Emily's journey to university

The journey to University is a strange and complex one.

You start hearing about it very early on; barely into your GCSEs, people are telling you what Universities will be looking for in applicants, how it’s so different from how it used to be, and how you will spend thousands on books (the latter is a true story; I heard this from a guest speaker at my school!). So, by Year 10 I was set on my decision; University just wasn’t for me. However, by Year 12 and a few University visits later, I was becoming a little surer that it wasn’t all empty wallets and crying in the library but I was certainly still sceptical. I decided I would apply but have a Gap Year; this would give me more time to make the right decision.

With my Personal Statement written, I’d provisionally decided on Film Studies at the University of Hull and I even went on a week-long Film Summer School at the University which I loved every second of. I then decided that Film and Literature would be better for me as I was studying A Level English Literature. I then realised I’d have to actually be in the films if I studied any sort of Film studies which scared me so then I settled on Creative Writing and Literature as it was the Script Writing element of films, I enjoyed the most. I tore through all the course options, I still had no firm idea of what to do, and my Personal Statement rewrites were limitless!

At the 11th hour, my revelation of what I was destined to do came as I was sending off my University choices and Personal Statement to UCAS (English Literature at Hull University). I was about to hit ‘send’ when I thought “what do I love about books?”. The language. Quickly followed by “what do I love about creative writing?”. The language. Followed again by “what do I love about film?”. The language and subtle details in meaning.

BINGO! Linguistics; this was the course for me! It should have been obvious really; my best grades were always in English Language at both GCSE and A Level and I enjoyed these lessons more than any others. There was a small panic that Linguistics was a Science and Science was my least favourite subject. This fear was pushed aside by my favourite Teacher who was well versed in hearing about my ‘course change rants’; I sort her counsel every time I had a new idea. And so, my Personal Statement was written for the final time and I was over the moon when an offer came in from Hull University for a place in 2020 on the English Language, Linguistics and Culture course.

Then tragedy struck in May 2019 when the entire Language department at Hull University closed. I was heartbroken; my future was forever changed because now I couldn’t study the course, I had taken so long to realise I wanted to do plus I wouldn’t entertain studying it elsewhere (I was a bit of a home bird you see). So, after a few more conversations with my parents and Teachers I decided to go back to my first choice of English Literature - how bad could it be? Very bad as it turns out; I started crying in the middle of Sainsbury’s on one occasion!

By this point I had been on quite a journey; I had done a complete 180 on my initial views of University and now the prospect of three years of studying Literature was breaking my heart (a beautiful subject but just not one I felt I could truly dedicate my future to). What hurt the most is knowing how readily available Linguistics courses were in other Universities, Universities that weren’t though in the city I call home. Rational thinking though got the better of me (and a bit of time) and I finally decided on a course at the University of York. The decision to move out was a terrifying one as I usually try to avoid anxiety inducing situations. But never the less in September 2020 I would be moving to York.

The only thing standing in my way now was the Entry Requirements; ABB. The lead up to Results Day was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Results Day arrived and I felt my run of bad luck was continuing; ABC. One grade off what I needed to apply. Then another 180 happened; I told myself Literature at Hull would be ‘fine’, it’s what I wanted to do initially.

Then a friend suggested Clearing; with York’s new BBC Entry Requirements, I more than qualified for entry to the course. I felt like an imposter though; this was too easy a route, if I didn’t secure the original Entry Requirements then surely, I didn’t deserve to be there? A lot of research later I realised that the difference between getting in through Grades and getting in through Clearing was absolutely nothing. Your Lecturers will never be told what grades you got and you’re not obliged to tell anyone; it’s absolutely not a big deal. I was still terrified of moving away but despite this, I called Hull to be released into Clearing and then called York to ask to join their 2020 Linguistics course through Deferred Clearing.

It all seemed so easy; almost not worth the drama of the last few months. And so, as of 9th September 2019, eleven months after my original application and four months after my course was cancelled at Hull, I’m now all set to move to York in 2020 to study Linguistics.

I’m really enjoying my Gap Year with Yipiyap and I’m also really looking forward to starting University. I thought it would be so straight forward; you choose the course and University, you apply, and you go. Easy as that. But if things go wrong, don’t feel trapped; with a bit of hard work, persistence and a few tears (!) you can change your situation for the better.