An Honest View on University: First Year

As I type this blog post it will now be over two years since I last wrote on my blog, which is something I outgrew after doing so for a few years starting back in 2012; which very few reading will know about. My motivation for blogging went downhill back in September 2015, I had just started college after leaving secondary school and later left my job at River Island to start a new chapter in my life working at Chessington World of Adventures. It turns out that this chapter was an experience I will never forget and while the two years I spent there was bittersweet, I have made some friends for life that I hope that I will never lose as I close this door and open a new one…

I mention this as another new chapter of my life that I have recently begun (technically not recently, being 9 months ago) is moving away to University of Portsmouth to pursue my passion for law. For as long as I can remember I have always said that one day I dream to become a solicitor, however as every teenager and young adult would agree, education really can get the better of you and as a teenager in year 11, I was unsure whether my life would take that path.

Fast-forwarding about a year or so, I was unsure whether I would stay living at home and study at the University of Law in Guildford as I had planned. However, my friends who I had the honour of meeting at Chessington frequently spoke about their plans to move away and after visiting the University of Law, I decided, that specific university was not for me. While I saw my friends move away to Portsmouth, I frequently visited and fell in love with the city, which made my decision for university that much easier. Working hard through my A-Levels and getting stressed, soon paid off after I was given a place at Portsmouth to study LLB Law, despite not receiving the grades I worked for.

September came around and soon I was packing up my mums’ car up to move away and be completely independent. Growing up, my mum always expressed how independent I was with my studies and that “I had my head screwed on” nevertheless this did not help with settling in. While freshers was great and going out and mingling with new flatmates was fun, being homesick soon kicked in, thankfully with the support of my friends in second year and my closest friend to date Xian (who also blogs, therefore, you should definitely check out her blog by clicking here) I soon forgot about being homesick; minus missing my dog (now dogs, with the addition of Bailey the pug). In November/December it all started to go downhill and with flat drama (which you can also read all about on Xian’s blog) I felt the urge to drop out and cried daily until it was time to return home for Christmas.

On a positive note, my university life gradually became better as I started socialising with people on my course more frequently (for those reading you know who you are) and I got myself out of that ‘slump’ you can end up falling into and I found myself having a better time during exam season compared to the months where I had no stress of exams. Now while that is an in-depth outline of my experience I still find myself weighing the pros and cons of doing a degree.

Moving away from home you: gain more independence, meet new friends who you’ll end up with a stronger connection to those you have known for years, learn how to cook (this is still debatable) and overall tend to mature into a young adult (which is also proven to be debatable). Nevertheless, university can bring a lot of negative energy and as experienced can really play on mental health issues (both personally and seen through friends experiences). In addition to this, you will soon learn who you click with and learn that you’ll meet both people who you really get on with and those you completely contrast to. You will have moments when you disagree on things however you learn who is worth sticking around for and who is stopping you from growing as a person (however cliche that may sound).

On an academic wavelength, now I have attended university I still struggle to believe in the way university is structured, from the fees that our government has implemented on us and given us a financial burden upon graduation to the way we are assessed. Throughout primary, secondary and further education we as individuals are conformed to this set standard of teaching that we are forced to live with, which is only reinforced at university with exams at the end of the year. Personally, I learn through practical work such as mock trials where I played the role of a CPS barrister. However, as demonstrated by my first year results so far, despite spending hours in the library every day studying day in and day out my results have been pretty mediocre. I put this down to my style of learning and not being the best at exams. Prior to going into an exam I could know everything however as soon as I step foot into the exam hall, key facts and cases go out of my head and I sit there debating whether I stand the chance of succeeding in the legal profession.

While other university courses may award 2:1’s and firsts frequently, I believe that my choice of degree means that myself and others often feel disappointed within ourselves as we happily watch our friends in different courses thriving, however, we can not help but feel slightly jealous that it was us receiving those marks. Now I am not saying that those studying other subjects should not receive these grades as I am positive they are well deserved, it is just evidence that some degrees are harder to get first class honours in than others. Therefore, if you are in the same boat as me or are doing a degree which is harder to achieve the higher honours in, it is important to have an open mind and be accepting of these difficulties. As people keep saying to me, “it’s only first year after all” so hopefully I’ll have better luck within the next two years.

Overall, I believe that university is not like the expectations you have entering as a ‘fresher’ and many aspects may shock you when you realise that the social life is not as good as anticipated or you have not found the ‘love of your life’. Yet again everybody’s experience is different and meanwhile, mine has not been ideal, without the drama I would not have found my closest friends and learn more in depth about something I am passionate about. Moving away from home has allowed me to grow as cliché as that may sound and if you are thinking about university I would recommend moving out, as making friendships seems easier and most definitely allows you to live independently without parents unintentionally disturbing you whether academically or sociably.

For daily updates on my life as a law student follow my Instagram and Twitter @courtneybekahx to see my travels, lifestyle and thoughts.

Much Love,

Courtney Bekah x

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