This week I thought it would be good to write about how I came to be here at UEA. I came to an open day a couple of years ago, and the most vivid thing I can remember is walking down chancellors drive (what I know it to be now) thinking ‘how am I ever going to find my way around this place?’. I was already envisioning myself here before I’d even applied! I fell in love with the busy atmosphere. Everywhere you go on campus there is always someone milling around, and it was a very different experience to college. It felt a lot more independent and mature, and the people I met were always smiling and very welcoming.
After I applied through UCAS, my college took us to a UCAS fair at the University of Essex. UCAS fairs have representatives from hundreds of Uni’s all in one place. I must admit I was always quite shy at these things so didn’t really ask as many questions as I should have. I’d advise to grab prospectuses from as many Uni’s that catch your fancy. If you feel confident enough, ask them about specific things such as their accommodation etc. However, remember these people have a job to promote their University. When you get back, read over the prospectuses, pick a few favourites, and research them more online. Get a feel for their rankings on websites such as Uni Stats – where you can compare courses at different university’s, and also courses at the same university. Pick some university’s with higher grade requirements to have something to aim for, and some with low as an insurance. Talk to people you may know who have gone onto university, see if you can find someone who attends one you are looking into. Although keep in mind the only real way to know how much you like a university is to attend an open day.
The second time I visited UEA was for my interview for the course I am currently studying. It was a very different experience to the first as I felt so nervous, so wasn’t really taking notice of my surroundings like before. It’d been a while since my first visit so I couldn’t really remember much about the university anyway, but both my mum and dad were invited to come along with me so I was glad they had the opportunity to see UEA. Once the interview was over, I got to have a tour of the campus and see some of the accommodation, so it was like a half open day. It just reaffirmed my love for the place. Another great thing about bringing parents/carers is that they tend to ask the questions you may not think of, like where the launderette is, and supermarkets. These things probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind, so I’d definitely advise bringing someone that can help you think of the important things. If no one can attend, maybe get a list of things before you go of things that you need to know. Make sure you speak to some current students as well (there will be plenty of opportunity to do this), find out what it is they’re enjoying about studying there, and also what they’re not! See if they have any advise on certain things you’re worried about (or ask me 😉 ) and then you should be in the right position to make your decision.
Just to finish off, to keep you updated on university life, I give you a couple of pictures I got from last Tuesday at the LCR. It was harry potter night and a lot of my flatmates and course-mates were out as a lot of us had the Wednesday off. There were photos with the sorting hat that told us what house we were in (gryffindor for me!) and also group photos against a green screen – shown below. There was also a very cheesy mini game of quidich, where you had to throw a ping pong ball through a very badly made wire hoop and land it in a cup full of sweets to win them. There was some competitions for best dressed, but I didn’t get to see the winners, although there were some fantastic costumes in the place. The LCR offer fancy dress nights every Tuesday, and they are definitely something I’d recommend going to at least once! I think it’s the walking dead in a couple of weeks…