A Fresh Year For Our Freshers’ Columnist

Ronan Sullivan is back, looking at university from the perspective most students keep hidden from the outside world. The inner struggles of an identity crisis as told by our Feature's Freshers' columnist

This column is being written at 2:38 in the morning on the 17th of January. It is too early to justify this column being representative of January, but it’s my column. There is still an element of absurdity over that fact, but I suppose it means I can write it when I want, which is exactly what I am doing.

What prompted this unloading session of the contents of my mental faculties is that I had an identity crisis. These episodes are as constant as the Earth’s movement around the Sun.

“I needed to “sort myself out”. My life was being lived based on others”

The identity crisis happened before the New Year. I got home and felt empty. I needed to “sort myself out”. My life was being lived based on others. All my time was spent playing pool too long, and going out when I didn’t want to. What was I doing? Trying to reach up – or down – to how I thought I should act as a student: over-boozing and being crap at pool, pretending to be happy to people who don’t give a toss.

Now, in my headphones, Positively 4th Street is playing – a great song, but a tangential fact. You are observers to the man with his head on fire, patting himself out, screaming in agony, until he falls to the floor, dead and charred.

There is a subtext in what I am saying here – the need to look after mental health. We cause a lot of it by doing things like spending three hours on YouTube looking at Edgar Wright interviews, Harry Kane’s best goals 2017/18, or a video from X Factor about those two girls who started having a fight on stage.

We should be doing something productive. It could be revising for an exam that you have this Saturday at 9am, or redrafting something like a column for the University magazine, the latter what I’m doing instead of the former. Irony!

“I had to go on runs and cry to regain sanity”

University is extremely hard. When I got back I had four breakdowns a day. I had to go on runs and cry to regain sanity. Thoughts like: curling up in a ball, telling myself I’m terrible, that I will never have any friends, that I did not get invited to that party because I do not interact properly with people because I do not care enough about them and should give up, are still common.

To be topical, exam stress is comparatively nothing. I’ve been more stressed about whether I should’ve laughed at someone’s joke, whether I should respond with a funny comment, or whether I should go to my room and Google, “How to respond to jokes like a human person”.

Repressing all this until now, in a place meant for a monthly update is unhealthy, and just plain inappropriate. Nonetheless, this is what I’ve done, and I will only regret some of it.

“Even amidst all the crap, our ability to overcome it connects us”

Some positive message for you to take home should be an end. That’s been “my thing” so far. Even amidst all the crap, our ability to overcome it connects us. We should cherish it because without it, the good would not be so good, and life would not be just that: life.

I’m going to sign off in a different language each column now. Here’s some Gaelic: slán!

Ronan Sullivan

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Featured image courtesy of “Eden, Janine and Jim” via Flickr. Image licence found here.


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