Instead of my usual style of post, I've had a few people approach me and ask for any tips about University - whether it be choosing the Uni, where to live or what course to do. I've had a whole mix of experiences in University, from changing courses last minute to living situations. So without further ado, grab your cups of tea, because this will be a long and rambly one for sure.

PART ONE: GETTING TO UNI.

I always imagined myself following my big sister's footsteps and studying Law at University - therefore, when asked to make UCAS choices, I began researching the best Uni's to study Law at (without having to take the LNAT test, which I quickly determined I was far too lazy to take). 

My first top tip for beginning the UCAS process is to research and realistically find the Uni's you want to apply to, visit all the open days and bear in mind that your opinion might, and probably will, change as you complete Year 13.

So there I was, I'd picked 4 Universities - Exeter, Southampton, Warwick, Sussex and then for my 'insurance choice'. My parents (who I have since realised know me better than I thought) urged me to put Cardiff down, despite me insisting that I could not wait to move away from home. So I gave in, and my fifth choice became Cardiff Uni.

As Year 13 begun, the thought of moving away to University became a more realistic thought, and as my anxiety grew, I soon realised that I may not be cut out for living it alone in London. EVERYONE is different, and it may be that living alone in a big city is completely for you, however, it was certainly not for me at this time. I made a realistic choice to 'firm' Cardiff University - I would be far enough from home to be independent, but close enough to enjoy home comforts.

Needless to say, a year of hard work followed until it was finally approaching results day..

As results day drew closer, I began questioning, was Law what I really wanted to do? I knew in my heart it wasn't, and maybe it was just all the Suits episodes I'd been watching and admiring my ever so successful big sis. 

I cannot stress enough that if you feel you are applying to, or even doing, the wrong course for you, you should reconsider your options and look at the options which your University, and even other University's offer. 

So, despite being so late in the day, I wrote copious lists of other courses I was interested in.. Maths? English? Geography? Business? Business Management in Cardiff University seemed to entail a bit of everything.. Maths in the form of Accounting and Economics, English in the form of the essay modules. So, a week prior to Results Day, with the help of my mum, we spent hours calling Cardiff University and it was agreed that subject to my A-Level grades, I could swap course onto Business Management! Woop! 

I exceeded the grades I needed and I was accepted.. s*** it's really happening.

In the build up to beginning Uni, I needed to decide where to live. Living so close to the Uni, I could see the benefits of living at home, but I wanted all the freedom and independence I'd heard so much about. I'm not the biggest party animal, and not the biggest drinker, so I didn't think I'd 'fit in' in regular student accommodation, and therefore, I began looking at other options.. private accommodation. It was like a whole new world I never knew about. It was perfect. And so in September, I moved to Cardiff.

For no reason other than I was going home every week anyway, I decided to move back home after 7 months of living in Cardiff - and it didn't change anything for me, socially or academically.

Everyone is different, and what has worked out perfectly for me, may be your idea of hell, and vice-versa. Living away and living at home has given me the confidence to potentially move away again for second year, or to live at home and be equally as happy.

PART TWO: BEING IN UNI.

Studying at University did not take as much getting used to as I'd anticipated, you soon find yourself in a routine which is almost a replication of sixth form. However, in other ways it could not be more different.

Similarly, you have lessons and you have free periods.. you will have a lot more free periods than you are used to. Lectures are the big event, in my case, 350 people listening to one lecturer and a powerpoint presentation. Tutorials are more like school lessons, a much smaller group of 10-20, working through the lecture topics more in depth. 

My typical day in Uni would be a lecture 9-11 (all lectures are two hours long) and then a tutorial later in the day for an hour.. and that was it.

However, there were two things I found harder to adapt to.

1. You are one person in hundreds of people. Unlike our very small school, where you have a lot of a teachers attention, in University you are a small fish in a very big pond and therefore one-on-one time with a lecturer is harder to get.

2. You can miss lectures, you can sit on your phone playing Crossy Road for two hours, and no one is going to say anything. Sounds perfect doesn't it? Until you're revising for exams and realise you made no notes for the more 'boring' of your modules.


Something I learnt is that, if you are struggling with a module or feel you aren't on top of your work, email your lecturer and, more often than not, they will be able to fit you in and sit down with you to discuss your problems and help you get back on track. Lecturers aren't going to come to you, you have to go to them.

You will have some lecturers who are better than others, and some who will simply read off powerpoint presentations - and in the event of this, make use of the lecturers who always have time for you, and get the most out of them. And the modules with the not-so-great lecturers, make sure you buy the textbooks they have recommended, and spend the time to learn it yourself. Also, you-tube videos and tutorials will become your new best friend.

For whoever has read this far down, congrats! However, it is time to draw this to a close. If there is anything else, big or small, you'd like to know about my experiences through first year, please contact me on social media or my email address and I'd be more than happy to answer anything you'd like. 

I've had an incredible first year at Cardiff, and made incredible friends - who knows what second year will hold!

xxx

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