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Hello, my name is Dan and I am the Outreach Assistant based at York St John University. In this blog I wanted to share my experience of university for those who may be interested in going to university or those who want to know what to expect if you are heading to university in the near future.

After finishing my GCSEs I went onto study my A-Levels, I chose Biology, Psychology, Geography and Physics. I chose these subjects as I was not 100% sure what I wanted to do for a career so I thought I would choose a bit of a variety of subjects which would keep as many options open to me as possible, I also considered which subjects I was enjoying at school.

In Year 12 I was still unsure as to exactly what I wanted to do at university, but I had a few ideas mainly Marine Biology or something to do with sport. I knew my passions were in sport and helping people and so I looked at courses that would allow me to work in sport and give me the opportunity to help people. After deciding I wanted to work in sport, I was advised to do some work experience to make sure it was what I wanted to do. I did a week of work experience at a sports science clinic and loved it. The week involved me shadowing members of the team in their day to day activities, mainly speaking to clients and providing treatments for their injuries. I learnt loads about the job role and got to ask plenty of questions to make sure it was the right role for me.

Once I had decided what I wanted to do I needed to start to look at which university I wanted to attend. Having lived in a small town in the North West the idea of a large university in a big city didn’t appeal to me and so I wanted a university that wasn’t too big in a city that I would be comfortable living in. After scrolling through the long list of universities that offered my chosen course, I made a short list of universities the that I was interested in. They were a bit of a mix of campus based and city-based universities and varied in size. I then booked onto open days for each of them as I wanted to visit the universities first and get a feel for the campus’ and cities. Although all the universities I looked at had great qualities, York St John University stood out as the university I would learn best at, they were a smaller university and the class sizes were considerably smaller which sited my learning style better, it also felt like a university where you could get involved with many other aspects of student life, and so it was an easy choice for me.

When the time came to head to university, I was excited but also very nervous about how I was going to cope living away from home and away from my family and friends. However, as many people will tell you, everyone is in the same boat, everyone moving to university will feel anxious, but the university will support you. The first week at university is called Freshers Week, it is aimed at getting students to meet each other to help people settle in and make new friends. During my fresher’s week the Students’ Union put on events all week and offered something for everyone. On the Wednesday there was the Freshers Fair, where sports and societies show off their club and freshers can sign up to join. I knew I wanted to play hockey as I have played all my life and so I joined the university team, and this turned out to be the best decision I made at university. I made friends for life and went on to captain the men’s first team and in my third year became the club captain!

My three years at university were amazing and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. My top tips for students looking at university is to make sure you do your research about which university you want to go to, book onto open days, whether that be in person or online, as it will make your decision easier once you have seen the university and campus itself. Also, I would say never feel pressured to rush into going to university because you think you should or because your friends are going, don’t be afraid to take time to make sure the university and course is right for you. But most importantly enjoy every minute of it, three years will fly by!

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