University – first impressions

My first feelings towards starting university were of curiosity, excitement and apprehension. I’d been to MediaCityUK – where the university has a campus and loved it. The architecture was amazing, the facilities the university had were of industry standard I had to go.

I won’t bore you with what ‘enrolling’ – registering – at the university was like (I stood in a queue for an hour whilst I waited for an ID card.)

So, my first day. I got to the lecture hall around half-an-hour before it actually started – I’d set off very early in case I got lost.- I sat there for three hours whilst the lecturer introduced herself, and the course; then after, I left. I didn’t speak to anyone, I didn’t know anyone, I’d expected my first few days to be like this, so I wasn’t too bothered.

It was about two weeks in when it started to take it’s toll. Living at home wasn’t doing me any good in terms of meeting people, I went to the lectures and I came home, ‘university life’ wasn’t what I expected it to be. I was lonely and I felt conned, all the things I’d been told about uni from students and talks that my sixth form had were wrong, why had they never told us it doesn’t always work out?

I’m not the only student that’s been through this struggle either, at some universities the number of students seeking help for depression has more than doubled (as of 2013) . Thoughts about leaving or ‘dropping out’ were ever-present, I didn’t have anything lined up though, so I’d still be in debt; albeit not as much as I would if I complete the three year course; but I wouldn’t have anything to show for the debt.

I decided to stick it out, and things started to look up after the Christmas break I threw caution to the wind and became more confident in myself, I realised that everyone’s in a similar position, we’re all surrounded by strangers. I now feel as though I’ve made some valuable friends, and even if I didn’t start out enjoying university not quitting was worth it.

One thing at uni that’s always lingering is the work. Not necessarily the amount of work, but how challenging it is. At sixth-form I felt like my hand was held throughout my A-Levels, despite the school marketing sixth-form as a more adult learning environment I was still treated the same as I was during my GCSE’s. The step up from A-Levels to university was huge, it took me a while to adjust to the work, but I feel like I’ve got there now, I also feel like university has helped develop my skills as a writer (hopefully)

Going to university was a big decision for me and at first it didn’t seem like the best of ideas to go. I’ve now warmed to the idea, and believe that no matter how much of a wrong choice it may seem at the time, the final outcome could be so much better than you think.



Part-time jobs – my experience.


© Copyright Carl Farnell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Part of being a student is being poor, yet still finding the money to go out and get too drunk to care whether you can eat for the next week or not. One of the perks of being a university student that lives at home is being able to keep my job, and save my maintenance grant. – One of the shortfalls of this however is the fact that my ‘room mates’ are my parents.
Like 57% of the nation’s students (accurate as of 2013) I’m employed. I work at my local Tesco, on the checkouts the job is very mundane, however unlike the burger flippers of MacDonalds, or Subway’s ‘sandwich artists’ the pay is good (£7.28 per hour) and there are perks of the mindless scanning of bar-codes, one of which is my 10% percent discount, which is vital when it comes to the social occasion of  ‘pre-drinking’.  Working for Tesco isn’t much fun though, as previously mentioned the job is very mundane and due to their fierce competitors Tesco are very professional, about everything. The customer comes first, even when they’re wrong or being a prat.

I only work seven-and-a-half hours a week (two 3 hour forty-five minute shifts) but these can be the longest hours of any week. My shifts are on a Friday night, and a Sunday afternoon. The Friday night shift can be awfully painful, when my friends are out getting drunk I’m scanning someone’s cabbage, I finish at 10 pm though, which means I’m able to go out after and try my best to catch up with my already intoxicated friends. My Sunday shift is sometimes also a struggle, as it’s likely that I’m hungover or even worse I’m still a bit drunk from the night before. I often feel as though I’m undervalued by Tesco, due to me being younger it feels as though my opinion isn’t as highly valued as my more experienced colleagues. This doesn’t really get to me though, because unlike a lot of people who work for the company I don’t intend working behind a checkout for too long; although saying that in the current economic climate a job’s a job. I often think, when I’m sat there bored out of my mind, that there’s a fair chance I’ll end up with a job I hate, so I may as well get used to it.


University – the best three years of your life? My experience – an introduction.

It seems to be popular belief that uni is the best time of your life, but is it?

Meeting new people and damaging your liver with too much alcohol are just a couple of things that are encompassed in ‘uni life’ however, it’s not all its cracked up to be for some people, me being one of them.
During the course of these posts I’ll explain: what made me start uni, what the work’s like, what meeting new people is like and more, probably.

I’d better get started then.

A bit of a background
I’m currently studying journalism at the University of Salford, and to me, the idea of university being the time of my life is almost completely bollocks. The sixth form I attended, really tried to sell it to me, talks from people who’d had the time of their life during university were put on to tempt the students in to progressing on to the next level of education; another factor was their was no help when it came to other choices. The Gap Yah (gap year) was the only alternative mentioned, however that didn’t appeal to me. In a way I felt pushed in to going to university, although I have a few friends at college and one currently doing an apprenticeship they were still forced into applying for uni but chose not to go. In a way I admire my friends for not taking the easy way out and going to uni, I also envy them in some ways too.

MediaCity© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

So, why did I go to uni?
There are a number of factors which determined why I decided to start university, including the aforementioned pressure and attraction passed on to me by my sixth form. One of them was the fact I’d applied; I’d paid the thirty or so quid to apply through UCAS (paying that didn’t make it any less of a hassle either, by the way.) I’d been to the open days, and they made uni seem really appealing – it’s an open day, that’s what they’re meant to do. – I’d been to the interviews too, I’d taken time off school to go to them; so not going felt a bit like I’d wasted my time. My brother was also applying at the same time – it took him a while to figure out what he wanted to do, but he felt sure uni was right for him, so I thought it must be right for me. – A further factor was I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I’d always wanted to be a journalist though and university stopped me from having try to find to a job for another three years, so why not?

I’d dived in at the deep end, and there it was, I’d got my student loan and everything was set. I was going to university.