My University Experience

by - September 25, 2017

I either don't post for ages and when I do, it's a hella lengthy post, there is no in between haha.. So grab yourself a drink and some snacks and we shall beginnnn πŸ˜„!

With it being freshers/back to university week (that's college for you, if you're an American reader), I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about my 4 years experience at university now that I've officially graduated and won't be attending uni anymore (woo yeahhh!).

What did I study?
Broadcast Media Technologies BSc (Hons)
I graduated with a 2:1/Upper Second Class.

Why the uni?
I went to Leeds Beckett University, formerly known as Leeds Metropolitan University at the time I started (2013), or Leeds Met as everyone liked to call it. For me, choosing a uni away from home was not an option for me, my mum wanted me to stay at home where she could keep an eye on me. For some reason she put it into her head that I was going to go off the rails and do dumb things without her supervision. 
So the closest uni to home was either Bradford uni or Leeds Met, I knew I wouldn't have the grades to get into the official University of Leeds lol because their grade boundaries are quite high in my opinion, so it never even crossed my mind to put it on my list of options... and to this day I'm still shocked I even managed to get into a uni, as my A-level grades wasn't that great.
But getting into university was the biggest relief and weight lifted off my shoulders as I had so many doubters, from my teachers at school to my own family members. I'll never forget that results day.

My Experience
First Year: Honestly, first year of uni for me was awful and incredibly lonely. I absolutely hated it. I spent most days looking at the time to see when I could go home again.
Induction week was especially difficult for me; it is a few days during the 1-2 weeks before teaching officially starts where you meet your course mates and lecturers, then do small 'fun' activities to get to know one another.
Because everyone lived in halls (dorms, if you're American), I think including me there was only 3 people that stayed living at home. Most of my course mates had already got to know each other due to living so close in proximity from one another, and everyone had formed their own little groups, I felt so awkward and out of place. I could feel my anxiety kicking in, I just wanted to leave the room, but I knew if I did I'd probably draw unwanted attention to myself which in turn would make me more uncomfortable if I walked out knowing I was being stared at. I was so happy when we could finally leave the room until our next activity a couple of hours later.

During that break, I don't exactly remember what I tweeted but it was something along the lines of "At uni's induction on headingley campus, so bored, not knowing anyone and feeling lonely", I completely forgot my uni followed me on Twitter and this was their response:
My friends had an absolute field day laughing at my embarrassment.. lo and behold no one came to find me, I didn't know whether to cry with relief because it meant I wouldn't have to have any unnecessary interactions with another person, or just simply cry that no one came to find me which added to my loneliness lol.
For the rest of that entire year, I did make friends with them, I spoke to everyone and everyone was nice to me, but it never felt like the friendship levels for me to just hang out with them at lunch or after classes. I was never asked to hang out with them, and no one particularly made any effort to get to know me, so I personally felt it would be weird for me to force my way in. Because of how I was feeling, every time class finished I would be straight out of there on a bus on my way home and I would not be seen until the next time we had a class. Lunch times was awkward as hell.. the other 2 girls who stayed living at home was sort of in the same boat as me, so the 3 of us sort of got stuck together, but we never really had anything to talk about.
Looking back to it, I probably was over thinking it and letting my anxiety takeover me. Effort works both ways, if I don't make an effort to get to know people, obviously they're not going to make an effort with me.

Second Year: This was a big turning point for my uni experience. I finally made friends!!! Because I decided to suck it up and make an effort with my course mates even though being the first to approach people is completely out of my comfort zone. During class I would make the effort to talk to them, and during lunch I kinda just tagged along during first week back, and eventually I found my place and it felt natural to have lunch with them. Also I would actually talk to them outside of uni and not just in class. By the end of the year, I no longer felt like I didn't belong.
But I did still leave as soon as class ended, as I was no way going to stay longer than I had to when it already took me long enough to arrive on campus; 2 hours to be precise. If I had a 9am lecture, I would have to be up at 5:30am and out the house by 6:45am to catch the bus.. It was so tiring!

Third Year: My happiness didn't last long though as I would be going on work placement for an entire year, while this would be the year my friends (finally no longer just course mates ayyy!) graduated. Before I decided to take on this student placement, I was thinking about it for ages going back and forth on whether to apply for the job. My major factor in deciding on whether to go for it was I only just made friends and finally felt I belonged, going on placement would mean going back to square one, a class full of people I didn't know. But because of my anxiety I had already missed out on so many opportunities which would have given me valuable industry experience. I couldn't let this one pass me by too, so I applied for the job with the help of my 'pushy' lecturer.. he really wanted me to go for it and persuaded me for a good week.
To my surprise I got the job! I also managed to stay in touch with my friends and though I didn't have time to meet up with most of them because I was working in a different part of town, I still saw my good friend a few times, and it was so lovely to see her every time.
My 'pushy' lecturer and I on graduation day.
He liked to laugh at my Resting Bitch Face and height a lot throughout the years. But I forgive him for being one of the best lecturers I've ever had. Cheers for everything Hugo!

4th/Final Year: I was so so scared of going back to uni, not really knowing anyone besides my friends who also went on student placement. All I could think of was, what was I to do if they weren't in class that day? I'll be on my own! And I already heard quite a lot about the year group I'd be going into, they were a really really tight knit group.
But yet again, I had nothing to worry about, first day back was so great seeing my friends and catching up. It was such a busy year for all of us with it being final year, I honestly don't even remember how I started talking and becoming friends with most of them, I suppose we shared a mutual support for one another to get through the semester in one piece and our sanity in tacked. It kind of just happened in the midst of panicking to meet deadlines in the first 3 months of being back, everything just fell into place naturally. I felt like this year group, everyone was a lot more open and willing to talk to me, so the process of being friends just sped up.
Hitting London on a night out before our shift at National Handball Finals the next morning. Lets just say alcohol did not agree with me that night..
Having a drink with our lecturers after the course celebration to mark the end of term and uni for us!
 Graduation day!
Of course, even with heels on, I was still the shortest.. Surprised they even had a gown short enough for me ha.. ha.. ha..
My advice to freshers
I think most of you will know, and if you don't, you'll quickly realise that first year doesn't matter, because the grades you get don't count towards anything, it's just to carry you into second year. Disclaimer: this applied to me and many of my friends who studied at other universities too, but it may not be the case for you, so make sure you check with your lecturers/course leader first!. With that being said, it doesn't mean you should slack either, you need to keep on top of your work, engage and attend in your classes, if you don't understand anything always ask! University is a equal playing field for all, there are no 'popular' people, so you don't have to worry or be self conscious that you're not being 'cool' enough.
First year's workload tends to be easy going and you'll find that everyone gets taught the same thing at the same time, so don't worry about what knowledge you do or don't have prior to starting the course.
Despite that being said, second year is a whole other ball game! The workload intensifies and becomes much more serious, as it starts to count towards your final graduation grade.
Final year.. I think everyone knows how important this year is, it's where your grades really really matter, and one little slip up could cost you a good grade and your graduation day.

Luckily enough I managed to graduate with a good 2:1 grade, but as mentioned in a previous post, I messed up big time and it cost me getting an even better grade. I let my procrastination get on top of me and my workload pile up which left me with me little time to perfect my projects. This is the prime example of what not to do, stay organise and you won't have to worry about not meeting deadlines.

Don't allow your fears to stop you from taking part in important and valuable opportunities that will give you great work experiences. This is exactly what happened to me, I allowed my fears of doing things on my own, stop me from so many opportunities to gain work experiences that could put me in a good position one day when looking for a job. But now I'm paying for it, as I don't have much industry experience to put down on my CV, honestly, my CV is pretty weak.
So if you ever get given opportunities to work/volunteer in your chosen field, take it! Forget about if your friends are doing it or not, do it for yourself, and think of what you need to set yourself apart from other candidates in the future for employers to see.

Have Fun
But most importantly, HAVE FUN! Socialise, meet new people, go out; you're only this young once. Enjoy yourself, as much as uni is about getting your degree to find a good job, it's also about creating lasting memories and life long friends. How nice would it be 10-15 years from now, meeting up with these old friends and reminiscing, laughing about old times and all the stupid things you got up to while studying?

I would be lying if I said I got the full uni/being a student experience, because I really didn't. Before, I put it down to living at home, but the real reason was, I allowed so many silly things get in the way, preventing me from enjoying my time at uni and making friends early on. I also missed out on so much, especially opportunities to gain more industry experience due to my anxiety, which I'm currently paying the consequences for when applying for jobs. Because everyone knows most employers ask for relevant work experience, and I can count all mine on one hand!
Please don't make my mistakes, and I hope after reading my post, it can help ease those of you who maybe nervous and worried about starting uni in the next few weeks.

If you have any questions about university, drop them below and I will help/advise if and where I can πŸ˜—

Love, Melody xo

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  1. Sorry to hear you didn't have a good first year and I too remember seeing the post about finding a lonely Miss Melody. Now a days I tend to tell my students to do a Masters, cos everywhere are uni graduates, so getting a Master will give you more job opportunties. One thing I notice is, Chinese people in Macau are keen students alot take night classes to gain Masters. I just wish I had the chance you did, hey but I am enjoying myself on the other side of the world. And you know I always support & love you.