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How I’ve changed at university

University is an amazing experience; you learn so many different skills, both inside and outside of the classroom. Everyone starts university at different points in their life. Some may be 18 and leaving home for the first time, others may be older or staying at home while they study. No matter the circumstance, the university experience helps you to develop numerous skills and grow as a person. So, I’m going to tell you how this experience has changed me.

Then

I had previously lived independently, alone and hadn’t really considered university as something I wanted to do. So, living away from home wasn’t a huge deal. I figured there was nothing more I would learn in this respect (oh, how wrong I was!).

I started college at 20, completing an Access to Higher Education course in Business Studies. While at college, I was still pretty sure that university wasn’t something I wanted to do. After completing a placement at Channel 4, this changed; I was sure I wanted to begin a career in the media industry and started studying Media Studies at university when I was 22. Before beginning university I had undiagnosed dyslexia, major confidence issues and anxiety. I remember crying over almost all my assignments, feeling like I couldn’t complete them and achieve a pass, let alone do well. When it came to presentations, I dreaded them. I would stress about them for weeks beforehand and would have panic attacks close to the time and while doing them. It’s safe to say I hated presenting.

Now

For my first year I decided to live in halls. Remember when I said there was nothing else to learn about independent living? Well, going from living alone to having 7 flatmates was a complete learning curve. I had to get used to sharing spaces with people and to have patience with a load of 18 year olds who were still just figuring things out – I would have never predicted teaching someone to wash dishes and do laundry. So while they were figuring out how to be independent, I learnt to be patient, understanding and considerate towards individuals at different stages in their life.

So like I say, in college I was a ball of anxiety and self-doubt. In my first year, I still had a lot of self-doubt. One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is to take criticism and use it to improve myself and my work. I’ve learnt that no piece of work is ever perfect, and that’s okay. I now love presenting, actually more than I love writing. Even during first year, I would be so excited to present to the class. As a student ambassador, I’ve spoken in front of parents and students numerous times alongside my professors. I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities, admittedly I am still learning and do still have self-doubt and anxiety. Again, that’s okay and it’s what life is all about – taking experiences and learning from them. University is a big experience and there is so much to be taken from it.

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Rachel Bulman • 8th December 2020


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