Student Guide: Why it’s important to think before you choose your university course

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I think a lot of seventeen year olds out there feel like they HAVE to go to university. As soon as you’re in year 12 you’re told you have to start filling out UCAS forms, that you need to start spending every weekend travelling up and down the country visiting universities, and that you need to decide what it is that you want to do for the rest of your life. You start to feel really pressured, and you lend up deciding something that you might lend up regretting two years later.

Sometimes that’s how I feel. As many of you know, I’m an undergraduate at the University of Chester and I study BA English Literature and Creative Writing. I chose to study my subject as I’ve always loved to read, ever since my dad read Harry Potter to me when I was a little girl. I spent the majority of my childhood scouring car boot sales for books, persuading my parents to just get me books for Christmas, and spending hours holed up in my bedroom devouring words. Therefore, when it got to the time where I had to decide what I wanted to study, I thought English Literature would be the perfect course for me.

Two years later, I wouldn’t neccessarily agree. Although I do enjoy the majority of my course, I don’t enjoy all of it. Sometimes I feel unmotivated by some of my modules, and I find reading to become tedious. This happened to me so much so in my first year of uni, that I no longer read for pleasure anymore. Luckily my second year modules excited me much more, and I now read ALL the time again. It’s rare you’ll find me going anywhere without a book in hand. My third year modules don’t excite me quite as much, but this year I’m determined that I’m not going to let it get me down.

I think the problem for me Β is that I chose my course too soon. I don’t think I fully read up on what it would entail. Sometimes I sit in my lectures, and find that the majority of my peers seem so much more knowledgeable about English theory than myself. They know about Marxist theories, they’re strong feminists, and they really seem to relate to nineteenth century characters in a way that I just can’t. I do, however, really enjoy my Creative Writing modules. I love writing poetry, I’ve really enjoyed a module I took on an insight into the publishing world, and I’m excited to try out life writing in the upcoming year. I’ve also chosen my dissertation topic, which is to be an indepth discovery into folklore and legends, and their evolution through literature.

I think if I’d have been choosing my university course now, I would go down a different path. I know now that I want a career in marketing, and I think I would have chosen a marketing degree. At the time I was choosing, I really felt that I didn’t get much advice from my tutors at my college. I felt rushed and I felt I had to choose something that I’d studied before. I guess there’s nothing familiar in the unknown.

I think my advice to sixth form students getting ready to choose their university courses in the upcoming months is to find something that you enjoy, but also to look at possible career paths afterwards. Try and speak to people who have done similar degrees. And if you’ve already started your course and you’re already hating it, then think about making a switch. Don’t spend three years doing something that you don’t love.

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Student guide: What to take to university

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I know it’s that time of year where a lot of you out there will be getting ready to move out to university for the first time. As you prepare to go off to university for the first time, it can be a very daunting process. I should know, as that was me just two years ago! You have all of your friends and family trying to convince you that you need everything from a torch to a lifetime’s supply of pegs, but in truth, those are the items that are going to either sit in boxes underneath your bed for the entire year, or they’ll be sat in a corner, taking up what little space there already is in your tiny room.

But don’t worry, I have you covered. Follow this list carefully, and you’ll find moving out for the first time to be a breeze.

The boring (but important!) stuff

– Passport

– Driving licence (or provisional)

– University acceptance, course acceptance letter and details of your accomodation

– National Insurance number

– Passport photos

– Bank details (and bank cards!)

– Student loan details

Technology and electricals

– Laptop and charger

– Phone and charger (possibly take a spare just in case)

– Headphones

– Memory stick

– Hair straighteners

– Plug socket

– Desk lamp

Stationary

– Files

– Notebooks

– Pens

– Pencils

– Planner

– Stapler

– Hole punch

– Desk organiser

Kitchen (applicable even if you’re living in catered halls)

– A recipe book (preferably one with quick and easy meal ideas)

– A supply of food (tins, pasta, crisps and snacks etc)

– Cordial

– A supply of tea and coffee

– Frying pan

– Saucepan

– Cutlery

– Glasses

– Scissors

– Sharp knife

– Mugs

Bedroom

– Bed sheets (and spares)

– Duvet set with pillowcases (and spares)

– Decorations (e.g an ornament, candles, plant, photos)

– Mattress protector

– Clothes horse

– Washing basket

– Clothes hangers

– Door stop

Bathroom

– Towels

– Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen

– Cold remedies

– Shampoo

– Conditioner

– Flip flops (in the case of a shared bathroom)

– Shower gels

– Body lotions

– Tampons (in the case of females)

– Plasters

– A toilet roll

– Hand wash

Other bits and piecesΒ 

– Clothes (post on this to follow)

– Alcohol

– Bottle opener

– Books

– DVDs

– Fancy dress costume

Hopefully this has been helpful to all of you new students out there. Best of luck, and happy moving πŸ™‚