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Kerrie (@kerriewilkinson) is a 20 year old journalism student who has suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for 12 years. She blogs about how her anxiety impacts her university life and her decision to live off campus.
Sometimes anxiety can make you feel like you don't make your own decisions, you're almost not free-willed. Every choice you make is controlled by it.
"Anxiety has undoubtedly dictated my life."
As I enter my third and final year of university, the realisation that I haven't got the most out of my time as a student becomes more and more apparent. Everyone who has gone to university and has experienced the heralded student life has nothing but good memories, good friends and good stories to tell. It's life-changing. But for me, it's just been a means to an end, a path that had to be walked, a 9 o'clock lecture that had to be attended.
Once you've decided the subject you want to methodically pick apart for at least three years, you have one of the biggest decisions of your life to make. Where to go? Living independently and moving away is almost synonymous with university. That is what being a student entails.
"But I didn't have a choice. There was no way I could move away."
I couldn't leave the comfort of knowing that no matter how bad my day was, I'd always return to my safe place - my home, and my family.
I have nothing but admiration, and probably a tinge of jealousy, for those who decide to move away. I hear my boyfriend’s stories of what he did at university and, although truthfully some make me want to vomit, a lot of them sound amazing. The thought of being thrust into shared accommodation with a group of strangers was to me, however, more sickening than any of those stories.
I'm still glad I didn't do it.
"But when I walk through those doors and sit down in those lectures it's evident that I'm an odd one out."
Everyone knows everyone else, they're a family.
That's not to discourage anyone from staying at home during their time at university. I'm more than happy with where the path that had to be walked has taken me.
"I just wish I knew whether it was my decision to stay at home, or my anxiety's."
I like to think that my dare with university - my brave decision - was my choice to study Journalism. The thought of interviewing someone never fails to fill me with dread - still.
"Every day is a battle with my anxiety but I think I'm winning."
There's no guidebook to these sort of things, no hard and fast rules.
"If you don't think you can move away, don't do it. If you do, do."
The only thing I regret about university is not taking advantage of more opportunities. I write myself off before I've given things a go. But I have one more year to put that right.
Although I feel like I haven't truly experienced it, I'm still proud I've, almost, done it.
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