Finding your people
It took me a long time to find my people. I was bullied at school and that took away a lot of my confidence. I assumed that people didn’t like me unless I was given reason to think otherwise. When I went to study psychology at university, I was really enthusiastic but found that nobody else really wanted to be there. It seemed like everyone was much more concerned with going out all the time, drinking loads and skipping as many lectures as they could get away with. This was the time that my eating disorder was also at its worst and so I isolated myself even further. When I started my masters degree, I also struggled to make friends. I was in recovery from my eating disorder which took a lot of my energy. I found it difficult to manage the voices in my head about food, exercise and my body whilst keeping up with the course. That didn’t leave much energy for connecting with others and so I felt relatively lonely. When I started my PhD I was in a really healthy place, mentally and physically. I was hugely passionate and eager to get stuck into my research. I was lucky that I met people who were equally passionate, curious and keen to learn. I felt like I could be myself and be accepted and it was the first time I’d really experienced that. I’ve since got a lot more confidence and have been lucky to connect with so many more amazing people. Recently, we celebrated (swipe to see the group photo). Three of us have completed our PhDs (with a lot of ups and downs along the way) and were talking excitedly about the futures that we have ahead of us. We’re different in many ways but all support each other wholeheartedly in all of our respective endeavours. If you haven’t found your people, know that they are out there. It’s okay to be different. Not everyone will get you but there will be people that do and they are truly valuable.