best years of my life? About time. So, after a very stressful experience with A-levels, it was safe to say that I couldn't wait to move to a brand new city, study a subject I loved and make some amazing memories.
I'll be honest, that was the plan.
My first few months living in Birmingham were boozy and brilliant - I made a ton of amazing friends, I genuinely enjoyed my course, and most of all I had all the freedom in the world. Birmingham is the second biggest city in the United Kingdom, and after living in a small town in Essex all my life I couldn't believe how much I had been missing out on. The nightlife, the shopping, the weird and wonderful Brummie accent, it was a whole new world.
Nonetheless, reality started to kick in and I learned one very important lesson. University isn't how they portray it in films; there's a side that none of your A-level teachers tell you about. Your workload mounts up, you fall out with your flatmates, you get a bad grade back and have no idea where you went wrong, you're shamelessly poor and you're homesick. NUS conducted a study in 2013 that showed 92% of higher-education students identified feelings of mental distress. I don't need to be a maths whizz to know that is a lot of people.
As a second-year student studying English, I weep for the ease of my first term. Now, over half way through Year 2, I have never had so much stress and responsibility. Any University student in the country can tell you it gets tough; contrary to popular belief it isn't all sunshine and Jagerbombs.
As you may have gathered I'm not a big fan of maths, but even I have noticed a pattern. It seems that the older we get the harder life becomes, so I have decided to make the most of my horrible 2nd term modules, my knackering part-time job and my flatmates 5-day old washing up.
I am strong believer in the idea that University will make or break you, but either way you end up with a degree and a lot of life experience. After looking on gov.uk I discovered I will receive my State Pension in 2063, so I'm not sure if I can call University the best, or the worst, years of my life just yet.
Maybe, after 10 years in the world of work, I'll be begging to be a student all over again.