[Sarah Bennett | Media and Societies Coordinator]
I know over the next few days people will be finding out their A Level results. This means they’ll find out which university they are going to, where they’ll be living, and what exactly they’ll be studying. But I also know that not everyone will get what they expect. Hopefully my story can give a little perspective to those who are worried.
I found out which university I was going to before I’d even received my results, because UCAS Tracking updated before I went to college to collect them. I hadn’t gotten my first choice, but had been accepted by my second. It’d be fair to say at that moment in time I wasn’t happy! I didn’t know what my grades were but I’d screwed up; I was so annoyed with myself I almost threw my laptop at my boyfriend (I didn’t, don’t worry!).
I eventually calmed down, got my results and found my own perspective. Thousands of people got their results that day and not everyone would even be accepted – at least I’d gotten into university. However I still needed to find somewhere to live, since I’d been all set to go to my first choice.
Assuming halls would still have places, I signed up and put down my deposit. Had I read the Facebook pages I was on, I would’ve found out that halls was already full. Crap! So I start ringing round to some landlords advertised on Studentpad, a list of landlords that had been approved near my campus. I was too late, all rooms had been taken.
College Lane Campus Accommodation
What was I going to do?! I couldn’t commute every day. Studentpad’s forum for people who had rooms available or who were looking for rooms was my last resort.
I emailed everyone on there about wanting a room, and only one person rang me back. I organised to see the room the next day and my Dad drove me down there. It was a small single bedroom, in a 5 bedroom town house. It was very nice and as I’d not heard from anyone else I accepted on the grounds that I would need somewhere and time was running out.
On the day I moved in I didn’t know anyone except for the girl who’d shown me the room. That morning I said goodbye to my boyfriend; we’d agreed to separate as we weren’t sure if long distance would work. Then I drove to my new home with a car full of stuff (and Mum driving behind, with a whole other load). Mum helped me unpack for a little while, but obviously had to head back home eventually. None of the other girls had moved in, I’d heard they were 2nd years and didn’t start until the week after me.
So when Mum had gone, there was just me sitting in this big empty house by myself. If I’m honest I wanted to get back in the car and drive back home and commute. I didn’t want to be alone! I didn’t want to live with a load of strangers I’d never met!
A couple hours passed and then I heard keys at the front door. There I was greeted by Kara, who turned out to be a first year like me! She’d actually moved in a few days before but had gone back home for the weekend. We spent the whole evening getting to know each other and chatting about the Freshers’ events we’d heard of. I felt so much better.
I’d arrived two days before my induction, so when I woke up the next morning I felt low, sitting around the house all day doing nothing. But when Kara came back we spent another evening getting to know each other.
The next day, I was on my way back to the house after my induction and bumped into Kara so we went back together. When we got there the TV was on and we could hear someone. It was another housemate, Nikki.
Again, we spent the whole night chatting and getting to know each other and planned to head to our first Freshers’ event the School Disco which was on the next day. The event was amazing – we got a little lost trying to find the venue on campus so walking round the town in school uniform wasn’t the best but we found some 3rd years who showed us the way and we got our first glimpse of the university party life. The party was packed out!
Me and my housemates at the School Disco
By the end of the week, 4 out of 5 of us had moved in. We went and checked out the Freshers’ fair together and even went to the student radio event that evening. By the end of that week, I was still missing home, my boyfriend, my family and friends. But I was making new friends and really enjoying myself at the same time.
Four years on, I’ve earned my degree and still live away from home. I was an elected officer for my uni’s Students’ Union, where one of my jobs involves running the student media, including the radio station – something I’d never have dreamed I could do back in that first week! Had I just got back in my car and driven home to become a commuter, I would’ve missed out on so many experiences.