My five favourite things about going to university
Written by Elise Polley, who studied a Health, Sport and Bioscience Foundation Year followed by BSc Sports Therapy, and graduated in 2017 from the University of East London, and is now a Collaborative Outreach Officer for Make Happen.
I think the best thing about university is the freedom that you get with it. It’s not like school, where your teacher calls your parents if you don’t go to class or you’re chased for homework with a detention if you haven’t done it. It’s your responsibility to go to class to learn the things you need to learn in order to pass your exams and get a good grade at the end of it. You have freedom to choose so many things when you go to university: will you live at home? or move out? what course you will study? which university are you going to go to? will you sleep in until lunchtime on a day you have late classes? what clubs and societies are you going to join? You’re an adult, and you get the responsibility of making decisions that come with that.
When choosing which university I was going to go to, the sports clubs they had available was definitely something I took into consideration, as that was important to me because sport is a big part of my life. I wanted to go to a university that would also provide the social aspects of university and student life I was looking for. While there, I took full advantage of the clubs on offer; I took part in football, futsal, wheelchair basketball, handball, archery and volleyball as well as entering various competitions each week which allowed to me try out zorb football, something I’d always wanted to try.
Living with friends
I lived at home for the first two of my four years at university. During this time, I made the friends that I then lived with in my third and fourth years. I lived in the same flat as three of my other friends, I really enjoyed just waking up in the morning and going into the kitchen and eating breakfast together before going off to our separate classes, or inviting other friends of ours over for dinner and having a space for everyone to get together.
Studying what interested me
Like most people at school, I too asked: “why are we learning this, I’m never going to use it!” and had certain subjects that I didn’t enjoy and virtually hated going to each week. So, by contrast, going to university and choosing a subject area that I was really interested in, and only studying that, was great for me as everything being taught was something that I actually wanted to learn about. I found that because I wanted to know more about the subjects we were learning about it, made it easier to motivate myself to do the independent study required of you when studying for a degree.
The support I received from the university through my lecturers, personal tutors, and sports staff I came to know was also very important to me. I felt if I had a problem I could go to my lecturers and explain it to them, and they would listen and do their utmost to help me. I also received disabled students’ allowance (DSA) from Student Finance England which helped me with any additional needs I had due to my dyslexia. This came in the form of equipment for my laptop that recognised my voice and dictated what I said onto text on the screen, which really helped me to write my essays. Also I got my own printer for use at home, a yearly allowance that could be used for paper and ink for the printer, as well as printing at the university library. I also received an audio recorder to record my lectures, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to transcribe everything that was being said and could instead just concentrate on absorbing the information being taught.