The Beginning… September 2016

My gap year has so far entailed traipsing around the country looking at universities, something I thought I would never have to do ever again. I had been so prepared for university this year (logistically not mentally) that it seems weird to be back on the other side. I got so far, I got my accommodation at UEA and even a potato peeler, but now I’m back to booking open days. I’m confused.

My initial thoughts, when having to get up at 6am to get the train at 7am, were: I really don’t want to do this all over again. But, when I actually got to the open day, I realised that it didn’t feel like a repeat of last year. I feel entirely different. And, looking around universities that are so close to home feels so much less daunting, which makes me want to go and helped me realise that where I was going isn’t right for me.

Last year, when choosing the five universities to apply to, I got carried away with wanting to go ‘down south’. I wanted a completely new school, new start, new everything. But throwing myself out of my comfort zone so much actually knocked my confidence and made me into somebody that I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to give the first impression of being timid and lacking in confidence, which is what I turned into, when I know that when I’m happy, I am the opposite of that. I have realised that there is all the time in the world to go ‘down south’. Going to university is out of everybody’s comfort zone anyway. Not many people have lived away from home until this point. Having realised all of these things and having got away from a school that perhaps pushed too hard in certain directions, I have been able to stop resisting the pressures of that environment and actually think about what I want. Maybe I do want to go to a gorgeous, old, traditional university now that I actually think about it and am not being told what I should want.

So, now, I am actually quite excited about looking around universities again and seeing new cities and being inspired to learn again. I am so glad to be taking this breather because, although it might sound clichéd, I’m learning who I am and how to make a decision based on what I want. Everybody hits this at a different age. Some people know who they are from a young age. I think I did know who I was when I was younger but I lost track of it along the way. So now I have the time to rediscover myself – I know, complete cliché!

Visited Universities:

  • Lancaster University

Universities to Visit:

  • Leeds University
  • Newcastle University
  • York University
  • Durham University

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