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Hi everyone, my name is Emily and I’m a third year English Language and Linguistics student.

I’m originally from the Wirral, which about a 20-minute drive from Liverpool City Centre and moved to York for University. Even though my parents never went to University, the idea of University was always around. School and college always pushed us to enter higher education. I just went a long with it for a while until I did a little bit of research to look at why I might want to go to University. I found that I was more likely to get a better job with a higher paying salary, and when looking at what I wanted to do in the future, a degree was needed.

I came to York St John through clearing as I decided that I didn’t want to go to the institution I had originally chosen. It was really easy to ring up through clearing and to give them my details and swap my place and everyone was so nice! I then took a gap year and went to an awful lot of York St John University Open Days and their applicant days; I think I went to about 4 in total. They were always jam packed with talks about my subject area, about what York was like, what the University itself was like and there were plenty of talks on how to get funding and accommodation. Attending open days are a really vital thing as they allow you to get a feel for the University and see if it is somewhere you imagine yourself living for 3 years. They also let you meet the staff; you get an instant feeling of “yeah I fit in here, I like these people,” you just click with the staff if it is the right place for you.

YSJ made it so easy to settle into University life. Moving to Uni was the first time I had been away from my family and friends properly which was extremely daunting, and it took a little bit of getting used to but was probably the best thing I have ever done. Living away from home gives you a different kind of confidence and a strong sense of independence that I don’t think you would get from living at home. Moving into accommodation is a laugh, the huge array of people that you get to meet … granted, it can get very loud sometimes with parties and music, but that is all part of the fun and tends to die down after fresher’s week. First year of University has been one of the highlights of my experience so far because I felt that I did so much growth as a person and met some brilliant course friends that I hope to keep in touch with for a long time. Many people warn you of the jump from A-levels to degree level, although I feel that this is increasing fear in students for no reason, the biggest change I found was the style of teaching. Lectures are by far my favourite form of teaching as I can sit in a large theatre with my laptop and a cup of tea and just listen to an amazing lecturer. Please don’t let the fear of academia put you off coming to Uni, you adapt very quickly and there are always people around to help support you.

It’s hard to narrow down what my best University experience has been because it’s all been a rollercoaster of brilliant things; it can be tough at times but overall, there’s nothing like it. I think my best moment has been winning the 2020 elections for the Student’s Union, where I became the LGBTQ+ Liberation Officer for 2020/21. I never in a million years would have gone for that role before university, I didn’t have the confidence, but at the end of my second year I jumped at the chance. I love the role and get to meet brilliant people in that role everyday (albeit virtually right now). Another main part of University life is the sports and societies you can get involved with. There is always something for everyone and it is something that I would highly recommend to anyone; it’s a brilliant way to make friends. I have been a member of the Linguistics society for three years now and many of my friends have come from that society and my course. We talk about our course, our worries and fears about assessments, and when we could, we would go out for drinks together for socials.

I think my main tip for anyone thinking of coming to University is to embrace it, take everything that is thrown your way and use every opportunity, because you won’t regret it. It may seem like the scariest thing you have ever done, but it will actually be the best thing you ever do and will give you the best memories to remember for your whole life.

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