August 2014 marks 10 years since I received my A-level results. Might seem surprising then that I’m only just about to start the 3rd year of my degree, but this post will explain how I ended up here…
In 2004, I sat my A-levels and was desperately hoping for an offer from the University of Manchester to study International Management with French. Offers came in including, thankfully, one from Manchester, and I waited nervously for results day. I didn’t get the results they’d asked for and was gutted, but I rang the department at Manchester and they said that as I was on deferred entry, because I was taking a gap year, they could confirm my place for the following year despite my results. So I took off to Canada on my gap year excited for everything the next few years would bring (Canada is incredible by the way; try to visit at some point in your life).
I got back from Canada and was so excited to be moving to Manchester and starting uni. I lived in halls of residence in a flat with nine others (two of which are still very good friends of mine) and I started attending lectures and seminars. Just a few months in I realised how unhappy I was. I wasn’t enjoying my course at all so I made the decision to leave uni but to stay in Manchester and find a job.
After five years in Manchester, I moved back to Birmingham and have been here ever since. During Summer 2012, I was working on a temporary contract at Land Rover in Solihull and applying for permanent roles. It suddenly hit me that I wasn’t that interested in any of the jobs I was applying for and that I really just wanted to follow my passion for sport and somehow find work in that industry. After talking things through with my family, I decided that (despite it being the second week of September) I would call a few universities in the area who had places available through clearing for sport-based courses.
From the first call to UCB, I knew it was where I wanted to go. The staff were so helpful and made the application process really easy (especially as I hadn’t applied through UCAS as normal). The information I received about the BA Sports Management course made me realise straight away it was the course for me and within a few days I came to the uni, filled out my application, completed enrolment and, once again, became a uni student.
Not a very straightforward way to get a degree but I’m now less than a year away from achieving something I never dreamed would be possible.
My advice to any student, or anyone looking at coming to uni, is that you’re never alone. Anxiety, excitement, uncertainty and frustration are experienced by so many others, too. Find something you’re passionate about and interested in and you’ll be hooked. And if you’re struggling and unhappy, there really is always someone you can go to. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a lecturer or any of the wonderful Guild members (you’ll find them in the office on the ground floor opposite the resource centre).
Don’t be afraid of speaking up and asking for support. It makes tough times a lot easier and means you’ll be able to make the most of your time at uni and at UCB.