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My name is Sarah, I am from Newcastle and I am currently in my third year studying Theology and Religious Studies at York St. John University.

I decided to go to university as I was unsure of what I wanted to do but the idea of experiencing moving away from my home town and learning in a different environment appealed to me. I did not know where I wanted to go but I was confident that I did not want to move too far away and wanted to get the best out of student life beyond lectures.

As soon as I arrived on York St. John campus for the Open Day, I could imagine myself living and studying here, which I had not felt with visits to other universities. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and the city was beautiful! I had already researched my course and thought it sounded interesting but when I went to a taster session it confirmed that I would enjoy the study material. One of the main reasons I attended the Open Days was to look at the accommodation options and study facilities available and I found out a lot of extra information from staff and students that I would otherwise have not discovered by just looking on the website. I got a real feel for the city on a busy Saturday afternoon and knew York is where I wanted to live during university.

The first day that I arrived at York St. John was daunting, but everyone made me feel so welcome and so much more relaxed! I was very apprehensive about moving away and as the time got closer, I was starting to have doubts if it was what I really wanted, but I am so glad I decided to give it a go! The whole experience of living away from home with different people and the new learning style pushed me massively out of my comfort zone but it has made me a much more confident person and university is a life experience I will never forget. It comes with its challenges, but I know that going to York St. John was the best decision for me, academically as well as personally.

The thing I have loved most about university is the variety of different people I have met (and am still meeting). Before I went to university, I was always very shy and would not have imagined the confidence I have now. University is a constant learning experience, not just in academia, but in life too and I could not recommend a better learning environment than York St. John. I have also taken up tennis again since being at university which I had stopped playing when I was younger. This also was a challenge for me as it involved meeting a whole new range of people and playing a sport, I had not played in over 10 years. I soon learnt that the societies are open to people of all abilities and are welcoming to every single person.

I would highly recommend attending Open Days and visiting university cities before applying as that is the only way you can truly get a feel for the place. Going to a few different ones really helped me make an informed decision about where I wanted to go. Once at university, I would definitely encourage everyone to join at least one society! It has really helped me as I have made some great friends and it is something to take your mind off your studies for a while, so you really are getting the most out of your university experience! I have made some lifelong friends at York St. John and have developed a whole new range of skills. I have also done things that I never thought I would have the ability or confidence to do, things just as simple as being assessed on a presentation, and that is all because of my university experience at York St. John.

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