• Cerys Taylor

My First Year at University

I’ve recently started my 2nd year at Birmingham City University studying psychology. If you want to check out my everyday uni essentials you can check out my last post here! I thought, since I’m starting my 2nd year, I should reminisce on my 1st year a little bit.

I applied for BCU through UCAS while I was still at sixth form, but I ended up not choosing it as either of my top choices. However, when it finally came to results day I had changed my mind about where I wanted to study. I had been firmly accepted to the University of Derby, but I desperately wanted to be in Birmingham. After phoning clearing, they agreed to enrol me at BCU as soon as I had sorted things out with Derby uni, and they did. That day was super stressful for me; sixth form had been the worst 2 years of my life so far and I didn’t get the grades that I wanted to because of it. Getting my enrolment email to uni would mark the end of it for me officially, so it was incredibly important to me. That afternoon, after a few tears and several hours waiting for emails and phone calls, I got my enrolment email and I felt like a huge weight had just lifted. I was elated and celebrated that night with alcohol and a foam party.

In the weeks between then and starting my course I joined an app called Campus Society where I met quite a few people on the same course as me. A group of us added each other on snapchat and became good friends very quickly. When it came to freshers, we all met up to walk to the campus together and compared timetables and hung out all week. I’m so happy to have met those people, they changed my first week from what could’ve been a lonely, anxiety filled week trying to find rooms on my own and talk to brand new people all by myself, but they made my week fun and comfortable and I didn’t have one bit of anxiety. If I hadn’t have met them, I don’t think I’d enjoy uni half as much as I do!

Throughout my first semester I had all my lectures and seminars with the same group of people. I’m SUPER happy that I got put into the group that I did, honestly, everyone was so friendly! (I mean, they still are of course, but we’re not in that same small group anymore). I heard from lecturers and other students that our group was by far the most chatty and engaging, and I really think those people helped push me out of my shell. I used to be that person who wouldn’t go ask the person at the till for extra ketchup and just eat my fries without it – even though I wanted ketchup – and now I speak to people I don’t know and sit next to people I don’t know in lectures without a second thought. The first presentation I had to do had my voice shaking and I messed up a few times, but people were so supportive and kind about my “performance” -idk- and it instantly made me feel more at ease. I know if they hadn’t have said anything I would’ve spent the rest of the day replaying my mistakes over in my head and making myself feel worse. I’d like to thank these people for making my first year so lovely (you know who you are!)

I have found that being a commuting student rather than living on campus has its upsides and its downsides. It’s much cheaper living at home and travelling in. I don’t have to pay any bills or rent, and I get a good amount of my food from my parents (although I do buy a lot of my own food being out a lot). I also get to see my family every day and I don’t have to get annoyed at any flatmates for being messy. I also get to keep a fair amount of my student loan and spend it on other things. This year I used it to help fund passing my driving test and buying and insuring my car. This is going to help me get to and from the train station a lot easier, and also basically the whole rest of my life too. Having said all of this, because I don’t live in the immediate area I didn’t do much for freshers, and I didn’t go out out with my uni friends a lot either last year. Going out out would mean booking a hotel to stay overnight, which can make a night out very pricey! This gives me FOMO sometimes, and I feel as though I might be closer to more people if I were able to be more social like this. Hopefully, with more people moving out this year I’ll be getting a lot more social! Another downside is having to get two (almost) hour long trains every day I’m in uni, especially at peak times. If I’m not at the platform a good time before the train arrives there’s a huge chance I won’t get a seat - and that’s if the trains aren’t cancelled! Anyone who gets regular trains will know that trains in the UK are not exactly the most reliable forms of transport. I could drive in, but that means driving up the M6 so, not yet thanks.

As far as grades went, my first year ended up in me scraping a 1st, which I was so proud of – its just a shame none of that counts towards my degree! All I can do now is work my butt off and hope that I can do the same for the next two years.

This year is shaping up to be just as great. I thank my lucky stars that I decided to swap to BCU! Birmingham is my favourite city in the UK, the variety of people you see every day is so cool. Being so into big statement pieces within my personal style, I feel very at ease, hardly anyone really bats an eye and if they do a compliment usually follows.

I feel very at home at BCU.


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