University throwbacks

Timehop is getting way too smart at reminding me that every year I’m getting further away from being a teenager and a student. Over the past few weeks I’ve been hounded with old posts that show how it’s been three years since I finished university and at this point I was eagerly awaiting to find out if I had actually managed to pass or not.

I’ve spoken quite a bit on my blog about life post-uni, but what about during it?

In September 2011 I carted myself off to the University of Chester and began to study English with Theology and Religious Studies. I get asked all the time why I decided to do this, but at 17 with a UCAS form it’s quite hard to decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life so I just went with what I was good at and most importantly, what I enjoyed.

Living standards

If you’ve ever moved away for uni it’s a bit daunting but I was landed with four lovely housemates and a uni house which was thankfully didn’t live up to the stereotypical mouldy, cupboards-hanging-off type of house. Happy days! I just now had to budget my student loan to make sure I could pay the rent.

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The course

At uni I found myself weighed down quite a lot with reading. I wonder how that happened considering I chose two arts subjects? I feel though that I really had to learn to balance my time effectively to make sure I wasn’t favouring one subject over the other. By the time final year came I was majoring English and along with that came the lovely dissertation. I absolutely loved my English degree as I feel I wouldn’t have developed my writing skills without it. In second year I focused on Romanticism, and in my third year I studied Crime Fiction and Language and Gender, where I discovered some of my now favourite texts.

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When people asked me what I studied in Theology and Religious Studies I still revel in the fact that I managed to write an essay about Jay-Z and Kanye West (which I briefly mentioned here). Spirituality and Popular Culture was undoubtedly my most favourite thing I ever studied, particularly the focus on religious themes within music and the media. I felt really sorry for people studying boring degrees.

At the University of Chester you also get the opportunity to gain some work experience in your second year through ‘Work Based Learning.’ My placement saw me join the Careers and Employability team, where I got to create an e-Newsletter. This role is undoubtedly where I discovered that a creative job was something I aspired to as I had such a great time creating it, and the team there were also amazing and so friendly! To this day I still proudly carry that newsletter to job interviews as part of my work portfolio.

I also can’t forget the wonderful people I met on my course, I feel like I owe my degree to some of them, as we supported each other during library sessions; shared those library books that were impossible to borrow because annoyingly someone else had it out for the majority of the year; they were there for you when it was all getting too much, and of course shared the same passion for your subjects as you. I’m still friends with people I met on my course and we can all draw the same opinions that if we all didn’t go to Chester uni we wouldn’t have met each other which would just have been heartbreaking.

 

I’m running out of money, it’s time to get a job

Yep, that student loan doesn’t last forever. In my first year of uni I wanted to get properly settled so I decided to leave a job until my second year, luckily during the holidays I worked at home in my local shop but by the time I went back to uni after Christmas it was time to get job hunting. I ventured out of Chester and joined the most wonderful restaurant team at Cheshire Oaks. I found out that I am actually alright at working in hospitality and thankfully made some money, but most importantly I met some of my absolute best pals. I definitely recommend getting a job at uni, not only does it mean you can earn a bit of pocket money, you can pick up new skills and also get the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people.

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Extra-curricular activities

Chester uni offered an abundance of societies, but if you’ve ever seen me run (very rare occasion – sorry if you have) you’ll understand that sports aren’t really my thing.

Throughout my school life I was an avid choir member, maybe it’s my love of High School Musical but I just love a good harmony. At my first Fresher’s Fair I was determined to find a university choir and I definitely struck gold. Mondays were no longer a day to dread but instead one to look forward to as I went along to rehersals at the university chapel in the evening. If you’ve ever been in Chester cathedral you’ll know how beautiful it is, so getting to sing in here at Christmas was mesmerising. Again, I’m so lucky to say I met some of my best friends here and got to travel to some places I had never visited before. Singing in Birmingham Symphony Hall and Chichester Cathedral are definitely up there with some of my university highlights. I also can’t fail to mention that a particular tenor is now my housemate.

Chester city

If you’ve ever visited Chester you’ll know how it just draws you in by its beauty – which is probably why I never left it. A very famous Chester Twitter account recently wrote 30 reasons to be positive about Chester which summed it up perfectly – I’m also extremely chuffed to have had a mention in this! I have a number of favourite places here in the city, Hanky Panky Pancakes, Jaunty Goat, THE RIVER and my newfound family over at the Lache at Flipside Radio, to name a few.

Graduation

Everyone has those days in their life that they’ll always remember and for me graduation is up there with meeting George Craig from One Night Only. Graduating in Chester cathedral was the perfect way to finish three years of uni, particularly after singing in there a few times. It was also great difficulty giving the graduation cloak back as I got way too comfortable feeling like I was at Hogwarts all day.

I actually feel a bit teary writing this, especially as my first year Fresher’s song just came on my iPod, but sure it was a great time! Thanks UoC, it was fab x

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