Hundreds of textbooks read, numerous hours spent in the universities library and a serious lack of sleep, but after three years I can say I have finished my degree! Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past three years, then you are probably aware that I studied law at the University of Chester.
Prior to beginning my journey at Chester, I spent months deliberating what I wanted out of my future. At first, I considered an apprenticeship so that I could get straight into a job after completing two years of college, however, after months of searching I could not find anything suitable for me. My college teacher prompted me to contemplate University, so I began researching courses and universities. My initial intention was to study nursing however this soon changed when I began looking at the vast range of degrees you can study, with law being my key focus. After dragging my mum on several open days, I had decided that the University of Chester was my favourite, particularly because of the comforting feeling I got from the institution itself, the layout of the law degree and the beautiful location. Also, the fact that my mum said it was the nicest we had looked at, and mums always know best, right? So, that following week I wrote my personal statement and applied through UCAS. Within weeks I was thrilled to receive my unconditional offer which I accepted and I began preparing over the summer to move out on the 23rd September 2014.
The day soon arrived, that morning I drove up to Chester bright and early to collect my keys to my student accommodation. My mum followed behind with most of my stuff because my little Fiat could not hold even the half of it. On the day, I was filled with mixed emotions, I was leaving my family behind where I would have to live independently for the first time, I was nervous about meeting everyone and after reading bad reviews on student accommodation, I was not sure what to expect.
For me, Chester is just over a two-hour drive from my family home so that was perfect, as it meant that I was not close to home but I was never too far away if I wanted to come home for a weekend. I certainly took advantage of this as I drove home every other weekend in the first year to see my family and friends. Additionally, this meant I could bring my washing home for my mum instead of paying £5 per wash on campus! Let’s just say she wasn’t the most impressed with this, on the other hand, she was happy to have me home frequently so it worked well.
Anyway…when I arrived in Chester, I was designated room 114 on the first floor of Kingsley Lodge. Initially, I thought that meant there would be over a hundred of us within the building, however to my surprise the accommodation only housed 35 students. As I opened my door I was shocked at how small my room was but I assumed everyone’s would be the same. Oh, I was wrong…I was given one of the smallest rooms in the building nonetheless, it soon became cosy once I filled it with my belongings. The strange thing about Kingsley Lodge was that no two rooms were the same, some had ensuites, others just toilets and some had just a random sink. My room had a separate bathroom to the room with a toilet and sink and I used the communal shower which I shared with four other people in my hallway. The building itself was quite dated with rumours suggesting it was once a care home, whether that’s true I do not know. The location of the accommodation was ideal for walking into town and to university, each taking no more than ten minutes.
Within twenty-four hours of being in Chester, I had made friends which I am still close to today. After the first week, I had completely settled in and unpacked my belongings. Time flew by, and before I knew it the first term was over and we were all going back home for the Christmas holidays. I never thought I would feel the way I did, but I missed my little room, I missed Chester, I missed my friends. After returning from the Christmas break, the next few months also whizzed by. For me, I remember having such much fun and ‘banter’ every day between and after lectures. In fact, the first year was such a breeze in comparison to second and third year! On results day, I was so happy to have passed which meant I would be commencing on to the second year of my degree.
For the second year, I had to move out of university student halls, which I was sad about as I had enjoyed the first year so much. Not to mention, how cheap and affordable it was! Myself and five of the girls I had become close to viewed so many properties in search of finding a ‘nice’ house. To our disappointment, we struggled to find a house we could agree on, particularly because everyone wanted double beds, a lounge to socialise in and a kitchen which looked like it had been cleaned regularly. So, with the bar set so high we really struggled in finding a property which accommodated everyone’s needs. 1647962 houses later, we found a six bedroom house on Ermine Road which was better than everything else we had viewed so we settled and signed the letting agreement that same day. We struck lucky because only two of the bedrooms had doubled when we viewed but by the time we moved in our landlords had replaced the beds so that every room was a double. Despite the twenty-minute walk away from university and the increase in rent, we were happy to be living together for the final two years of our University experience.
The standard of work expected of us felt like a sudden leap from the first year. I continuously doubted my abilities to succeed as the pressure and workload only seemed to grow. Some of the modules we covered were extremely challenging, particularly Human Rights Law. Nonetheless, I surprised myself in achieving a first for that module, which totally shocked me! I was so proud of what I was achieving which gave me the courage to continue. One of the modules of the second year gave me the chance to participate in a German Exchange programme. The experience was invaluable because we got to visit the European Court of Human Rights and learn about the differences of the German constitution in comparison to our own. The trip was very interesting and allowed me to make friends with other people on my course who I had not spoken to before.
Before I knew it, the second year was completely over! On results day, I was happy to have achieved a 2:1 overall for the year which will contribute a third to my overall degree. So, without further ado let us get on to the third and final year…
With no doubt, the third year struck hard! I thought the step from first to the second year was big so I anticipated stepping up my game for the third year. However, I was no way near prepared to take on the challenges it had in store for me. The third year allowed us to choose five topics of interest ranging from Intellectual Property Law to Medical Law. I tactically selected modules which I believed I would be able to excel in based on the method of assessment used. I am due to receive my exam results which will determine my degree classification this upcoming Monday. This makes me extremely nervous, I just hope all my efforts have paid off!
Due to my degree being finalised it became time to move out of our house on Friday the 23rd June 2017. This was an extremely sad time for my friends and I as we had become so close over the three years, supporting each other through every struggle. We all live quite spread out across the country nonetheless, I have no doubts that I will retain contact with them as think I have made friends for life.
So, that’s my three-year university experience, in a nutshell. Perhaps you are considering going to university? From a personal perspective, I would say “DO IT” because I enjoyed every moment and can confidently say I made the right choice. Although everyone is different so I appreciate that university is not necessarily the best choice for us all. If you are considering further education the only thing I would recommend is research. Research the range of degrees, consider the career you want to pursue after your degree and visit plenty of universities to ensure you pick the one that is right for you.
Until next time,