With A-Level results day comes the next chapter in many students lives: university. Or does it? With the ongoing pandemic this venture is looking very different and has made many re-think their decision to make that next leap. We spoke to Caoimhe Wilson, a keen student who will be attending university this year despite the inevitable challenges which will go along with it. Here is what she had to say:
Every year, as young individuals approach the end of secondary education they find themselves, teachers, peers and parents asking, what is it they want to do for the rest of their lives? Many begin by simply asking, what is it I want to do next? For me, and many others my age, the answer is attend university and graduate with the degree of our dreams. It sounds good, right? Simple enough? Unfortunately, not. Once this first question is answered more and more seem to follow… What would you like to study? Where would you like to go? When do you wish to begin? This year, unprecedented circumstances made these difficult decisions even more challenging.
To go or not to go? That is the question. Divided in our heads, our hearts and between each other. Students all across the Island have been deliberating. Is it worth the wait for the “University Experience” we’ve heard so much about and learned to desire or are we ready to embark upon a new adventure, becoming the first freshers to experience the ‘new normal’. After much pondering, internal conflict, and confidently changing my mind on numerous occasions, I chose the latter.
I’m 19 years old and finished school in May 2019. The fact that I had already taken a year out between school and university was initially the driving force that encouraged me to go to university this September. However, as I continued to weigh up the pros and cons and lockdown progressed, I knew making a leap of faith and beginning university this September was right for me. I understood that my first-year/university experience as a whole would greatly differ from the image of my former classmates, who began in previous years, had so appealingly painted for me. The idea that it may be lesser certainly frightened me; however, I also understood that everyone beginning university this year feels exactly the same way. All first-year university students are in the same boat – this year’s boat is just slightly different and perhaps odder than previously. Knowing this brought me comfort and led me to believe this September’s university intake is likely to share a bond different to any other. I’m anticipating a period of adjustment where we figure out how to navigate this new normal, but I know I won’t be doing this alone. Despite the social aspect of university being significantly modified in order to ensure the population remains safe and healthy, I have faith there are new factors that will allow us all to form exciting memories and forge meaningful friendships.
I found that lockdown worked in my favour with regards to being ready and motivated for university. For me, lockdown began after I was required to return home from travelling, and I desperately wanted something to distract me from what I felt I was missing out on. I plan to study Fashion Promotion and Communication, at Nottingham Trent, a greatly creative course, and I decided to set my focus on developing my skills and knowledge in this area with the aim of encouraging me to feel excited about university. Lockdown successfully reignited a passion inside me; I believe the flame might have flickered if I waited another year to start university. I am eager to be surrounded with people who share my passion. I’m ready progress in what I love to do, and I know university will provide me with a drive to succeed, and that the fresh opinions and outlooks of my peers will assist me to not only develop my work but also contribute to my personal growth.
I will be leaving in just over a month and as D-day approaches I keep finding new reasons to be excited for this change. I know the shift from living on this Island to a large city in England, especially at this time will be great but, for me, it feels like the beginning of a new uplifting journey – and I cannot wait, to go – that’s my answer.