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Life update: University ramble and gap year talk

I can confirm that I got my place at Warwick to read English Literature and Creative Writing! Ecstatic would not go to describe my emotions when I got the email! I am simultaneously excited and anxious to embark on university life which seems pretty common for many students in my place. I am also keeping in mind that this experience is a first (excuse the pun) for nearly every first year. Though I will admit, it feels like the "pre-uni" process has been painful regarding the anticipation of having to say goodbye to loved ones and my humble abode for the past 18 years, yet I know change is good; it keeps life interesting. Change is also vital for helping you grow and develop into the best version of yourself which I feel I am as ready as I can be for.

I believe there is definitely something appealing about being able to explore a new city; especially when you only have yourself to blame when you get lost ;) I will openly disclose that a member of my close family has been to Warwick, but in my defence, I am not familiar with the town itself at all, so I am looking forward to discovering new places (cringe, I know). Also, on a slight side note, if anyone has any recommendations about palaces to go to in Warwick or Coventry, don't be a stranger to hit me up (I will leave my social media platforms below).

Preparation wise, I am trying to be disciplined with myself by reading as many of the set books as I can. Looking back on pre-A2 Isabella, I seriously underestimated the number of books I would have to read doing an English degree ( I mean seriously 45 books?! We spent two years on two books at GCSE). But I guess I will not be the only one struggling to fathom how I am going to remember copious character names and complex plots. I have found it really helpful though, to familiarise myself with the texts I am going to be studying by pre-reading most of the blurbs, and as I said, reading 3-4 before the course unfolds. I know my enthusiasm for the crisp turn of the first page of a new book will wear off,  but I do have a glimmer of hope that I am really going to appreciate working with like-minded people. I remember the days of GCSE's when people used to moan about their next period being "Englishhhhhhhhhhhhh", so it is nice not having to be the quiet one in the corner who used to discreetly really enjoy deconstructing texts. Then again, to this day I do not understand how people can enjoy physics lessons...

I am also trying to give myself some breathing space before I begin my first year at university. By that, I mean being kind to myself a.k.a textbook self-care. I would definitely say my Costa card has taken a battering given the numerous coffee dates I have required with my Mum and Sister with the "Am I doing the right thing?" chat. In all honesty, I really think it is important to prioritise your time with family and close friends leading up to such a big transition. It is definitely interesting analysing who makes the effort to meet up with you without the strict constraints of school. I am a firm believer that the ones who do will be friends for life, even if you did not necessarily think you were that "close" during your academic days.

I also want to use this post to say that it is also completely ok not to necessarily want to go to university; whether that be this year or at all. For example, I only made up my mind that I seriously did want to go to uni about 2 months ago - impulsive Gemini much. It frustrates me how much pressure schools and also the media put on students to finish school and automatically go to university. Yes, going to uni is a very popular choice for many students at 18, but it is not the only option. Many would call me a hypocrite preaching that there is nothing wrong with taking a gap year given that I am going straight to uni after my A levels, but, at the end of the day, only you can make that decision. A year or so a go, I was very ambivalent about going to university as I hand-on-heart had no idea what I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I am still relatively clueless about what I want to do post-university, but I know for sure that this is what feels right for me. To reiterate what I was saying, you do not have to be a sheep to the trend of being straight out of school, fresh into university. It really can be daunting imagining yourself going from an 8:15-16:00 day with Mum picking you up and cooking you dinner, to suddenly a very disjointed timetable, in an unfamiliar setting with people you do not know, on your own. If you need time out of the education system just to get your bearings and process the idea of having to live independently, DO IT. It is ok to want something else i.e do an apprenticeship, want to travel or work for a bit. Remember, many of stars in the media (ahem, David Bowie) and even well-known academics (Karl Marx, Charles Darwin) and writers (Terry Pratchett, Joseph Conrad) do not even have degrees themselves!

However, that is not to say that if you have a real passion to pursue your dreams by getting on your degree as quickly as humanly possible, that you should not go with that instinct. You just have to decide what is going to be right for you, and right now, for me, that is reading English (with creative writing). The battle for me to be even able to go to uni, has not been an easy one, and those that I love will always have concerns about me going, but I am determined to do this and not let any nasty mental health demons get in the way.

 I hope this post can be reassuring for anyone in a similar position to me, or even just entertaining to read whilst sipping your cuppa.

Lots of love,

Is xxx