Personal Experiences

My University Experience 4

We’re already on part 4? Yeah I know thanks for sticking with it. Right so where did we get to? You’ve already heard about first year and my trials and tribulations finding accommodation and my first birthday away from home. In part 4 I’ll move onto second year of university. This is the year I really settled down and got serious about my university work.

In 2nd year I decided to bring my car to university. I had a blue Ford Fiesta 2006 3dr hatchback. It was my 3rd car and I loved the freedom that came with driving. I was the only one out my friends to have my car at uni so naturally I became the go to person for lifts etc. I didn’t mind though.

driving notts
The road system in Nottingham angered my soul

I also managed to secure myself a weekend job working in a private hospital in admin. My hours were usually Sat 7am-2:30pm and Sun 2 – 6pm with the option to work during the week. It was a comfortable job. Great hourly rate and it gave me all the freedom I needed whilst studying. But the pressure was on and I had loads of assignments to complete. My social life went from 100 to 0. I hardly went out and the times I did socialise was a case of bumping into a friend or course mate in the library. It became my routine to wake up, get ready, pack my lunch and spend hours in the library. I thought that way I would ensure I was getting the work in.

concentration 2011

I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve top marks. But I ended up contributing to my own demise. Spending hours in the library meant I lost concentration, I burnt myself out. For once in my life I was taking education seriously, perhaps too seriously. If I received anything below a 1st class I felt like I had failed. I would question lecturers for giving me a low mark, often causing me to ignorantly conclude they didn’t mark me fairly. Perhaps I should have sometimes accepted that I didn’t quite meet the assessment criteria!  But I unfortunately developed a small sense of arrogance when it came to my ‘new found’ intelligence. I never wanted to admit I was wrong. My work had to be perfect. I couldn’t submit a piece of work I thought wasn’t excellent.  Although I had the abilities to write a 1st class piece of work I would let stress and doubt get the better of me. I would often miss out on top marks because of a few minor details. I now know those minor errors could have been avoided if I had relaxed and not put so much pressure on myself.  In the end it costed me my 1st class degree that I wanted so badly.

But nonetheless, I don’t live in regret. I live to learn and develop.

feb 2011 smarter
Spelling has never been my strong point

If I was able to speak to my younger self now. I would say. “Natalie, don’t stress and panic over these assignments. You have excellent ideas and a unique way of thinking…take your time and write”. Had I given myself the opportunity to freely express my thoughts without being so concerned about the grades, I would have consistently got top marks. I would have achieved the grades that I wanted.

So for any of you that are at university or have decided to do further study, remember don’t stress. Don’t overthink. Write what you know and then go back and keep on improving it.

**My 2nd year of uni was a defining time for me. This was when I truly realised who I was and where I wanted to be. Come back on Friday where I’ll talk about the importance of volunteering at uni and my experience balancing uni, work and volunteering**



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