University Life - the Students' Perspective

On Friday 6th September, the Sixth Form were given an insight into ‘University Life’ by four former Calne Girls. 2017 Leavers, Georgia (Cardiff), Phoebe (Bristol), Carina (Birmingham) and Yasmin (Cambridge), kindly returned to Calne to talk about their own experiences of being a student at their respective universities.

Thinking about life beyond Calne can be a daunting experience but our Leavers reassured the Sixth Form that life at university is indeed something to look forward to and, if you ask the right questions along the way, you'll be sure to make the right choices when it comes to selecting your university, course and accommodation. They all acknowledged how useful Open Days were at helping with this but they also cautioned against going to too many! It was clear that you will end up enjoying wherever you go and that their time at Calne ensured they were ready to make the most of the opportunities you find at university. They all believed that you should get involved in the huge range of Clubs and Societies on offer and that this is a great way to meet new friends outside your student halls and course cohort. Although none of our Leavers actually took gap years, they didn’t regret this, as they felt there were other options to take time out: a year in industry, a year studying abroad or, having put your studies behind you, taking time off after graduating.

They talked about how the level of work at university is a significant step up from A Level and you shouldn’t be disheartened if you don’t get top marks at first. For instance, essay writing has a completely different style to the one used at school and it takes time to adapt. It’s also very important to work independently, have flexibility of thinking, talk through ideas and, if you don’t understand something, ASK! It’s easy to get anxious but, remember, every fresher is in the same boat. When it comes to looking for a job, they all spoke highly of their university Careers Service and said that you need to be proactive in seeking them out. They have internship opportunities, networking events and careers days, and they can also support you with mock interviews.

They all agreed that it’s important to study something you enjoy, make the most of all the opportunities that come your way and, as Mrs Visser was remembered remarking, ‘University is the biggest indulgence of your life!’ as it represents a special time where you are able to spend time learning about a subject you love so you should ensure that you embrace it and indeed look forward to it.

Miss Lianne Aherne, Director of Sixth Form, Higher Education & Professional Guidance