Part 1 | Reflecting On My University Experience

So, as you may or may not know - I've just finished University completely! I finally handed in that last assignment and I'm in that weird place in between handing in that last piece of work and graduation.. where you're just like 'now what' haha! So I thought I would write a bit about my three year experience with uni - maybe to help out anyone who's currently at uni or someone who's thinking about going to uni but also to mark then end of the three years, so I can come back to these posts when I'm old and grey and remember my experience! It's also just nice for me to reflect on my experience since the whole three years has gone past in a complete blur and it only feels like yesterday that I received my acceptance email! In order to save your boredom and my sanity I've decided to split the post into a few parts, so today I'll be sharing a bit about my experiences before uni (if I can remember that far back, haha!) I'll be sharing everything I can from how I managed assignment stress and anxiety, to my bad relationship with my first ever housemates, to how it felt moving out of my family home, to what the night life was like, so if you want to know more about all that be sure to pop back for the whole series! For those of you wondering, I studied (feels weird not saying 'I'm studying' haha!) Early childhood studies - I'm not going to share the name of my uni for reasons, but you can probably find out (I've mentioned it before) if you're interested in that. But yeah, let me know in the comments if you're currently at University or if you're thinking about going to uni - I'd love to know! Also, if there's anything you want me to talk about in Part 2/if you have any questions you need answering please feel free to ask away in the comments, I'd be happy to help! 

As I said, it literally feels like yesterday I was applying for uni - I can't really remember too much about the application process, but I do remember that I hated writing my personal statement. We actually got so much guidance from our school, which was really nice and I remember our head of year sitting down individually with everyone to help us perfect our personal statements! I remember at the time though I definitely was forced into the mindset that going to University was the norm and that everyone NEEDS to apply - the only people who didn't go were the people who didn't get accepted or decided to go on a gap year. I actually only realised during my first year at uni that that's not really the case at all and just going straight into a full time job is completely normal too.. I guess my school just really pushed the whole going to uni thing! Don't get me wrong though, I am glad I did go and my aim is to become a teacher (I think!) so it was definitely beneficial for me, I just feel like some of my friends back in sixth form might've benefited more from going straight into work rather than going through uni and getting a potentially irrelevant degree though. Because to be honest a lot of us still didn't really know what we wanted to do in year 13 when it came to deciding on uni's and what degrees we wanted to study! I actually didn't do that well when it came to my A levels and I actually fell just below my required grades to get into my chosen universities - I was accepted into both though and I put it down to my extra curricular activities (that I completely played up in my personal statement!) I know this sounds so cliche and I sound just like my head of year right now, but extra curricular activities can be the difference between being rejected or accepted when it comes to getting into university and it's probably because I taught dance in my school and helped out at special educational needs sports groups that I was actually accepted into the university I went to - so I can't really stress that enough if you're still in school and wanting to go to uni!  Do as much as you can but also only do things that you enjoy (because we all know GCSE'S and A levels are stressful enough, without boring volunteering on top of that!) I really enjoyed dancing so I used that to my advantage and I had such a good time teaching it to the younger years in my school! 

But yes, the acceptance email was such an amazing moment for me and I remember feeling so proud of myself (as someone who lacks a lot of self confidence!) and it was so exciting figuring things out with my Mum like financial budgets, how I was going to decorate my room, everything I needed to take with me... and finally getting my student finance details sent off and sorted (don't even get me started on student finance..) ! Oh yes, it was all fun and games until I got another dreaded letter... I wasn't accepted into halls. At the time it felt like this was the worst thing to ever happen and I genuinely had thoughts of just backing out of uni completely, I actually spoke to a friend recently about this as she was in the same boat as me and she had the exact same thoughts! So you get this letter and basically all that the uni does is give you a link to a website where you can browse through student houses to rent and I remember it was so daunting at the time - we only got this letter at the end of August too and living 2 hours away from the uni we had a very limited time to find me somewhere to live! So we basically scheduled a day where we were going to take the 2 hour trip down here to view one house, we met up with my land lady and went round to view the house (which was fairly decent for a student house) and then when we asked who else was going to be living in the house she told me that I would be living with four boys in their third year of uni... needless to say, that one was a no! Luckily, she is land lady for many of the student houses here and took us round to view another house just around the corner, again this one was fairly decent for a student house and we were running out of time so I decided to go for it. It was so scary not really know who I would be living with, but I was introduced on Facebook to my housemates and the other girl I would be living with seemed really lovely so that lifted my spirits a little bit! When it comes to not living in halls, I do feel like I missed out a little bit, I'll talk about this a little more when I get to the first year section but I didn't really feel like I was experiencing uni as much as my friends who lived in halls. I guess because you're separated into larger groups of people in halls (I only lived with three other people) and there's always something going on, halls just always seemed so much more fun but I am kind of happy that I was able to have my own space (and a bigger bedroom, even if that meant I had to share a bathroom!). 

Moving in was really scary but also really exciting, me and my Mum were sure to buy tonnes of decoration-y bits to make my room more homely - I remember going to B&M and buying loads of cute bits for my room, which really excited me! In early September on the day I moved in, everyone else was moving in at the same time and this was the first time I was meeting my housemates - everyone seemed really friendly though so that was good! Once we were all moved in and my room was all set up my Mum, my step dad and brother actually went to go and stay in a hotel a little while away from where I was. This was definitely needed for me and it made the first night sleeping in a new place, with new people a lot easier! I believe my boyfriend Ethan also came down to stay during the first week of moving in (just before actual lectures started) which made things a lot easier! We even walked my route to uni so that when it came to walking to uni for a lecture I knew my way there (living in a new place was really daunting at first, but you eventually learn your way around and now I know this place so well!) we also made sure to have a little adventure and see where the best spots are to go for day trips, like the nearest ice cream place, the way to the beach and the way to Primark.. all necessary, haha! Me and Ethan also went on a rather disappointing night out with my new housemates, which ended up with us walking a very drunk housemate home and not even making it in the door of the club, haha! It was good to get to know them though and to learn all the drinking games, haha! But yeah, then that was it - I had to say a very sad goodbye to Ethan and I was left all on my own - I'll talk more about that in the next part though! So be sure to pop back for part 2 - I'll be talking all about my first year at uni! 

1 comment :

  1. its good to reflect on these things. I thought my university experience was terrible when I was there but a year after I finished, I started to see how great it was.