Hello! I’m Jodie and I’m a second-year History student at York St John University.
I hope that you find this useful in your hunt for universities and the application process, I know how hard it can be. I’m from a town in Lincolnshire, originally, but moved to university straight from school, in 2019.
Unusually, I’ve always known I’ll come to university, but I appreciate that this isn’t the same for everyone. Initially, I just wanted to be able to say that I’ve got a degree, but as I got older I realised that being a teacher requires a degree and I do genuinely just love history. I did three A Levels in English, Biology and History and chose to come to university straight after I finished Sixth Form. I believe this was my best option, as I’ve always been set on what I want, but I appreciate that this isn’t for everyone. If you feel your best option is to take a gap year, go for it!
As mentioned before, I come from a town in Lincolnshire. This played a part in my decision because as long as I can remember my family have lived in the same house. Therefore, moving to university, and therefore to a city, was a huge change. While I was initially looking, I didn’t factor in the size of the cities and whether I’d feel comfortable walking around alone there. When I came to narrowing down my choices, after having been to some open days and doing some virtual tours on the website, I realised that big cities like Birmingham or London were too daunting for me. However, this didn’t mean my choices were limited, rather it actually helped me narrow down my options. Also, I knew that I wanted to be far enough away from home that I couldn’t get home in 30 minutes, but also I wanted to know that I could get home relatively quickly if needed.
While I was searching for universities, I was confused by some of the terms used which are so commonly used by universities. For example, I’ve now learned that a ‘module’ is similar to a topic, or a subject in school. I was also confused by the entry requirements, as some of the universities I applied to used UCAS points, and others used grades. However, with the help and guidance of my school, and the application sessions that some universities offered, I managed to work it out. Ultimately, I chose YSJ because York is relatively small, the campus is compact, and the course has the flexibility that I wanted.
As someone who’s shy in new places, it was a challenge to settle in. I chose not to join any societies or clubs because I felt like it would be too much change and too far out of my comfort zone, all in one go. I’ll be honest, this decision did mean it was more difficult to make friends in my first year, however it wasn’t impossible and I do have lots of friends now who I am grateful for. I intend to join something in the new year! As I became more settled I felt more comfortable with being more involved in university life. Yet, clubs and societies are not the only ways you can get involved. I became an academic rep for my course, and a peer mentor to first years who like me needed a little bit of extra support and guidance.
If you are applying this year, I would say that you go to as many open days as you can, even if they will only be online. This will be your chance to interact with people who go to the uni and they’ll be able to answer any specific questions that you have. Also, it might be useful if you’re able to visit different university campuses safely because it would allow you to work out if you can see yourself studying there.
Lastly, good luck with your applications and I hope you end up in the best place for you!