March has been extremely busy since I returned from Vancouver. I’d tried to keep on top of things while I was away but I really had to hit the ground running once I was back. It was another busy few weeks of Undergraduate teaching in the run up to the Easter break and I had numerous new contacts and research studies from the conference which I needed to follow up.
My role at SNOOKS also got busier as we launched an end of season sale so there was a huge marketing and social media push to get the word out there and ensure the sale was a success. I took the first week of April off to spend some quality time with my boyfriend who was sent abroad with work a few days after I returned from Canada. It was fantastic to finally spend some quality time together after our busy schedules had kept us apart for so long. We were able to catch up with friends and family and attend a friends wedding, but other than that we really made the most of doing absolutely nothing for a few days!
I have a couple of family members who will be starting University for the first time this September and I am so excited for them! Every time we speak about it I remember how nervous and anxious I was when I was in their position. Each University I had applied for was as 3-4 hours drive from home, as I wanted to get away from the small country village I grew up in and learn to live independently in a big city.
I remember visiting University open days with my parents, who trailed up and down the country waiting for me to make a decision. I finally attended an open day where I got this gut feeling and I knew for sure that would be my number one choice. After narrowing down the courses that looked good and the parts of the country I was interested in living in, it really was a case of getting that feeling and knowing without any doubt.
In September 2008, I moved away from the Midlands, heading 4 hours north to Newcastle upon Tyne to begin my undergraduate degree at Northumbria University. It was cold, the people talked funny and I was surrounded by thousands of unfamiliar faces. In all honesty I wasn’t excited, I was completely terrified.
After a quick trip to Ikea, my parents left me alone to unpack and wait for my new flatmates to arrive. As a very shy person I found it really difficult to speak to strangers so this was one of the most daunting experiences I can remember, but I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Everyone in your halls is in the same position as you are. Some may already know each other and some may be familiar with the city but everyone is moving into a new home to start a new course at a new University.
I had been part of a Facebook group for the block of halls I was moving into and was able to connect with a girl who was moving into a flat above me so there was someone there I felt I knew which helped a lot, I definitely recommend trying to connect with people before hand as it certainly settles some nerves.
The next few days were full of getting to know people, having course inductions and of course, all the fresher’s week activities. This is the time when you absolutely have to get involved with everything that is of any interest to you and you’ll soon find a group of people who share your interests. I feel it took me quite a while to find my group of friends, possibly because I was on a course of just 11 which was very male dominated. It wasn’t until the spring term that I met Sarah who became my best friend. I lived with Sarah and a few other girls during my second and third year and it was then I really settled into life in Newcastle.
Moving away for University is a scary experience but it is so rewarding in so many ways. I’m sure it is for those who stay close to or at home for University but I can’t speak from experience in that area. For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to move away and learn to live independently with the safety net of the University to help you along the way. For anyone considering a University away from home as their first choice right now I’d say go for it, jump right in, you will have the time of your life!