Hello, my name’s Jade and I'm an Outreach Assistant at Uni Connect. I’m going to tell you a little bit about my University experience in the hopes that sharing my story will help you understand what uni could be like. I studied BA (hons) in Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds after finishing a Btec at college, and they were the best three years of my life.
There are many benefits in going to uni, better job prospects being one of them, however that was not my main drive. I decided to go to university because of my love of learning, for meeting new people, and experiencing new things - let’s not forget that added benefit of moving away from home. My first day of lectures I was walking through the university union getting myself some lunch, to find Tinie Tempah performing a set in the uni club; that was when I knew I’d made the right decision. Coming from a small rural town where nothing much happens to meeting a famous rapper on my lunch was incredible to me, and only the start of more life changing experiences.
As much as I say university was an incredible experience, there are times where it can be tough. Late nights cramming information for exams, multiple essays, and assignments on the go and procrastination level 100! My top tip for surviving these times is to surround yourself with supportive people. Get to know what support the university can provide you with whether that be academic support, careers guidance, or maybe mental health advice. I wish I had made more use of my support system as it may have helped me to ease stress, build confidence in my abilities and get more enjoyment out of the good times
Speaking of good times, I want to talk to you about the best part of my experience, joining a society…
Most universities offer a freshers week, where the university and its union is full of events and activities to support you in your transition as well as providing you with the opportunity to socialise. At my freshers week, there was a fair with stalls representing all of the societies (clubs) the union had to offer. I have always been into dancing and I found one society that looked perfect for me. In my first year I experienced: classes with professional choreographers, performing in competitions across the UK and internationally, socials including fancy balls/award shows, and working with people who are now my best friends. In my second year, I became a committee member, involved in hiring choreographers, running classes/events, and ensuring members had a great time. Finally, in my 3rd year at uni, I wanted to take this one step further and became the university unions Dance Representative. I was supporting 16 dance societies by communicating to the union their wants and needs as well as running large events and socials. The skills I’ve developed throughout this experience have set me up for success within my career: responsibility, communication, creativity, problem-solving, customer service, leadership, decision making… I could go on.
It’s important to remember the university experience isn’t just about achieving a qualification, it can be about personal growth through the opportunities and experiences you will access. University is what you make it!