As the summer months pass many of you will be preparing yourself for university. At this time of year the topic of university attracts many questions and curiosities ; this post is me trying to answer some of them for you.
The first question you may face is whether university is right for you. I know from my own experience, young people get a lot of pressure from their college and even parents and friends to go to university. It has become the norm and personal preference is often forgotten. Questions are usually ‘what university are you looking at?’ and ‘what course are you hoping to do?’ rather than ‘do you want to go to university?’ Due to this young people often hurry to decide on their course and university instead of asking themselves whether it is really what they want. It’s very easy to get taken by the tide of those around you but it’s okay to separate from that wave and become your own.
Do you want to go to university? Ask yourself this question. There are many options today; apprenticeships, paid full-time employment and many more, it’s all down to you! It’s okay not to go with the tide of prospective university students.
If you do decide university is right for you and you have a passion for your subject, then the next question is where? There are a few elements which can help you decide this:
- League tables. What university really excels in your course?
- Distance. How far away from home do you want to be? Some people live at home whilst at university whereas many also like to move away.
- Open days. Open days are a fantastic way to get a small taste of different universities and discover the gut feeling that says this is the one. When I attended the Cardiff University open day and saw its Social Science department, the blossoming trees around the university buildings and its homely city centre I instantly knew it was right for me.
Now, let’s fast forward until now as the summer months lead up to the A Level results day (blog post on this coming soon!) and your first day at university. From working at open days I have had many conversations concerning anxieties surrounding meeting new people and moving to a new place so here are my top tips to combat these!
- Doorstop. ‘What Emma?’ I hear you say. It may sound a little silly and even obvious but as insignificant a doorstop may seem it can become an essential tool in the art of meeting new people and making friends. When you go to university you are often put into a house or halls of residence with people you have never met. Just propping your door open says to your flatmates ‘hey, come and chat to me’. As your flatmates walk past your room they can easily say hello and before you know it you are having a good olde chinwag.
- This brings me onto the next tip. People often move away from home and find themselves in a city that is completely new to them. Exploring the city and the university campus is exciting, so get out there and take your flatmates with you to break the ice!
- Lectures are a great way to meet new people. Walking into my first lecture almost two years ago a pattern of student, gap, student, gap, student, gap was clear – why not break this pattern? Sit next to someone and start chatting to them. It can be scary especially if you aren’t used to approaching people but they are most likely hoping, like yourself, to meet new people. After all, you are all in the same boat!