advice, university diaries

University Diaries: Backup Plans


Hey guys!

I thought now would be a good time to bring back the University Diaries thing I started back in August/September time, because I know a lot of you are going through the process of applications now. But today I wanted to talk about something slightly different, and that’s about having a backup plan. I never really had a backup plan, in the sense that I didn’t have a plan B if I didn’t get into university (which very nearly happened) and I didn’t have a plan B for what subject I might want to study if I wasn’t able to study English.

If you’ve been following my blog since last summer, you’ll know the struggle I went through with going through the clearance system we have here in the UK, which is for students who didn’t quite get the grades they needed to get into university (which is what happened to me), so they have another chance to get into another university which accepts you with the grades you have. It’s more complicated than that and you have to call them all up and it’s very stressful, but I guess I should be glad that it exists otherwise I would not be where I am now. Clearance is also there for those students who get higher grades than they anticipated, and they can apply to a university which accepts higher grade boundaries.

In my family, university was something that was always pushed for. Both my parents went to university, and from a young age I was told that it would be the best thing I would ever do, or instead of “if you go to university” it was “when you go…” so I always just assumed that university was a must do. It was only when I was about 14 at school when they were talking about apprenticeships when I actually realized that university wasn’t the only option out there, but by this stage I already had my mind set on going.

My two initial choices for university were Birmingham and Belfast. I thought that if I didn’t get into one, I’d get into the other, so at this time last year, Belfast was my backup plan. But I didn’t have a backup for my backup. I didn’t think I’d need to go through clearance, and I didn’t think that some universities might not have spaces on the course I wanted to do. At the time, I wanted to study a joint honours degree of English Literature with Drama, because English was always my favourite subject, and acting was a passion I’d had since I was 13. It was only when I called up Winchester in August, where I’m studying now, and they asked me what I wanted to study, when I changed my mind.

No one really ever told me that changing my mind would be okay.

I’d looked online, and saw that one of the courses was English with American Literature, and by this stage, I didn’t really want to study drama anymore. I wanted to continue it as a hobby, but that was it. So I made the choice to stick with English.

I guess the point of this post is to keep in mind that anything can happen, and you really need to keep your options open. Ask yourself questions; “What would happen if this happened?” On open days, ask current students about what they went through. Or, if you have any questions for me, feel free to leave a comment below! At the end of the day, it’s all for your benefit.

-The Storyteller

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