Hi everyone! Today I thought I would talk a little bit about University and what my experience was like. This post is inspired my current read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman where a certain quote stood out to me in the first couple of chapters;
- “Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to University.”
This quote really stuck out to me because I feel it represents me perfectly. All I have ever wanted was to go to University, even when my mental health was suffering with the stress of pushing myself too far at Sixth Form, that didn’t matter as long as I got A’s and A*’s and got into a good University. But I realised that good grades and a good University aren’t everything when you are unhappy.
From September 2014 – June 2016, I attended my school’s Sixth Form. My AS subjects were English Literature, Sociology, Psychology, French and Citizenship (which was a required subject). For the most part I enjoyed these subjects, however French became rather difficult around February time and I gave up revising for it in order to focus on my other subjects. I sat my 8 exams in May 2015 and received 2 A’s in Sociology and Psychology, 2 B’s in English Literature and Citizenship, and a D in French (which was honestly much better than I was expecting!) As such, I dropped French and went into my second year of Sixth Form with the other four subjects.
I much preferred Year 13 to Year 12 – I thought the subject content was a lot more interesting and already having done half of my overall A Level (I know that this has now changed and your AS grades no longer count towards your overall grade), I was content to sit back and relax a bit more. I applied for University in October and received Conditional Offers from my 5 choices by the end of March. My 5 choices were Chester studying English Literature (I didn’t even bother looking round here, school just wanted me to have a low grade back up), Edge Hill studying English, Liverpool studying English, Lancaster studying English Literature and Loughborough studying Publishing and English. I hopped over to UCAS and firmed Loughborough, making Edge Hill my Insurance Choice. I needed AAB or ABB (if I received the latter, the A had to be in English) to get into Loughborough and if I remember rightly, BBC to get into Edge Hill.
I sat my 7 exams in June and barely slept until Results Day in August. I woke up around 7:30, checked UCAS at 8 and saw that I had gotten into Loughborough and at 9 I received my results and was faced with utter disappointment. Whilst I was ecstatic to have gotten into, what I thought was, my “Dream Uni”, I was gutted with my results because I am such a perfectionist. The goal I had set myself was 2 A*’s in Sociology and Psychology and 2 A’s in English Lit and Citizenship but what I actually got was an A* in Citizenship, 2 A’s in Sociology and Psychology and a B in English Lit. I was expecting a B in English because my exam had gone horrifically, to the point where I contemplated just walking out, but I was so unbelievably gutted to have only gotten an A in Sociology which had been my best subject all year. I spent a few weeks moping and then got myself ready to head 2 and a half hours away from home to Loughborough University.
I sobbed. The day I moved in and it was time for my parents to leave, I sobbed. I remember repeating “I’m not going to fit in here, I know I’m not going to like it” and my mum thought I was being utterly ridiculous but it turns out I was right! I hated my time at Loughborough. I never felt settled, I hated living away from home and in halls and I hadn’t really found some true friends. I liked the girls on my course, there were only 13 of us so we got to know each other pretty well but I wouldn’t have called any of them my best friends. I enjoyed my course – I received 2 2:1’s in my first two assignments which I was really happy with but the course wasn’t enough to keep me there when I was so miserable. After Christmas, I went back to Uni for two weeks to finish the Semester and then I came home for 3 weeks because my course didn’t have exams so whilst the rest of Uni was sitting those, we were free to do what we pleased. As the 3 weeks ended, I knew that I didn’t want to go back. I was barely sleeping, eating and I was crying all the time and in the end my mum said “just don’t go back.” So I didn’t (well except to clear up my room and hand my keys back). Leaving Uni when I did left me in £8000 worth of debt that I had to start paying back immediately but the relief of knowing I didn’t have to go back outweighed my money problems. I got a part time job and applied for University again for September 2017.
I knew when applying the second time that I didn’t want to live away from home which narrowed my options down to Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, Salford and Huddersfield. Salford and Huddersfield were quickly ruled out as they would take the longest to get to travelling from home and thus were impractical. Manchester was then ruled about because I only got a B in English and I needed 3 A’s to get in so Manchester Metropolitan became my only option. I applied for English and English / Sociology, receiving Unconditional Offers for both (because I already had my exam grades) and I firmed English / Sociology because I loved Sociology at school and thought I might continue with it. Flash forward a couple of months and I had changed my mind and so swapped my course to English which is what I am going to be studying when I begin attending in a few weeks.
I don’t know what to expect from Manchester Metropolitan. And honestly, I am still a bit embarrassed to say that’s where I am going. This may sound incredibly snobby but when you are such a high achiever like myself, consistently getting A’s and A*’s and someone who was put forward as a potential Oxbridge student, Manchester Metropolitan felt like settling. I’d exceeded the grade requirements to get in and there is stigma around Uni’s that aren’t Russell Group or who have Metropolitan, or Becket, or Hallam after their name that makes people think of them as not good Uni’s. But I know now that this is not the case. Manchester Metropolitan is a much better fit for me than Manchester would have been. I do not know yet whether it will be a better fit for me academically than Loughborough was but I know that it is much better place for my mental health and for me to grow as a person.
I sincerely hope that I enjoy my time there as getting a degree is something I have always wanted. But I realised that it doesn’t matter where I get that degree from, so long as I get one and am happy in the process.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this post and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or tweet me @chloelovesbooks.
I also really hope I didn’t offend anyone with my comments on Manchester Metropolitan – those are just some thoughts that have plagued me and I know that I only believe them due to my own ignorance (and also school’s insistence on shoving Russell Group Uni’s down our throats and not discussing other options!)