As you read this blog, I must warn that you will find, honest thoughts, ambitions, and hopes from my mind.
Everybody is a little worried about the future, no matter how old they are. You may be nervous about your first day of school as a young child, anxious about job interviews or even a bit scared of what there is after life. The future is full of uncertainties so it’s natural for our worries – no one can predict what will happen.
As a sixth form student at the end of my first year of A Levels, I am currently nervous about my final year of exams, leaving the school that has been a home to me for 7 years, and ultimately, getting into university. I can’t believe that the time has come for me to think about life after school – it only seems like yesterday that I arrived in Year 7, and now I have to face the facts that I will be leaving in 13 months and going into the big wide world of independent people.
Frankly, I’m absolutely terrified.
When you’re younger, you think you have everything sorted. Well, I did anyway. When I’d started my GCSEs and people asked me what I’d be doing, I’d respond confidently that I would do my A Levels, go to university and become the most successful journalist that the world have seen. Back then, I suppose you don’t think that your dream might be shared by thousands of others in the country, all fighting for the place you want in university. I thought they would meet me and fall in love immediately, accepting me because I’m just so darn adorable. Oh, ignorance is bliss…
I miss those days of naivety. I was so confident… So sure that I would be everybody’s first choice, and that universities would be fighting over the chance to educate the legend that is Charlotte Penketh-King. But then you grow up. You start to actually look into your future, and what you need to do to get where you want. And suddenly, your cruise on the simple route to stardom turns into you in a dinghy in the middle of the ocean with no oars, surrounded by yachts and powerboats.
Starting sixth form, I’d already decided to go onto university. I understand that media is a competitive area, and having a degree in journalism will clearly make me stand out amongst those who simply ended their education after their A Levels. I can obviously see the desire to finish education when you’re 18, but university sounds like an amazing experience as well as giving you a qualification which will make you more attractive to prospective employers. I knew the positive side of going to university and getting a degree, but I didn’t realise just how difficult that process would be. Nobody does until they actually have to do it themselves, and I can almost guarantee that everybody who has ever been in this position, past or present, will have the same worries as me.
Now, this blog post is not to be one about my worries on university – I will however do one on this in the future where I can then help you with it all when I actually have the answers myself, but right now it could just result in me putting more worries in your head, and then we’d all have mental breakdowns in this pressing time and the universities would all be empty next year thanks to all A Level students ending up in a psychiatric ward. No, no, no, this blog post is on my first step of my long journey to university – choosing the right university and course for you.
After researching on the UCAS website about which universities offer journalism degrees, I came across Bournemouth University. I had already heard of Cardiff University, and my heart had been set on it since I was young. From then looking into it in detail, I still loved the sound of Cardiff, but my eyes were also opened to the prospect of Bournemouth. Other universities sounded good too, but these two were the ones that particularly caught my eye. Receiving the prospectuses, I then booked my open days for both.
Today was the day of my Bournemouth Open Day. I was so excited leading up to it, but this morning I was freaking out. You know when a big day is coming up, and you’re all prepared, but then you wake up, and everything goes pear-shaped? Yeah. That happened. The day started at 10:30, so in order to get there in time, my mother and I would have to leave the house at about 7:30, so I set my alarm for 6:30. For some reason, in my positive mindset last night when I made this decision, it somehow slipped my mind that I am a total sloth in the morning. My alarm went off this morning, and it took me 10 minutes to actually leave my bed – a record-breaking time for me! I desperately tried to stay awake in the shower, and then raced around the house trying to find everything. Naturally, I thought I’d done it all in good time, but we left late… What an excellent start. Well done, Charlotte. Trying to put the hectic morning behind us, my mother and I turned on the radio and sang our way to Bournemouth.
Getting to the campus, I was amazed at the place. It was so open and big, yet compact at the same time. There was no way that my mother and I were going to be able to find our way around alone, despite the signs everywhere. Taking a campus tour, everything was made a lot more clear. The tours were taken by students, so you got to see the university through their eyes, which is a lot more helpful than just reading the standard print in a prospectus. Actually being there was so much better than looking at photos, and I would urge anyone looking at a university to actually go on an open day!
We had an extensive look around the media school area of the campus, and it was amazing. Apple Macs were everywhere! You can even borrow the schools huge cameras and brand new laptops to use in your own time – that’s incredible! The TV production suites look amazing, and I can’t wait to get involved with it all. There are even rooms to record an actual radio show, which is open 24/7. The amount of state-of-the-art equipment that can be used is mind blowing. I cannot imagine learning to use it all – it just seems too good to be true! Almost like you’re an actual professional journalist… Amazing!
After the campus tour, we made our way to the Macaroni Lecture Hall for a talk on the Multi-Media Journalism Course that I am interested in, taken by one of lecturers for the course. My mind was swarmed with information and I scribbled away on my notebook, writing anything that I thought I needed to take into consideration when choosing my degree. I was shocked to see that hardly anyone else was taken notes. How do they expect to remember everything that they’ve been told? I want to compare the course to others so I can make a well-informed decision – isn’t that normal? Leaving the hall, I felt a little overwhelmed but excited. The lecturer had an enthusiasm about her that made me just want to start the degree right now. She took the time to answer everybody’s question despite how hectic it was. If every lecturer is like that at Bournemouth, then I definitely want to go there.
Leaving the university campus, we travelled down to the town to see what that would be like to be leaving near. Bournemouth is actually beautiful. So many shops, the beach is huge and loads of bars. There seems to be lots of opportunity for work, so at least I won’t be a jobless poor student!
My Cardiff Open Day is booked for the 5th July. I’m excited, as this was my initial first choice, but after being so impressed with Bournemouth, I’m not so sure any more! Can’t I just go to both? And that’s assuming I’d get accepted anyway… What if I get rejected by both? My heart will be broken! Oh, the troubles of it all! But no, lets forget about that side for now, or I will just panic and give up. I can do it… Somehow.
Well, my dear readers, what were your experiences of University Open Days? Comment below! Much love to you all. Goodnight.