So, at this moment in time, I feel like I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my time and experience of university and I want to share it right from the very beginning when my university journey started over four years ago.
When you think about it, your university experience starts around a year before you even move into your university accommodation and attend your first lecture. From my experience anyway, my tutors at college started discussing what our options were from the first day of Sixth Form College.
In September 2014, I moved to Huddersfield to attend the University of Huddersfield to study Journalism, however, by the end of October 2014, I had dropped out and moved back home. I took a gap year and then started at De Montfort University in October 2015 to study Journalism again, and I will be graduating from DMU on July 18th 2018.
I think now is probably the time to say that this post will probably be more on the lengthy side so you may want to grab a cup of tea or coffee and a snack and get comfy!
For me, university just seemed like a natural progression as all of my friends were going so I wanted to do it with them so we could all experience it together, so I never really thought about it seriously or considered taking a gap year or explore what other options were available.
So this is where my journey starts, once I returned back to college after the summer in 2013, my college encouraged us to start working on our applications as soon as possible, deciding what course to study, what universities you want to look at etc.
When I was at college, I studied photography and I absolutely loved it and I had considered studying it at university level, however I also loved English and writing also considered studying English as another one of my subjects. The final subject I studied was Media and this was my strongest subject by far so again considered studying this at university but after coming across a Journalism course in a prospectus, I decided that it was I wanted to study as it had elements of everything that I was studying.
Now I had chosen my course I was able to really look at different universities and narrow down my choices. When I was applying for university, I was dead set on moving away as far as possible so I could move out and have my own space away from my parents because I was getting sick of living at home – but how wrong it turned out to be.
My mum was constantly telling me I should look at universities closer to home and consider being closer than I wanted or even consider staying at home and commuting, but no, I was dead set on moving away and being independent.
I really enjoyed the process of picking out universities and looking at how different the same course was at different universities and what grades they accepted etc., and I still actually have all of my notes of universities and grades and I find it so funny looking back at it now and how I would have done things completely different having the chance.
Some of the universities that I considered were, University of Huddersfield, Falmouth University, University of Chester, Kingston University and this list goes on. Once I had looked at around 15 universities and visited 4/5 open days, I had decided what five I wanted to apply for, then my application was sent off, and afterwards it was just a waiting game of getting offers and results day.
For anyone who has already been through this process, you will know that UCAS goes live at 8am on results day so you actually know if you get into university before you get your results. So on results day morning I logged into UCAS and discovered that I had been offered a place at the University of Huddersfield, and being my firm choice, I was over the moon. However, I wasn’t prepared to move away at all as I had doubts regarding my results all summer and had convinced myself I wouldn’t be going when September rolled around.
I moved to Huddersfield on September 15th 2014 and I was full of excitement and optimism. I knew on the day I moved in I was only going to have a few days to settle in as I had to go back home three days later for my cousins wedding, but those first few days were amazing.
I bonded so well with my amazing flatmates and we had loads of fun getting to know one another. I actually found that when I went home three days later, I already missed waking up in a flat with my friends.
One thing I deeply regret when I left Huddersfield was that I never kept in contact with my friends because they were supportive and caring throughout my time in Huddersfield; I still to this day, have the good luck card they gave me that everyone in our block (our block was called Boothroyd C) signed for me before I left.
So I lived in Huddersfield for about seven weeks and I moved home on October 30th, which ironically was exactly one year after I went to the open day at Huddersfield and decided that it was my favourite university.
The first couple of weeks in Huddersfield were really fun as I was meeting lots of new people and I was starting my classes and I was really enjoying living in the town. However, I soon started to get really homesick and it was just getting worse as time went on. I was travelling home every weekend and my anxiety was soaring through the roof.
I spoke to my family about what I should do because I was genuinely so stuck on what to do because on one hand I wanted to make my family proud but on the other I felt like I just couldn’t see it through. This is where, looking back, I feel like I should have considered my options more when I was completing my a-levels because I think at the time, I just wasn’t ready at all to move away and I was very narrow minded and naïve.
But after much deliberation, I made my decision that I wanted to drop out and take a gap year. I still remember, so vividly, the day I told the university that I wanted to drop out, it was quite funny actually, because it was a Friday afternoon and I had already planned to go home that weekend for a cousins birthday, so I had taken my suitcase for the weekend into uni with me as I was getting the train home straight after classes. I sat down with a man and told him and he said to me, ‘I see you’re very certain on this decision, you’ve already packed your suitcase!’
So I moved back on the following Thursday and had to start the whole process of applying for university all over again.
[Once I had written this post, it turned out to be very long so I have decided to split it between two posts, part two will be up tomorrow or in a couple of days.]