University, University, University, Where to start?
Everyone in year 12 and 13 in sixth form have this expectation that you should go to university and this will please your teachers and family. This is not the case at all, it is OK to do other things ie- apprenticeships, take a gap year, travel the world, work full time, this is ok and not a problem at all. However my story is that I followed the crowd, BUT I am so glad I did!
I never wanted to go to university all throughout my time at school, however I was in year 12 and thinking what an earth am I going to do with my life when I leave school? This was one of the hardest decisions ever, but I went along with it, I wrote my Ucas application and completed my personal statement, and soon enough results day was upon me, and I didn’t get the grades I needed to get into Queen Mary in London to study French. However my two options through clearance was Paris or Hull? I had literally 3 days to decide my future and it was the most crazy, sick feeling I have ever experienced. I went with Paris, and what a choice it was!
Well well well, moving to Paris the dream right? Don’t get me wrong when you visit for a weekend and have lots of spending money and get to visit the tourist attractions it’s incredible, and this is how I felt in my first few weeks, but it soon changed. The realisation of living in Paris, the cost’s of living in a major city, yes you guessed, VERY EXPENSIVE. However thanks to my student finance and the amazing support from my parents, I was able to live there for two years, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. My University was bang in the centre near the Champs Elysees, which meant being able to take a stroll there on my lunch break and in between lectures. Visiting the museums and tourist attractions each weekend, going up the Eiffel tower. This only lasted a couple of weeks, until seeing the Eiffel Tower just became a regular thing and I didn’t appreciate it any more, spending money that I didn’t really have and also the reality that I was actually at university and some work needed to be done!(I would do anything to see the Eiffel Tower every day now)
The actual ‘University Part’
Coming from sixth form, where you have a close relationship with teachers, get help with your work, revision classes etc, I soon realised that at University this wasn’t the case at all. To start with all my lectures were in French, which of course was very hard to start with, so so so much reading to do for each lecture and of course essay writing in which you get no help with at all. It all came with a lot of difficulty to me, and whilst being home sick now and again and missing my family and boyfriend, I had many mixed emotions. However I pulled through and here I am today, in my final and fourth year at The University Of Sheffield absolutely loving life. I would say, if you don’t like revising, essay writing and reading, then possibly University isn’t for you. However I would say, if you are unsure like I was, give it a go! Apply to a university, give it till Christmas and if it isn’t for you, there is nothing wrong with dropping out, and no matter what people say or think, you are not a failure. At the end of the day, life is to short, and we are here to do ‘Trial and error’!
Why I am where I am now
I ended up spending two out of my three years in Paris, after making a decision to transfer to another university back in England. Both of these being the best decisions I have ever made and when at times I didn’t think it was going to work out, but Hey Ho it did and I am super happy. As much as I loved Paris, I didn’t love the expensive lifestyle and not being able to live like a real Parisienne. (I do one day dream of going back and being rich and doing everything I wanted to do when I lived there) I was lucky that I had an amazing family and friends who often popped over to visit me, and of course my boyfriend who continued to support me through my decisions and also came out and spent many weeks with me. Overall it was an amazing experience!
In my first year, I was back at home (In England) for Christmas and the day before I was due to return, the Charlie Hebdo attacks happened. Which of course would make any 18 year old anxious and nervous to return alone to such a big city which was in devastation. However myself and flatmates returned and stuck together and got through it, got back into the swing of studying and enjoying Paris again.
Then in my Second year 13 November 2015 the second attacks happened, and I am so lucky and thank my lucky stars that we did not go out that evening. Myself and my mum were meant to go out for dinner & cocktails that evening, and fortunately for us we for some reason decided to stay in. This changed everything for me, my perception on life. I knew I didn’t want to stay in Paris, I soon fell behind with studying due to the fact our university closed for a while, our assignments got extended. Things just didn’t feel right. I was an Au pair for a french family who lived above one of the buildings that was attacked and on my return to work, it really hit me. The thousands of candles and flowers and floods of tears. I knew I had to get out, and sort myself out and look after my own health. I started looking into transferring university (I will do a separate blog on transferring university in case any of you are interested) It was a little complicated and hard work, getting references and re writing another personal statement, and explaining the reasons why I wanted to transfer.
However here I am, two years in Paris and two years at the University Of Sheffield. It’s the perfect mix for me, and I hope it will look good on my CV. I am so glad I stuck with it, and overcame all the troubles and experiences. I believe anyone at university will have their low times and it’s about being able to overcome it. At all university’s their is a welfare society, or professors or even students that you can talk too. Talk to your family and tell your friends how you’re feeling. It was speaking to my dear mum that encouraged me to do what’s right for myself.
Study hard, do the work, make memories and friends, and most of all ENJOY IT! Before you know it, it will all be over with and you will be a graduate. Here I am writing assignments for my final year, and I do not want it to end. (I’m even considering a conversion course into law) Maybe I am mad? But honestly I was the girl who thought I wouldn’t be capable of university, and now i’m near the end.
Thought this blog was perfect for today, as it marks the two year anniversary of the French November attacks 2015. Sorry if it was a little deep, it’s taken me a while to write about my time in Paris, and how much it did affect me. But nothing wrong with that, it’s made me so much stronger and now I am honestly as happy as can be. As one door closes, another opens. (Wise words from my grandad)
If you have any questions about University, Paris or anything, I would love you to leave a comment. My pictures are from when I lived in Paris, so I am sorry if they aren’t my best.