While at College, I practiced a presentation using the audiovisual equipment while the room was free. We were told by a member of staff (not the class professor) that we were permitted to do this. I practiced for three days in row during free periods, making sure that I knew exactly how to use the microphone and equipment.

When the day of the presentation came and I was called by the professor, I plugged my laptop into the system. I was reaching to switch on the microphone when he stopped me half way and told me how to switch on the microphone. I tried to explain to him that I knew how to switch it on because I had practiced using that microphone before. He talked right over me, didn’t listen, then switched on the microphone for me and said:
“This is how you switch on the microphone.”

As though I was stupid and as though had never practiced using the system before. I was a female student and he talked to me in a very condescending way. I noticed that he let the boys fiddle about with their equipment, but he assumed that the girls didn’t know what to do.

He was a disagreeable person who talked to everyone in sarcastic way, but he was especially patronising towards the females in the class and would often sneer at them nastily or completely talk over them.

He was an older professor and I could tell that he really hated his job and he hated teaching women whom he thought were all lazy and technologically illiterate by default. This was a great shame because he taught a science subject that I was passionate about. He singlehandedly managed to suck all of the interest out of it. He made it boring dry torture.

When he interviewed me for a place on the course, he was adversarial. He said that it was inevitable that I would hate going to university and I shouldn’t do a four year course. He seemed baffled that my grades were so good and said that it was guaranteed that I would hate studying at university. He was a very miserable and bitter man.

I ended up dropping out of the course after 3 years and attempted suicide. I really regret even trying to study there because he was in control of a major section of the department that I wanted to study in.

I know people patronisingly say that life is short and to live it, but I found that my life was torn from my hands by some men who either harassed me or doubted my ability at College. I felt very unsafe and undervalued, that’s why I left. I am sorry to everyone I let down, but I couldn’t carry on living and working in such a socially toxic environment where people doubted my place of birth and made fun of my accent also. To them, I was the weird dumb woman that no one even tried to listen to or give sober constructive criticism or advice to.

If you get depressed like this please don’t go to the doctor and don’t take anti depressants: they made me feel suicidal. Find supportive friends and colleagues who aren’t psychiatrists. Get physically active, get out in nature and find a new hobby, don’t take anti depressant pills. Pills can ruin your passion for life, fry your brain, slow down your body and make it impossible for you to interact socially with other people.

I felt a lot better when I left that College environment, took up hobbies that I enjoyed, did volunteer work, stopped labelling myself as “disordered” or “mentally ill”, got some exercise, played Kendama, played devil sticks, stopped taking anti depressants and stopped being lazy. Please don’t give young women “mental health advice”, counselling by therapists that shame/bully and drug them up, instead ensure that the social environments they live and work in are healthy.