The day I got into my top choice of university was one of the most exciting days of my life. I was such a mess throughout high school and sixth form college that it was a total miracle that I was accepted. I can’t even say that I worked for it; I just bumbled through my education with only my passion for philosophy on my side.
Admittedly, university was not such a fun time for me. I was battling severe mental health issues, a drinking problem and an eating disorder. My first two years there included plenty of parties, a hell of a lot of alcohol and very few lectures as a result. I was terribly unhappy and, for part of it, in a physically abusive relationship with an on-and-off heroin addict.
Despite this, and despite the fact that I’m not very good at retaining information, I learned so much at uni. Philosophy is such a diverse subject, encompassing knowledge on pretty much all topics. I had the opportunity to be taught by some of the country’s best lecturers and meet people from all walks of life and degrees of intelligence; and meet people with all sorts of views on the world and philosophy.
So much happened at university which changed my life and impacted on the way my it is today. I met most of the friends I have today there, through AA, through sharing accommodation and through simply living in Canterbury. I met my ex-boyfriend there who got me into AA in the first place. I met my current boyfriend there through the Animal Rights Society, I met one of my best friend’s through sharing a house on campus with her and I met another of my best friends in AA, to name a few.
In my third year of university, a bright light entered my life; my darling cat, Pookie. One evening I was sitting on my doorstep having a cigarette when she came over, rubbing herself all over me and purring away. She was feral then and insisted on following me into the house and so I let her in, only with the intention of giving her some food. But she ended up staying the night and was with me every day after that for two years.
Pookie was my best and closest friend for those two years; I loved her more than anything. She saw me through so many good and bad times and spent every night with me, a real comfort.
Sadly, two years on, one of my housemates reported me to the university (you weren’t permitted to keep animals) and I had to give her up. The day she left was one of the hardest days of my life, but now I am safe in the knowledge that she has a good, permanent and loving home.
Experiencing university life for a very long five years changed me so much. I grew into a woman there and really matured. I faced a lot, including many suicide attempts, giving up my sidekick, alcohol and entering into various relationships, only for them to end painfully.
More than anything, at university, I learned that I am a strong person and I can pretty much conquer anything.