I found out yesterday that I’ve been given an unconditional offer to study English Literature at the University of Glasgow! It’s quite incredible to know, for certain, that I’ll be going to university. Currently I’m ranking Edinburgh ahead of Glasgow for various reasons (the city is less intimidating in aesthetic terms, it’s in the heart of Scottish politics, etc.) but I’ve heard many good things about it so it certainly wouldn’t be a begrudging fall-back.
Roll on the future!
(What does ‘roll on’ actually mean? A lot of teenagers say this without ever imagining the image of something rolling forwards).
As of today – around 2.50pm, in fact – my university application has been submitted to UCAS. Why I couldn’t have gone the ‘traditional’ route of sending my application by post I’m not sure, but anyhow, it’s gone; beyond my reach, cast off, sailing away to what will hopefully become my Future. The options I went for, some of which I’m already a bit iffy about, were:
English Literature at Edinburgh University
English Literature and History at Edinburgh University
International Relations at Edinburgh University
English Literature at Glasgow University
English at St Andrews University
I’m very glad the Scottish system is as flexible as it is, because although I have some idea of what courses I’d like to take and the careers I’m after, it’s almost certain that I’ll want to change my mind at some point. I’ve ranked the list roughly in my order of preference – I get a savage pleasure from putting St Andrews at the bottom, though it did made it into the top 5. This is both thrillingly exciting and terrifying, but my life appears to be moving ahead which is mostly all that matters.
When I think of careers, two words form mistily in my head: “journalism” and “teaching.” No idea how I would do either of these; I don’t think I’m supposed to – yet. I just really want to be part of the world, having grown up in an isolated part of it, and perhaps make my mark, leaving it ever so slightly the better if I can. And to do this it would make sense to play to my strengths, such as – I hope – writing, and a keen interest in world affairs, the news, etc.
Enough blabbering. Hopefully I’ll be accepted and hopefully they’re the right choices. If not, I’ll learn why and find new avenues. The future starts here.
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).