My life has come to the point where universities have begun to dominate my thoughts. They have always been there, on the periphery of any brief glance over the parapets into the future, but have gradually crept closer and closer. So many questions: Which course? Which university? Combined degree? Which accommodation? Student loans? What to put into the personal statement? Should I stop pulling my hair out?
We’ve been told woefully little at school about the process, as we’re expected to do research ourselves. This is fair enough, but there is no practical way of comparing universities. Each website says a variation of, “We’re the best! Look at these pictures of happy smiley people! We dare you to doubt them! Ooh, look, incomprehensible figures which prove we’re better than the others! Etc.” Visiting the university is an awkward option for those of us who live on an island and are leading shaky lifestyles due to not having the stability of an inhabitable home (it’s a long story). The university trip organised by my school ignored two of the universities I am considering (St. Andrews and Glasgow) and gave us a twenty minute tour, in the rain, through the third (Edinburgh) before spotting the Travelodge like a desperate mirage in the distance and abandoning all pretence of giving us a meaningful visit. The league tables hardly help, with a 0.1 difference in scores between each one.
Despite this, I’ve managed to do some narrowing down. I’m certain that I would like to enter in an English course, perhaps branching out into Politics or History in my first and second year. The university trip did make me realise that I don’t think I could live in Glasgow, which leaves St. Andrews and Edinburgh. Recently I’ve realised I might prefer the well-connected isolation of St Andrews, where there would always be a quiet spot to hide away and read a book if necessary, but there are also aspects pulling me towards Edinburgh (Scottish Parliament! Fudge Kitchen! Spires in all directions! Weeeee!). I guess I shouldn’t complain at being spoilt for choice; I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to go to university at all. But I would have liked even a fraction of more support when making one of the largest and most important decisions of my life.
(This is my first blog ever (eek!) so I haven’t really refined my style yet. It may sound fairly self-indulgent and whiny. I hope not).