The loss of my frontal hair from the age of 16 turned my world upside down. Once a confident person, my self-esteem deteriorated year on year from the embarrassment and having to use every concoction under the sun to keep people from noticing. Waking up everyday feeling like a clandestine Grandad disconnected from my peers, utter sadness and anxiety began to ruin my life.
When I then became the first person in my family to go to university in September 2014, going to a new place where I didn’t know anybody, alongside learning how to cook, budget money and adapt to far higher academic demands – didn’t make things any easier. Moreover, being a working class, colloquial Brummie, down in a leafy southern university town where most domestic students speak with lovely RP, I was a true fish out of water socially. I just could not fit in.
The amalgamation of these circumstances left me with a deep inferiority complex. Unaccepted by others and unaccepted by self, suicidal thoughts became a daily norm. I couldn’t walk down a road without the urge to step in and meet an oncoming vehicle.
During this time, when people back home would ask me “how’s uni going?” most seemed to be shocked when my response was far from the generic tale of a wild indulgence of sex and alcohol. Hearing several lectures preach a euphemised version of this too, made me wonder what the hell was wrong with me when I was having the worst time of my life.
When my mental state then began to severely impact upon my studies, I truly realised how demanding university actually is, especially considering most people are going through a personal struggle of some sort. Nearing breaking point, the little things began to drive me up the wall – my personal favourite being the effort it would take trying to find a time to meet other students for group work each week. I couldn’t believe a simple thing like this was causing me so much stress when I had enough going on – particularly in 2016.
I got to the start of my final year, and a hair transplant I had a month in renewed my hopes of seeing things through to graduation. However, the death of my grandfather on Boxing Day that Christmas destroyed me. After running half way around the world, I sat on the harbour in Hong Kong feeling like my world was at an end. Besides the packets of Paracetamol in my pocket, the only half an idea I had was to try and immerse myself into something that would hopefully keep my mind off things.
Hence, I decided to try and give students one less problem and Uni Genie was born.
It’s saved my life, who knows what it could do for you – so LinkUp!
Sam Gale x
Uni Genie founder.