I found the picture that’s in my featured image today. Looking back at me was a young first year Evangeline. It made me think back to all those years when I was a first year law student starting out in Swansea University. It got me thinking of how one decision impacted the rest of my life without me even realising.
The decision of choosing a university should not be taken lightly. Equally, selecting a university should not entirely be about academics. I remember when I was selecting my top 5 universities for UCAS. I knew I had to leave Ireland as they didn’t offer my course there. I was uber stressed out about my exams. The thought of not getting good enough grades for UCAS and not having a backup plan left me feeling overwhelmed and drained. I felt I had so little time to research everything. Luckily, my mum noticed and jumped in. She helped me research different uni’s that she thought would suit me and my personality. Let me tell you, we sat for WEEKS doing this. We researched the people, staff, law course, the ability to do the LPC, travel and the environment to name but a few. She would write everything down for me and we would go through a pros and cons list for almost every university.
In the end, we narrowed it down to 10 and eventually got it down to 5. Now, how did we narrow it down? Well we looked at me as a person. I ended up getting 3 out of my 5 choices, including 2 Russell Group uni’s but opted for the non-russell group choice. Some people may think that was the wrong decision but it was the RIGHT decision for me and still remains one of my best.
I knew that adapting to life in the UK on my own and without my family would already be extremely difficult. It was my job to make the transition as seamless as possible. To do this I had to make sure that I was surrounded by things that made me happy. For me that was the beach. This remained my final decision. I grew up on a beach in my hometown and it was always my place of serenity and peace. If I could go to that place while at uni I knew I’d never have one unhappy day and I didn’t. This, along with more factors of course made university the happiest days of me life.
How to choose the right uni ?
- What makes you happy ?– city life, the people, location, societies etc. Make sure the university furthers YOUR passion. If it has a great sporting reputation and this is your niche go for it. Don’t give up your passions just because you’re moving away to university. Although uni is a clean slate, being genuinely happy will make your experience unforgettable.
- Look further than the academic side – academics stand for a lot don’t get me wrong. They are hugely important but they’re not everything. Look outside of the university standing for an overall experience. Student satisfaction, job retention and facilities are all hugely important.
- The law course itself – this has to play a role in your decision. If you aren’t happy studying your course then you won’t be your best self. I knew I needed a break from law so opted for American studies alongside.
- Research – I was extremely lucky to have my mum and family with me every step of the way however, I appreciate that not everyone does. So, I urge you to start your research early. Don’t leave it as late as I did. These things take time. Invest your time wisely. Pick a uni a month to research and take it step by step.
I love reflecting back on my time at university and offering advice that I wish I knew back then. I owe everything to Swansea University. I left with a future husband, friends for life (& bridesmaids to be), a wealth of knowledge and a glowing self. It holds a VERY special place in my heart and I know your university will hold a special place in yours. September is the month of change so now is the time to write your future.