First Term At University: Uni Update

I am back home for Christmas, ready to make the most of the festive season among family and friends, enjoying my month (ish) off university! As I write this, I'm in my cosy bed hoodie with my heavenly Christmas candle burning, in my lovely warm bed and it's making me very happy!

A week ago, I uploaded a video talking through my first term experience at university but as I just talked about it pretty much off the top of my head, I think some elements might have been missed or brushed over quickly. Therefore, I wanted to create a post to go along side it so if you've seen the video or want to watch the video (here), you can do so as there will be slightly different information in each but if you'd rather just read the post, that's also fine.

I think this is the aspect that I like most about university, particularly in comparison to my expectations, as my room is as spacious as a uni room could be... if it fits all of my stuff in, it can't be that bad! I like the darker wooden furniture as to me, that makes it seem a little less cheap or more sophisticated than some of the light wooden furniture found in most uni halls I've seen. The ensuite room is a decent size although for someone with long arms, washing your hair in the shower isn't the easiest of tasks. My only issue with my room is that my window has been broken since I moved in, so for a whole term, I haven't been able to open it, which also put me off using the radiator as I didn't want to make the room really hot and be unable to cool it down. Hopefully, when I go back this issue will be fixed but only time will tell. As for the kitchen/lounge area, I like how modern it is, which makes it easy to use and it has plenty of space for all of us to be in there at the same time, which is always nice. Having the TV in the kitchen also helps make it a friendly, sociable environment.

Regarding the people in my flat, I couldn't imagine living with anyone else. We all get on really well, the kitchen area is always nice and clean apart from during or just after cooking, which is understandable. More often than not, there's someone to talk to whenever you want company. I spend a lot of time laughing but we're also able to have deeper, more serious chats as well. We've done things and gone out as a flat quite a bit and generally, there's little, if anything, that would make the flat situation better. Initially, I was worried when I realised it was all girls as you can sometimes get cattiness or division but it's been great so far and I can't see that changing in the future. I'm sure I'll miss our daily chats and laughs whilst I'm back home as well, which I didn't expect when I first moved away.
I love how this photo sums up our personalities and relationship...

Course: Journalism
The course isn't exactly as I imagined but I'm not entirely sure how it differs, I just know that it does. It definitely helps you to practise skills in a hands-on manner, across a variety of platforms and styles of journalism, which is both useful and interesting. However, most of the hands-on bit is done in one day of the week, so that one day always seems so long and full of information compared to the others, which have been more theory based. It sometimes feels a little overwhelming, like you should know more than you do or do more than you do but I think this is the same across a lot of courses and a lot of universities. I also take shorthand as an add+vantage module (a module not part of your course), which is interesting and will definitely be a good extra skill to have as a journalist. 

As part of our course, we have to take part in news weeks, which occurred a couple of weeks ago and was successful given that it was our first news week and still pretty early on in the course but it was definitely challenging and frustrating at times. This news week focused on radio, so it wasn't the area I'm most interested in or comfortable doing but it was really interesting and opened my mind up to that aspect of journalism a bit more. Within the week, I ended up visiting a number of different places looking for stories and getting opinions, which pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot but has definitely helped to teach me more skills and give me a little more confidence in these areas. 
After our busy news week, we had my favourite day of the term. We received feedback in the morning and then had a ‘wrap party’ with a two truths and a lie kahoot about the people on our course and food and drink to wash it down with. It was a really fun day, talking to some people I don’t talk to that much, a bit more and generally jut having a fun, festive day.

The people on my course, for the most part, are great. There are few people I’ve spoken to and dislike and generally, the people that I don’t talk to much, when I do then talk to them, I get on with them and can enjoy the conversation.
Cally was one of, if not the first person I spoke to on the course and she was definitely the person I befriended first. Since then, I’d say she’s become a good friend and I really enjoy spending time with her. Along the way, we also made friends with Kim but I don’t remember exactly how. Again, she’s become a good friend that I could see remaining that way for many years and we seem to agree on so many things as we’re very similar people! If all goes to plan, the three of us, along with some of my flat, will be living together next year so I’m also looking forward to that.

Since starting the course, it’s helped confirm that I’d love to go into journalism, more specifically print journalism, but it’s also confirmed for me that there’s a narrow area within journalism that I want to go into as I don't want to compromise my ethical standards. 

Surprisingly, I enjoy cooking for myself each day and being able to go to the shop and pick out exactly what I want, ready to cook it exactly how I want. So far, there hasn’t been a day that I’ve not wanted to cook for myself, so I generally eat quite well. Although, I have eaten a heck of a lot of fruit since starting university in September, particularly watermelon.

Cleaning is never the most fun activity but I haven’t really minded doing it so far as it’s just a case of cleaning up after yourself which isn’t that difficult or time consuming as long as you keep up to date with it all. I know some university halls offer cleaning services either in the communal areas or in the rooms as well but we don’t have any of them available, which isn’t a problem for me as it’s not that challenging to do myself.

Although I’m at a city university, I do have my car with me, which I decided to do after the challenges of the first couple of weeks. I think having this definitely helps make things easier and happier as I can go and get my food shopping whenever I want to and have more choice about where to go so it’s more affordable and I can carry more stuff as it’s a shorter distance. It’s also useful for going to the gym as I kept my gym membership but the closest one is about half an hour from my university so I go on my days off and sometimes meet my mum there. However, the main reason I have my car and the thing it comes in most handy for, is for getting home as I go home every other weekend or so depending on what I have on at uni and at home. I like having the option to get back whenever I want or need to as it means I have options and know I can see my family more often. I definitely miss my family a lot when I’m away but I can make the most of my time at university and then come home and make the most of my time with my family as well.
I didn’t join any societies this term as I signed up for skiing/snowboarding and then changed my mind as I didn’t really want to go to the social nights every fortnight and didn’t feel as though I could just go to the slopes. However, I might consider it in 2017 depending on my other options as I did have snowboarding lessons for 6 weeks instead, which I really enjoyed and may have the opportunity to carry those on. I’ve wanted to learn to snowboard for years and it’s the activity at the top of my bucket list, so I was really happy when I got the opportunity to do it and I successfully learnt how to snowboard, although I’m not good at it yet… hopefully with some practise, I'll be a decent boarder!

Overall, it was a good first term and improved a lot after the first couple of weeks, which were incredibly difficult. I definitely think my experience would be different if I didn’t have my family to support me, two great course mates (and other good course mates but two in particular) and four great flatmates that all help make my time at university fun and interesting. It’s definitely made me more excited about what 2017 at university holds.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experience, if you did and want to see more from me, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner to seen when I next upload. Thank you for reading this post.

Love, Steph x

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