Call it cliché, but the time spent between getting an unconditional offer and actually starting university has flown by. Suddenly, I’m back into the education system after four years away, getting up earlier than I’d like to, and trying to find my way around a campus in Treforest that looks deceptively small, yet is larger than you’d think!
My name is Jack. It’s a pleasure to meet you! I guess you could call me a fresher, although I was probably the most boring fresher you could ever meet. As a mature student, I found most of my time during fresher’s week taken over by work. So, unfortunately for me, I missed many benefits the university had to offer, such as the fresher’s fayre.
I’m twenty-two, and I’m only now starting my degree in university. I left college back in 2013, deciding to embark on a career in media. But after three years of working a job where there was very little progress, and realising I wanted to do something a little different, I decided to head back to education.
I must admit that the idea of coming back to university was a little bit daunting. I couldn’t shake the thought that maybe I’d be the oldest one there, and I’d struggle to make friends in a class full of students who were excited to be living on their own for the first time. I also worried that I would struggle with learning brand new things. I left education back in 2013 because I had got bored of the way education worked, and I wanted to gain work experience. Now, older, with that career experience behind me, I worried if going back would indeed be the right decision.
My first induction day went quite well. I managed to not get lost – a first for me! – and I found myself easily absorbing the information laid out before me. The lecture hall I sat in with a whole load of brand new students made me realise that I was excited to be here, and I couldn’t wait to get started. As touched upon above, I was unable to attend the rest of the induction week, because I had work. So I left university for another week, now impatient to begin my studies and finally meet those who were going to be on my course.
Before starting university, I had joined The University of South Wales Fresher’s group on Facebook, where I could see comments from other students who were about to begin their studies. I had trailed that group daily for people talking about my course, but I couldn’t find anyone, so I really was going in blind to the course, with no knowledge of who I might be with.
Going back to making friends, I was a little bit worried that I would be sat alone, so I made an effort to look approachable and smiled at anyone that looked my way. When your face naturally falls into a moody expression, this can be quite hard, but I made it work! Thankfully, I’ve made friends quite quickly, and they don’t seem to be sick of me yet. So I guess that is a bonus.
What struck me with uni that I overlooked was that everybody on my course was there by choice. I no longer have to worry about those students who just messed around that were a factor in me leaving education in 2013. Everybody on my course seems to be really invested in what we are learning, and that helps my learning, as you feel comfortable in your environment.
Beginning uni has been a great experience. The balance of the teaching on the first year of my course has been exceptionally balanced. Because I have been out of education for a few years, I am doing a foundation year pathway course, before going onto my degree next year, providing I pass this year. The tutors have been fantastic in bearing that in mind, and they haven’t thrown us into the deep end. They’ve got to know us all, told us about our modules, and are slowly easing us in to the world of essays, assessments and projects.
I would stay and chat for longer, but I’ve actually got a history essay to begin! So, I’ll catch you soon!