How much has uni aged you?

Probably more than you’d hoped

barack obama obama oval office presidency president selly oak stress students uni university university of birmingham UoB white house

What’s more stressful- uni or leading the free world?  Uni, obviously.  Images of Barack Obama have been circulating the internet recently showing how all the stress of being president or something has taken him down from a solid 8.5/10 to a meagre 5 at best.  You can imagine the gasp of horror when the thought crossed my mind: if Obama has sunk that far down the scale, how shit must we look?

Sure, sure, presidency comes with a few extra stresses that we as students don’t face, things like daily death threats, angry voters, international conflict and all that (although I hate to generalise, I’m sure some of us recieve regular death threats), but he gets to do all this worrying in style and comfort.  Maybe Obama has had bigger worries than meeting deadlines that have made him pull an all-nighter, but he can fry these bigger fish from his private jet or the White House.

When was the last time Barack gave a shit about some one pinching his milk, not being able to turn the heating on in the dead of winter or the disappointment in the voice of his overbearing parents?  We have all these extra things to deal with, and no comfortable office with a wheeley chair or fancy pants warm mansion in which to do our stressing.

So yeah, being president is hard but if you want to see some real stress ageing, look at us- the generation with nothing but debt and unemployment to look forward to.

Riyah, Final year English Literature and History

Sadly this is not the only recent photo of me hanging out by a bin

Let’s start with me.  There’s something not quite genuine in the smile of the more recent Riyah.  Looking back, I suppose my ‘before’ smile is naive. This was the day I left school- I’d just won a load of prizes for being an ace pupil, the sun was shining, and I probably thought I could smash this uni thing no problem.  But that was before.  Now, I’ve got a shit haircut because I can’t afford/ be bothered to maintain it, I only wear horrible clothes that I don’t mind being covered in Selly muck, and according to my tagged photos on Facebook I spend a bizarrely large amount of time hanging out near bins. Uni has ruined me.

Suzie, Final year African Studies and Anthropology

Suzie describes herself in first year as “happy and full of life” whereas now, after three years of university, she is just “haggard and needing wine.”

Ciara, Final year English

Ciara’s main qualm is how uni stress made her lose her hair.  She told The Tab:

“A lot of things about my appearance have gone downhill since since I started uni. We’re going to have to forget about the fact that guys don’t approach me in clubs now, that my skin used to be much better, and the fact that I used to be a STONE AND A HALF LIGHTER because there’s one thing in particular that truly shows the effect the last two years have had on my body. University made me fucking bald. Okay, not really, but almost.

“In the first photo I’m a fresh-faced 18 year old with mermaid hair. That’s the hair I arrived with on my first day of uni. Then by the time second term of first year rolled around, I was scrolling through tagged photos of nights out and it just hit me. You could almost literally see my hair getting shorter and thinner as you scroll.  Coming to uni literally made my hair fall out, and now it won’t grow longer than shoulder length no matter what I do.

“I’m just waiting for the day when my dissertation gives me bald patch.”

But then again, there are those of us who have somehow managed to blossom and have let uni turn us into actual functioning people rather than a tear-stained mess that’s never far from Netflix and chips.  These guys are showing us how it’s done- perhaps the world leaders should take a leaf from their book.

Adam, Final year Business Management

Adam says uni has hasn’t changed him aesthetically so much as mentally.  “I would say I’ve changed as much as my haircut would suggest. Only now I don’t have a black eye because I realised that the whole concept of a mosh pit is really pretty senseless.”

Faye, Final year English Literature with Creative Writing

Unlike most of us, Faye has managed to pull together almost every aspect of her life.

“I’ve gone through a whole range of looks at uni until I’ve found one that I’m comfortable with. When I started first year I was a bit overweight and I was very experimental with my hair. I had pink and purple hair, then blue and then I chopped it all off to the point where it was shorter than the hair of most boys I knew.

“At the end of my second year I decided to sort my life out, so I grew some hair and got a gym membership, and now I’m peng, obvs.”