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    I didn’t Expect to Love my Second Choice

    posted: 1st July 2017, 9:00am
    tags: HUU

    Joelle A. Banson, Aged 23, 3rd Year, Biomedical Sciences


    On August 15th 2012, I failed to meet the conditions of my offer.  After scouring the clearing pages, I settled on a course as close as possible to my original one. Still feeling stung at having missed my first choice, I planned to immerse myself in my studies and eventually move on. 


    Following fresher’s week I made some firm friends at a society social and began to get into the swing of higher education. I quickly realised that although my initial way of thinking had its merits, my mistake was in viewing university as simply a means to an end. 


    It surprised and delighted me to learn that the library could be both a social and academic haven – a place to relax with friends as well as to focus on study.  I quickly discovered the value of peer review, the satisfaction in sharing resources with course members and the feeling of having won a small victory after handing in a report right before the deadline.  Then of course there were the endless coffee runs; the society trips, talent shows, parties, dinners and the week long University elections full of exciting, innovative campaigning.


    Even the more mundane, day to day tasks like navigating the University intranet, managing emails and getting to grips with sudden room changes and approaching test dates are distinguishable by their contribution to the unique routine of university life. 


    The exam period is a valuable reassertion of a main objective of University education:  developing the mind and gaining the knowledge necessary to get a degree and it is difficult not to feel driven to work hard at the sight of so many others doing the same.


    No one was more surprised than I was to find myself defending my degree – explaining its merits and challenges and feeling overjoyed at understanding a concept or achieving a good grade. I quickly evolved into a keen biomedical student – explaining the ins and outs of fungal infection to a law student for fun, becoming inspired by lecturers passionate about their subjects and finding ways to deepen my knowledge by attending out of class seminars on aquatic science and forensic criminology.


    But what my first year of university really showed me is that a degree should be a foundation one onto which life skills, friendships and unforgettable experiences can be built. Having shed my former preconceptions, I began to eagerly anticipate what the following years would bring.

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