Guess what? It’s another university post! (Yay!) So, if you’ve been following my blog for the past couple of years, you’ll know that I struggled a lot during my A-levels, particularly in year 13 and I was just absolutely stressed out all the time- I didn’t realise how unhappy I was at the time, but looking back on it now, I wasn’t in the best place.
I studied Media, French and English Lit for my A-levels, and I don’t regret taking them at all, but English and French were the subjects I struggled with the most and I couldn’t see how I was going to pass and get into uni, which was the only thing I wanted. I passed my A-levels with an A in Media, an A in Extended Project (which was compulsory), a C in English Lit and a D in French, which weren’t the grades I wanted (or needed) to get into my first choices of universities, but I still passed and I was happy enough with that. Eventually I got into the university I’m in now, through a system called Clearance, and I’m so glad I chose Winchester because I’m the happiest I’ve been in a few years.
Context out of the way, let’s get into why I prefer university to school. I went to a sixth form, which was part of my high school, so I already knew all of my teachers which was both good and bad. Some of the teachers I hadn’t actually had before, but I knew who they were and I got along with all my teachers. I was always one who wanted a good relationship with my teachers because it made it easier in my mind to talk to them about work and stuff- but I definitely didn’t use this to my advantage as much as I should have.
I remember in English in particular, I was always being told to improve my essays by structuring better or by doing this or that better, but it was only when I came to university that I realised why I was doing certain things wrong in my essays. I think my lecturers have a more blunt way of writing feedback, but it’s not a negative thing. They say what you’re not doing and expect you to improve it for next time, so now I’m getting relatively good grades in my essays, and that has been a big boost in confidence. I have never hated writing essays, even in school, but in school I didn’t know why my grades weren’t getting better because I felt like my teachers were kind of skirting around the point.
The other thing I prefer about university is my social life. When I was at school, if I wasn’t at swimming I was lonely. I was so lonely. Again, I didn’t realise this at the time, but as I got further and further through school, I felt more and more disassociated and less attached to my friendship group, no matter how hard I tried to fit in, and go out with them. I felt like I wasn’t wanted, or they would just let me join in because we’d been friends for ages. I know that people grow apart, but I didn’t think that it would happen to me during school, and what made it worse was that I didn’t really have anyone else to go to.
This is where I start saying how amazing university is- I know that everyone is different, and not everyone loves uni as much as I do, but this is purely written from my own experiences so far. I think that because everyone is in the same boat when you arrive at uni, in a way it’s easier to make friends because you’re literally forced into these situations. You meet so many people in the first few months, and even now I’m still meeting people and making new friendships. I feel so much more confident in myself and my communication with people I don’t know so well since being at uni, and I have found that I care less about what people think of me.
Uni is definitely something that you need to put in what you want to get out- both academically and socially. I’m over halfway through my second year- not including our April holidays, I have 9 weeks left of this year. I only really started making the use out of my lecturers at the start of this year, because I did feel quite intimidated by them as a fresher, but by emailing them and organising tutorials, I definitely think my work has improved and I have become more confident in myself, and that was something I was really lacking towards the end of high school. I had very little self confidence and I would get myself down about every little thing.
I know that I’m going to be sad when I eventually leave university, but I know that I have picked up so many skills that I can transfer to other, bigger, better things in the next few years. If I look back on 17 year old me, I would never consider running for something like a leader of a society at uni, or even running for one of the Student Union Executive positions- I would just never in my wildest dreams think that something like that would ever happen to me, but now I’m actually considering it, and I’m getting more and more excited for my final year! I’m simultaneously terrified because I’ll have my dissertation to do, but I want to make the most out of it while I still can. And that’s why I prefer uni to school- because I have made the most out of it.