Side note: Hi folks! So as you know I’ve decided to getting back in to blogging as I’ve neglected it quite a bit since starting university and it’s been something I greatly regret. I don’t usually do these weird introduction things but I just wanted to let you all know I’m back in business and will let you know the schedule of when I’ll be uploading new posts each week etc very soon! Anyway continue on for the first of many new posts regarding uni life!
Choosing the best course and university to suit me has been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to deal with in the last two years. Ever since UCAS was first mentioned I felt the dread build up inside me as I panicked about what to actually do with my life. At 18 I didn’t really feel comfortable mapping my future and making these mammoth decisions but one thing I forgot to remind myself was that it isn’t set in stone.
I made the best decision I could and firmed Norwich University of the Arts as my first choice to study a four year degree course in Fine Art. I was over the moon when I got accepted and my excitement only grew over summer as I collected bits and bobs to get me through university life. Leaving my home in Northern Ireland was difficult however I knew I would be closer to my girlfriend which made it a little less daunting.
As I got over the initial shock of leaving home and fending for myself my mood started to decline and suddenly I realised this is not where I wanted to be. I wasn’t enjoying my course as many things we were initially promised never materialised and I felt the whole university was quite biased in terms of what types of art they consider to be good. I found art students were quite stuck up as a stereotype and considering I was at an art school it was quite hard to escape them. On top of the struggles I faced in my course I had the worlds loudest housemates and often found it very difficult to sleep because of their non-existent bedtimes. Add this to a pot of homesickness and you get a very unhappy student spiralling back in to a deep dark pit of depression and loneliness.
I eventually decided to move and after many tears and tantrums I will now be starting a three year degree course in Fine Art at the University of Chichester, which just so happens to be where my girlfriend attends uni and my best friend!
Making this decision was really hard for me as I felt like I was giving up and also letting people down. Ultimately I just wanted to be happy and I had to do what was right for me. If you’re applying for university this year or next make sure that you know what you’d like to study and what you’re looking for before you start looking at institutions. To help you prepare I’ve written a short list of my top 5 Do’s and Don’ts when applying to university.
- Do not let your parents, teachers, friends etc decide where you should go or what course you should apply for : Their opinions are obviously important and should be taken into consideration but you will be the one moving out. You shouldn’t risk your own happiness for the sake of someone else.
- Always check out the student satisfaction ratings for your chosen university and course: This is something I thought wouldn’t be majorly important but I can now tell you this percentage is gospel. You can find the student satisfaction rating on UCAS or on the university’s website, they usually put it in a large box in the middle of the screen so you can’t miss it.
- Do your research!: Check out everything from the course modules to the types of accommodation to student videos and diaries. If you plan on living somewhere to educate yourself for 3+ years then you need to adopt the mindset of Nancy Drew.
- Do not suffer in silence: If you’re unhappy at your chosen university don’t sit around and think you can get through the next few years there. Get off your bum and do some more research. Transfers do happen people!
- If you don’t feel ready then don’t apply: Last minute jitters are normal but if you’re applying for university and already dreading it or you don’t actually know how to look after yourself yet then don’t be afraid to take a gap year or defer your offer and go and learn how to turn on the washing machine.
Remember, University is going to be a massive change from having your family around every day helping you one step at a time. Be prepared for your own sake so that you can have the best university experience out there and make amazing memories that you’ll look back on for years to come!