Friday, 19 April 2013

University Talks: what to do before


So I know a lot of people are starting university in September, so I thought I’d have a couple of posts, just things like what to take, what to expect etc, because I know that for me it would have been a lot less nerve-wracking if I would have heard someone else’s experiences.
So I started university at Leeds Trinity, in Leeds, obviously. I was going to do a film studies degree – baaaad choice, basically when I was doing my UCAS application (something you have to fill out before university; the course, a personal statement basically making you sound like superman, and your grades) I decided that film studies was a brilliant idea, at the time I love film studies, well the lessons I took at A Level, and I was pretty good at it, and also I kind of rushed into university, I knew that textiles was my passion, but before I had time to look for a course, results were in and I just really needed to get out of my home town; I was having ex-boyfriend problems and had enough of people. So I went to university, and trust me – if I could have changed my course whilst at that university I would have in a split second, I loved university. But after many sleepless and tearful nights, the stress was getting to me – I knew most of what they were teaching, and in more detail, and the other half was like the lecturer was talking … a made up language I didn’t have a clue, my heart wasn’t in it, and wasting £11,000 on a year? I needed to let go of student life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love being a student – hence why I’m going back into education in September, but if you’re on the wrong course what is the point wasting that sort of money?
Anyway, here’s what to do before…

1)      UCAS – honestly this is so important, to all you sixth formers and college students – THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. Don’t do what I did. I felt under so much pressure to know exactly what I wanted to do, like a year before actually university, and honestly, I still don’t know exactly what I want to do as a career. If you’re unsure make a list – what subjects you’re good at, pros and cons, and what job you could achieve. And make sure you check over and over your personal statement – if you don’t have an interview they’ll rely on this and your grades to offer you a place.

2)      DO YOUR RESEARCH, go to open days, they help you get a understanding of the area, where everything is, what resources they have and how big the place is. When I applied, I visited two of my five choices, my first a second choice – Leeds Trinity & De Montfort in Leicester, I loved both, but Leeds was a better option for me because I liked the close community there. At my sixth form we went to a UCAS meeting day – pretty much every university has representatives and they have the prospectuses of each university (what the courses are, what the uni is like) which really helps, you’ll get a better understanding of the courses they offer by speaking to a representative, plus you get lots of free stuff – bonus! 

3)      DON’T BE SCARED TO TAKE A GAP YEAR, at sixth form you do feel pretty pressurised into university – well at least I did. Don’t think it’s the end of the world if you don’t have a clue what you want to do with your life, with UCAS you can defer a year – meaning you have a year to focus on what you want. I’ve basically had a gap year since December- and so far I’ve loved it, I’ve had a few months to decide what career path I want to take and earned money through work, in the meantime. A lot of people I know have travelled, or worked on their gap year, and thoroughly enjoyed it, they’ve got to experience things they never would have, and now they’re ready to settle in to university life.

4) FINANCE - big must. Honestly if you don't have problems with this then you're the luckiest person in the world. Make sure you have enough time with this, and that it is completed when your tutor/teacher/mentor tells you, or you will be panicking at the end. 

4)      And finally have fun, enjoy your last year at sixth form or college, make memories, because people usually go their own ways after it, get prepared for university and remember you have the best 2/3 years of your life to look forward to! 


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22 year old textile designer & mum to a little miracle.
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Maira Gall