A Country Girl in the Big(ish) City

Some of you will be off to university this September for the very first time.  If you are then I expect that you have already submitted your UCAS applications or are in the process of doing so.  It’s such an exciting, nerve-wracking time of your life.   Personally, I think it was worth the stress dreams.

When I applied for university, like many of you I’m sure, I knew I was going to have to move away from home.  Coming from a tiny village in Cornwall, there wasn’t a lot of choice close to home and, to be honest, I was excited about the prospect of a new adventure.  I knew I wanted to move away and experience something away from the countryside, which can be more than slightly suffocating as a teenager who wants nothing more than to see the world.  In my mid-teens I had to have several operations on my feet, which meant that I was unable to learn to drive when everybody else did.  Then I had exams and a lot of the summer between college and starting uni, I was doing work experience and performing for my dance team abroad.  There was just never time, and so I had to get away, I felt so restricted and I couldn’t wait to embrace freedom.

I went to open days at both city and campus universities, and quickly decided that a city university was going to be the one for me.   Campus universities just felt as secluded as being at home in our village to me, and I knew I wanted something different.  I understand that many people find comfort in the idea of a campus university, and everybody has different requirements for their perfect university choice.  But, I knew I didn’t want to go to a university that required a bus or train journey to get to the city.  I initially chose Manchester University as my top choice but wasn’t accepted in the end.  My second choice for some reason was a campus uni?? I think I had a moment of self-doubt when finishing off my application.  As soon as I knew I wasn’t going to Manchester, I also knew that I definitely wasn’t going to Bath Spa either, it just wasn’t for me.   I went through clearing and wound up being accepted into Cardiff University, somewhere that I did get an offer for but ultimately rejected in favour of Manchester.

After I had been accepted into Cardiff University I went and visited the city to get the feel for the place.  I loved Cardiff so much.  It’s a capital city and so has loads going on, but it is still small enough to easily learn to find your way around.  I never felt unsafe in Cardiff, right from the beginning I felt like the city had adopted me, and I was suddenly a part of this huge, bustling, multicultural community.  I’ll be honest, my first day walking around in a city I didn’t know all by myself was a little daunting.  But, oh, the joy of being able to walk to TESCO Express!!  I think I adapted to city life fairly quickly, and always itched to get back during the holidays.  Living in a city gave me so much freedom.  I didn’t depend on anyone else to be able to do anything for the first time in my life.  Cardiff has become a huge part of my identity and some of my absolute best friends and memories were made there.

I love Cornwall so so much, don’t get me wrong.  Growing up here has massively shaped who I am and I am so grateful for my slightly wild childhood.  I can’t wait to bring my own kids up on those vast beaches and surrounded by the culture that my life has been so intertwined with.  But going to university in a city has really shown me where I need to be right now.  I need to be where all the hustle and bustle is and be involved in the bigger side of life.  So thank you Cardiff, and uni, for showing me what’s out there waiting for me.   And I hope all of you sorting out that tedious and sometimes scary university planning are doing well.  Look around and work out what’s going to be best for you.   Don’t settle for something you’re not happy with.  You’ll smash it.

If you’re in uni or are a graduate then leave your own experiences in the comments, whether they’re similar or completely differ!!  I’m interested to see other people’s feelings towards this big life adjustment.

Anyway, watch this space,

R x

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