As many of you will know, I’ve moved to university. And, rather than a social peak, a wonderful social highlight of my life, I’ve found it a bit of an effort really. And this combined with the perpetual rain of Belfast has made me lose my funny somewhat, and therefore we’ve passed through another article drought. For this I apologise (Sep has even given up hassling me, which is quite upsetting really). But here it is, just for you! This is my list of things that are seriously (and not so seriously) concerning me, most of which I consider in great depth at night.

Am I a million times messier than I thought?

In my last article I described how I’m probably quite easy to live with. Well, I’ve had a revelation recently that that’s possibly not the case. Looking around my room, I have literally no idea how all this stuff fitted into two suitcases. At any one given time I can use my desk or my bed, but not both.  Why not just put my stuff on the floor? Because the floor’s nearly completely covered….I say “nearly” because there is a meandering path between my bed and the door. When staggering out of bed (probably at lunch time) I ricochet off my desk, to my sink, to the wardrobe and by then it’s fair to say the groaning has ceased and I’ve got it together a little bit. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even an afternoon person. Actually I’d go so far as to say that everything after getting out of bed is a bit of a mistake. What I’m trying to get at here, is that I’m really rather concerned that it’s ME making all that inconsiderate mess in the kitchen, and for months we’ve been blaming our other housemate. Oh well, too late to confess now. Moving swiftly on.

Am I an idiot?

My second concern is that I’ve gone from being a relatively well rounded individual to an academic who can’t cook pasta. It’s not that my cooking has gone downhill exactly, it’s that I’ve found myself doing more and more stupid things. This, at the same time as doing really rather well at my degree. Let me give you an example- so I came home from receiving a 90% on an essay I wrote, and locked myself out. Not locked out because I had forgotten my key, no, but locked out because I kept inserting my pin number into the key pad on our front door. I was there for years! The more I tried the more annoyed I got, “whhhyy woonnn’tt youuu ooppeenn” I found myself hissing at the key pad. I even called accommodation management, and, in my best “angry letter” voice I explained the situation. They promptly sent someone round who proceeded to let me into my own house, using the number we had been using for the last three months, which was, funnily enough, not my pin number. I then proceeded to curse my life and ask myself inwardly reflective questions, like “why am I such an idiot?” and “how have I actually survived this long?”

Does my Henry hoover need sexual abuse counselling?

Lots of lads in my house. Drunk. Very drunk (I was sober). A series of regrettable things happened. Wish I hadn’t been there to witness any of it. Scarred now.  Also I can’t make eye contact with housemate’s friends. Also I find it quite awkward to walk past the hoover which, by some sadistic design, has friggin eyes! Who puts eyes on a hoover?! Also, don’t want to touch the hoover either but if you were paying attention in paragraph one you’ll realise that’s not really an issue.

Check list: Go make friends/ join loads of groups/ do exciting things/ drink more/ get a good degree/ don’t be homesick/ have a good CV/ don’t be in debt/ eat well/ work out/ save your money/ spend it on booze.

Am struggling with all of this at the moment. It seems that everyone has buckets of advice on how I should be living, and knows better than me what will make me happy. There seems to be this ridiculous pressure to live the coveted party lifestyle, be the most popular person anyone knows and yet get a fabulous degree and by some miracle not be in debt. I’m sorry this section isn’t turning out very funny, but the truth is these are actual concerns. Everybody worries about you if you like staying in, doing your work, having just a handful of good friends and not getting drunk. I nearly wrote you an article on techniques to avoid going to nightclubs with people (hate nightclubs), but as soon as you say you don’t like getting drunk, you don’t like wearing makeup (hate) or wearing high heels (hate hate) everyone gives you a weird look and backs away slowly. The main problem, I think, is me. Just because I’ve moved to university doesn’t mean I suddenly like all the things I didn’t like before, it’s just less acceptable now. So I think what I’m trying to get at, is that I’m worried I’ll sacrifice the quiet, happy life I have in order to sate an external pressure. Right! On to something a bit less serious I think.

Am I going to drown in my sleep?

Despite being filled to the brim with clutter, (one guy, who invited himself in, even criticised the state of my room- the cheek) my room is actually quite nice. What I particularly like about it is the skylight over my bed. This is, however, a constant concern regardless of the seasons. In summer when it’s hot I’ll have it open, but big buzzy-flying-leggy things come in and they make me scream and run. Not very relaxing. But, thanks to my ten week stint in Borneo, I cracked out the mosquito netting and tape and that’s that sorted. (FYI: Borneo didn’t make me more relaxed around flying insects, but simply more efficient at constructing mosquito net fortresses) But in winter, I’m constantly worried that the ancient window frame will break and the pounding rain of Belfast is going straight onto my bed. This isn’t such a ridiculous fear as the skylight in the kitchen is broken and regularly floods. Though, saying this, I’m not sure if it was a flaw in the design or a drunken idiot clambering out of it-is hard to tell.

Has anyone actually been crippled by a ‘Bums n Tums’ class?

Now I know there’s a massive stigma about talking about going to the gym (especially Facebook and Twitter posts), but we’re all just going to have to suck it up for this one paragraph.  I go to the gym a lot, not because I have motivation made of steel or even because I want to look like Kylie (though I do) but because I enjoy it. Go to the gym, do a bit of cardio, come home relaxed and tired. Lovely. Which is why, when I saw a Bums n Tums class advertised I thought “oh, why not, should be fun”. WRONG. It was hellish. As I’ve mentioned my fitness is quite good, but I thought the instructor was actually going to kill me. Try doing a million squats, then try doing them lower, then try doing them in slow-motion. Hard. Then, after your legs start shaking, try jumping into the air tucking your legs up, landing and squatting – then repeat. This went on for a good 55 minutes (it was only meant to last 40 minutes) and at the end I felt myself begin to faint. So after nearly an hour of assuming stress positions which I’m sure are a violation of international law, I limped home. The next day I thought I was on fire, and didn’t leave my room. The day after I managed down the stairs (swearing lots). And still now, 5 days later, I have to brace myself before standing up/ sitting down. I can’t remember much about the first day, but through a blur of pain and groaning, I distinctly remember my best friend saying “oh yeah, I was surprised when you said you were going take that class – it’s really hard. Lots of sweating and pain. Thought it sounded grim” Thank you, dear Emily, for only sharing this information with me now.  You are a good friend.

Well that about concludes the list of things that keep me up at night, except of course the mounting crippling debt that comes from being an English student (Irish students still only need to pay £3,000 a year – and yes, I am bitter about it). But, luckily for me, my lovely Mum bought me an insomnia book for Christmas, full of funny quotes on sleeplessness. It would be a shame not to get to use it.

(featured image by NightWolf7272 on deviantart