From the age of about 14 I’d always assumed that I would go to university when I got older because it’s what most of my older friends or relatives had done themselves. It seems scary at that time to think that some day in the future I would be living on my own in a city possibly quite far away from home studying one subject for 3 to 4 years. And it didn’t get any less scary the closer it got.
I started properly thinking about going to university in my first year of college but even then I wasn’t so sure as to whether it was the right way to go. However, my friends were all going so I decided it would be a good idea too. That and I had absolutely no idea what kind of job or other things I wanted to do after college was finished. At 16/17 years old it’s hard to know exactly where you want to go in life so opening your options with a degree under your belt seems like a pretty strong way to start.
Choosing a uni…
For me choosing a uni was very easy and I’d pretty much already decided before I’d even looked around anywhere. I wanted somewhere close to home but not too close. Somewhere with a good reputation and facilities. And somewhere where I knew at least one person so I wouldn’t feel so alone.
During my first year I questioned whether I really wanted to be there a whole lot. The first week included a whole host of emotions. I missed home but I loved my new friends. I was worried about impending lectures but excited to know what would be in store for me.
As I got more and more settled in to the student halls I became much more confident. Throughout school and college I had always been “the quiet one” and would never be the first to say hello. I think it helped a lot that I came to uni with my life long best friend. Although people will tell you, “don’t just choose a uni because your friends are going there!” it definitely was an important factor for me and really helped me to feel at home in a completely alien environment.
I was kind of lucky in the sense that my first year of uni didn’t count towards my final grade so had the chance to really jump into the student culture. If you are in this situation just remember that although your first year seems like a chance to go out partying every single night, it is also a stepping stone towards your second year and you do need to learn how to actually study and write essays! Yes, partying may seem like the number one priority as a brand new student but you are primarily there to learn and do the best you possibly can so find a balance between the two. I’m not saying turn down every invitation but make sure you have time for yourself too.
Now half way through my second year I definitely wouldn’t have changed anything I have done. For me, university has not only been a learning experience on an academic level, it’s been a massive learning curve for me personally. I feel I’ve grown as a person and learned so much about myself that I may not have got the chance to experience if I’d gone straight into work. I’ve realized my passion for journalism and love for experiencing new things. But most of all, I’ve got the chance to make tonnes of amazing memories and made some lifelong friends along the way.