Starting University was one of the scariest experiences and I sure won’t forget it. I was at a house party the night before results day and as much as I was enjoying myself, I couldn’t help but feel sick to my stomach. I logged onto the computer after midnight, onto the UCAS website, to see if I had got into Uni. Those few minutes of the page loading I was so nervous. I wondered whether my parents would be proud whatever my achievements; I knew they would be but I think everyone has that initial worry. Thanking my lucky starts, my first choice was accepted and the countdown to starting Uni had begun.
The Right Choice
When I started my second year of Sixth Form (college/Alevels depending on what you call it) we had numerous of talks each month about starting to look at University’s, attending open days and starting our personal statements. They said it was important to start early so you had plenty of time to visit as many as we could and also make our final decision.
I remember going to my first University open days with my parents. We went to Coventry and despite it not being that far away from where I live, we did stop for a coffee break where I insisted on taking a picture to mark my new journey. After viewing Coventry I was adamant that I wanted to go there, it just seemed ideal for me. But not wanting to commit to my first viewing, we went and looked at Staffordshire and Bedfordshire.
Staffordshire was a long trek for Dad and I. It was a good few hours there and a good few hours back and I didn’t even like it. I don’t know what it was but the course just wasn’t what I hoped it would be and the campus was too big. I did feel guilty about not liking the Uni because we’d travelled all that way for a dead end, but I knew my parents wouldn’t mind because they wanted me to pick the right Uni for me.
I always wondered how I would know what the right Uni for me was. I would sit and think about my life, how it would change, would I like the place? I’d wonder if I liked the buildings or my course or the teachers I’d have. When I viewed Bedfordshire, I automatically fell in love. The campus was new, big but not too big and everyone just seemed friendly. The lecturers I met for the journalism department were so welcoming and spoke so passionately about the courses and the fun we would have along the way (as well as the learning parts too.) But putting all that aside, what sold it for me was the brand new TV studio equipment and a radio station there in the building.
My Dad agreed with me when saying that a lot of the Uni’s had new computers and editing software, and huge editing suites to use. What was missing though was the actual camera equipment, microphones and radio booths. University of Bedfordshire had brand new equipment installed a few years earlier, they have their own TV studios and own radio station right in the building. For me it was a no brainer. I’d never find facilities like that anywhere else. So I decided on Bedfordshire as my first choice and Coventry as my second.
The build up to Uni was really exciting for me because I couldn’t wait to give my career a kickstart. The University of Bedfordshire is only a 10 minute drive from me so I chose to live at home instead of moving into halls or accommodation. Some might say I’m not experiencing the true Uni experience or life; but I love my Uni experience and wouldn’t change it. I still made it to class earlier than some people who did in halls so in no way did this effect my learning whatsoever.
Shopping for Uni was an easy task for me. With no bedding, kitchen utensils or boxes to pack, all I had to worry about was what stationery I was going to buy and what I was going to wear on my first day. My Grandpa kindly took me shopping for my stationery and I had a blast wandering around Staples! I’m such a stationery lover so everything stationery gets me all excited. My friends think I’m absolutely barmy but feeling organised and buying new equipment for a new year helps me to feel motivated. I’m going to do a separate stationery blog post before I start my third year to give you an idea on what stationery you need to buy – but just get excited now because it’s a fab shopping spree.
I won’t sugarcoat this next topic because there isn’t any point in lying to you or being dishonest. My blog is a place of truth and honesty, so when I tell you that your first day of Uni will be one of the scariest and nerve racking days of your life, I’m telling the truth. The worry of trying to find your classroom is such a daunting process I’d never considered. University’s have such big campuses with different buildings so it’s quite easy to lose track of where you are.
On my first day I gave myself plenty of time to find my classroom so I wouldn’t be late. You want to make a good first impression and turning up late smelling of alcohol from your Fresher’s night out the night before, isn’t a good impression let me tell you. So me trying to find my room wasn’t too difficult if i’m honest. Luckily my floor is the main floor in one building so I remembered that; but I have never known a Uni to have so many different building blocks with different floors. They have about 30 rooms on each floor and if my main classroom where to have changed I’d have been completely lost. For my different classes that weren’t TV, I got lost so many times, more times than I could count in my first week.
Meeting Your Course Pals
Meeting the other students on your course is a daunting thought. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? What if they aren’t a team player in group work and I end up doing everything? The majority of the time you’re going to get along with the people on your course because you all have the same interests, otherwise you wouldn’t be on the same course! They’ll soon become your friends and some might even become best friends! Who knows!
However, it might not be smooth sailing all the time. There will be some people who don’t pull their weight in group work and it could let you down. There will be some people you don’t like and don’t get on with. There will be some people who text and email you everyday asking what time you’re in the next day because they haven’t bothered to remember their timetable. But that’s Uni life and you just suck it up and get on with it.
But overall, these people are either going to make or break your University experience. You’ve just got to choose to let them make you experience, have fun and smash your degrees together! Finding a reliable friend you can go to the library with a study with before exams is the best kind of friend to have. Overtime you will find that friend and you’ll soon motivate each other to keep going, even when times get tough.
If you are worried about not making friends whilst you’re at Uni then join a sport or society. I joined the Netball team during my second year and I’m sad that I won’t be carrying it on for my last year (that is a completely different story.) We trained twice a week and had games near enough every week, followed by food and drinks on a Wednesday night. The perfect socialising opportunity if you were free that evening.
Apart from the socialising, it was also a nice distraction from revision and assignments. Those few hours each week gave me something else to focus my attention on and it was nice to have some fun.
Wednesday night was always the sport and social nights out and quite often they were themed. Halloween was a good theme because the variety there is endless; Disney themes came around, cops and robbers also happened and many more. It’s just a nice way to let your hair down and have fun every week so you can chill out and unwind from your essay stresses.
Whilst you’re having fun, you do make some amazing friends. I became close with two girls called Beth and Jamie and I love those girls to pieces. Beth I knew beforehand because she does Journalism as well but we’d never really spoken before Netball; now we’re planning a girls night when she moves back down South for third year and I couldn’t be more excited to see her. Jamie is just the funniest girl you’ll ever meet. She is the light and soul of the party and she’s been quite unwell recently and she has just started a Youtube channel to document her journey and help other people. She’s amazing and I’ll leave her link at the end of this post.
If you don’t want to join a sport or social group then by now you will have found friends in your flat mates or your course pals. So once you’e established your group, you’re going to need plenty of nights out to keep sane. I’m not encouraging alcohol obviously, but you will need a good boogie every now and again to unwind and have fun.
Making friends was trickier for me because I wasn’t moving into halls and at the time I didn’t know anybody from my town who was going to the same Uni as me. Before I started Uni, I joined a Facebook group for people going to the University of Bedfordshire who weren’t going to be living in halls. I was really looking forward to starting Uni and going to Freshers Week so I really wanted to find a group of friends who were commuting like me and would want to go to Fresher’s together.
It was from this group that I met Jess, Daisy and Lottie. We all met up before Fresher’s for some food to meet each other properly and get to know each other and from there our friendship just “blossomed.” Us four became so close so quickly that I knew we’d all be friends for a long time. Jess, Daisy and Lottie all do similar science courses so they often have lectures together, but in no way do I feel left out or not a solid part of the group.
It is important to remain close with your friends and make time to see them throughout term time and the holidays as well. These people will motivate you and maker your journey more enjoyable. There have been plenty of nights out for us 4 girls where we have ended up dancing until 4am with chicken nuggets or eating leftover kebabs in the morning. Class at its finest I like to think.
Did I live in halls?
No I didn’t live in halls. As I said, I only live a 10 minute drive away for Uni so I commute. But I don’t feel like I missed out on the full University experience because my own memories are amazing.
Was it easy to make friends?
For me it was quite easy to make friends. Having already got a few girls (Jess, Daisy and Lottie) for fresher’s nights, I was so determined to make friends in my course. On my first induction day, the journalism students were split into their chosen topics (broadcast, sport, magazine, etc) so we could get to know each other. I bit the bullet and went and spoken to a guy called Ian who was sat by himself and to this day he still has me bugging him lol.
Top tips for Freshers?
Just get stuck into everything
Don’t say no.
Take every opportunity that comes your way.
DO NOT abandon the library, make it your best friend.
DO NOT leave assignments to the last minute
Start revision straight away; the sooner you get a routine the better
But don’t revise too much, make time for fun.
I hope this has covered everything you need to know about starting University! If you have any other questions do leave me a comment on contact me on any of my social media sites (which are linked in the top right of my website.)
Make sure you do check out Jamie’s Youtube channel and subscribe because she is an incredible girl!