Adventures · University

University Open Days

Suddenly, literally overnight, I became old enough to go university hunting and attend open days. I didn’t agree to this. I still can’t control my laughter when someone says Uranus, I struggle pronouncing my letter ‘R’s’ and ‘Vesuvius’ and I definitely can’t eat without getting it around my mouth and staining my clothes. And without warning, here I am, old enough, to look at universities 173 miles away to potentially live there next year.

I attended my very first university open day on Saturday 28th May. Everything got incredibly real, incredibly fast. My parents and I woke up at the inhumane hour of half 4 (!!!) to drive 15 miles to catch a train to London at half 6. It takes about an hour and half to get to Euston and I somehow managed to nod off half way through reading a chapter of If I Was Your Girl. Even the train tannoy didn’t wake me… *DING DONG, the next stop will be Milton Keynes. Make sure to have all your belongings with you when leaving the train.* We caught the Tube from London Euston to Waterloo to catch another train to Farnham. Three trains (ish- if you count the Underground as a train) before 9am- I can’t remember the last time I had been this productive. This routine was repeated a grand total of three times only with a different destination from London; Hatfield, Winchester and Kingston.

The University of Creative Arts (UCA) offers a BA Hons Journalism and Creative Writing course which is my DREAM to study. I couldn’t think of a course that better suits me, except from musical theatre journalism… if that exists. (Well, I thought it was until I attended Middlesex University Open Day but more on that later…)

The University specialises in Creative Arts as stated in its name and it has facilities to cater for every single artistic course. As a result, this makes me question whether attending this university will be the best suit for me considering I wouldn’t be able to utilise what the uni offers to its full potential. Apart from the odd camera that I may need to borrow, I can’t imagine the Journalism and Creative Writing course needing hi-tech woodwork equipment. Seriously, I didn’t know there were so many creative courses.

Farnham was such a pretty little town teeming with coffee shops and had restaurants such as Prezzo, Pizza Express and Bill’s but only had one nightclub outside the Student Union. I’m by no means a teenager who craves the social experiences of getting drunk but I don’t want to be inflicted to a city with no buzz. I feel like I’d rather retire to this town rather than move to it at the age of 18. This was highlighted through returning to London for a couple of hours before catching the train home. The difference in vibes was overwhelming.

On Saturday 4th June, we repeated the early morning trip to London to catch a train from Kings Cross station to Hatfield. The University of Hertfordshire was one of the first universities I had properly researched because of its close proximity to London so I was disappointed during its open day to find that it lacked in atmosphere. It had the necessary facilities but I couldn’t imagine myself spending three years there.

The University was spread across two different campuses. The campus in which I would have been studying at seemed to lack in the pizzazz that I need in a university whereas the other seemed to have all the social buzz. We didn’t stay too long at this open day because it clearly wasn’t for me, sadly.

On Friday 10th June, I skipped a day at college much to my dismay to visit the University of Winchester which I loved. The major let-down was upon arrival where we were greeted by a handful of striking lecturers. It was sad to see industrial action taking place on an important day for prospective students. I strongly feel that there is a time and a place and an open day isn’t appropriate for either.

Winchester University is set upon a campus that is visually beautiful. The grounds are massive and green. The buildings are equally beautiful. The course was presented by a local chap who doesn’t personally teach the subject sue to being a Dean so therefore, the presentation was lacking in areas however that being said, I haven’t been put off from choosing the university in my top five choices.

The next university we visited was Middlesex on the 11th June. THIS IS THE UNIVERSITY OF MY DREAMS! I came with the intention of wanting to study Journalism and Creative Writing. Only two people (myself included) turned up to the course discussion presentation. Instead of turning us away due to the low turnout, they spent an hour talking to us in detail the requirements of the course. It turns out that Journalism is the course for me rather than a combined honours. I thought it was extremely professional and actually quite nice for the lecturers to sit down and discuss the course. I’m sure other universities would have cancelled the talk because of the lack of people.

The university in itself is incredible. The campus is quite big and has the combination of urban style buildings with a large garden (ish) area. The student union is impressive. The guests they have in, Carol Ann Duffy and David Nicholls just to name a couple, is amazing. This is definitely going to be my first choice when applying. May I just add… it’s only five tube stops away from Camden Town too.

I had such high hopes for Kingston University Open Day which we attended on the 29th June. I’ve had my sights set upon this university for months and it seemed rather lacking in some aspects though this could be due to the refurbishment that is currently being undertaken. All students I’ve spoken to and know personally absolutely love the university and Kingston itself is such a wonderful area. I need to carefully consider if I were to apply.

My final open day was Salford University on 8th July. MediaCity UK is simply amazing. There is so much opportunity on the doorstep and yet I didn’t learn much about it from the Journalism course presentation. The journalism lecturers seem very knowledgable across various fields of the profession and the course is massively flexible in terms of modules taken. I’ve got my eye on Celebrity journalism.

The accommodation for the university was a distance away making public transport a must. You all know how I feel about busses, sigh! I’ll definitely be applying for Salford University because it does seem like an experience that is worth living.

I don’t feel old enough for these experiences. Someone help me. I’ve run out of Open Days and I have space to apply for at least one more university!

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