Friday, 21 September 2012

They think it's all over

Results day went by in a dizzying blur. My friends and I had solemnly sworn not to look at our results online, and instead we were planning on doing this extremely old fashioned thing where you actually bother to drag yourselves into school and laboriously tear open a big fat envelope to reveal your results and consequently, your fate (gulp). The best way to approach results day is as one massive party, whether in commiserations or congratulations, so we had a sleepover, woke up satisfyingly late, before lazily suggesting to each other that we might actually want to get up and find out if we were actually going to have somewhere to study for the next 3 to 4 years.

As we were getting ready, I heard a confused grunt from one of my friends. "Huh. Email from UCAS. That's weird. 'Congratulations, your place has been confirmed'...."

So, the celebrations started prematurely! In the end it was a nice way for all of us to find out - no confused fumbling through lots of pieces of paper from different exam boards, no endless refreshing online - just an email, bam, you made it, done - and once you've made it, the actual results don't really matter!

It feels extremely strange to have finished school. I've been on holiday so long I barely have any idea what day of the week it is (no, this is not a joke). Teasing my little sister (who is just starting Sixth Form and is already worrying way too much about applying to university) about the fact that she has to get up early and do homework and is tragically prevented from sleeping in until lunch time is pretty awesome. It feels like a minor injustice that they've decided to do up the Sixth Form common room as soon as we have vacated the premises, but I suppose I'll live with it.

I have a few pieces of advice for anyone lazing around and waiting for university to start, whether you've got a week and a bit to go like me, or whether you happen to be reading this in 12 months' time. Number one - don't find yourself lumbered with a load of leftover tasks related to school. I find myself partly in charge of organising the leavers' yearbook, which isn't done, and it is an absolute nightmare. The fact that everyone is being siphoned off to different corners of the country (or the globe) means it is pretty much impossible to get things you might need, such as money or plain old yearbook content, from them. Seriously, be organised! I am the Queen of Procrastination with a BA in Timewasting and a PhD in Laziness, which is why I didn't decide to get all this stuff done sooner. It's hindering my ability to keep up with uni things that ought to be the centre of my attention, which definitely isn't good. Get yourselves good teams to deal with this stuff and jointly share the pressure - ideally, waaaaay before exams are even on the horizon.

That point about being organised also applies to uni proper. As soon as you hear those good old magic words 'Congratulations! Your place to study [insert uni subject here] at [insert uni here] has been confirmed,' you will get inundated with a literal avalanche of forms, requests, letters and opportunities. I've lost track and have already begun to fear that I'll rock up on October 1st and be informed that I forgot to sign on the dotted line somewhere, and as a result have been relegated to spending another year flicking listlessly through A level revision guides - strangely enough, meeting my offer hasn't destroyed my paranoia that I didn't really get in after all. An example - I had to return a form for my university identity card that lets me into the libraries and other restricted places; I needed to attach a photo, and was sternly warned that if I did not do so, I may have to have one taken on site. Given the likelihood of such a photo ending up looking something like this, I hastily returned the documents.

It's not all doom and gloom - I've heard about accommodation too! Accommodation varies wildly from uni to uni and from this-part-of-the-uni to that-part-of-the-uni - you hear stories of palatial residences with widescreen televisions and free popcorn machines (possibly a small exaggeration), and also stories of leaky, dingy shack-like establishments. Some places (like my college, yippee) give you an element of choice, such as whether you want to shell out a few extra bucks to avoid having to share a bathroom with a corridor of mysterious neighbours. It's up to you whether you want to take up these opportunities, but one thing you absolutely don't want to do is return all the forms late and then end up with the worst room by default.

Currently, once yearbook related nightmares have sorted themselves out, I am supposedly getting on with my reading list. I've laid out a series of intriguing looking texts on the floor, as though looking at their uniformly grey covers is going to help me somehow absorb the secrets within. I've also surprisingly been set a series of pre-term Maths problems for Economics in that 'reading' list; as a creature who is not particularly mathematically minded but has somehow managed to hide that defect up to now, I'm feeling vaguely pessimistic, but I'll see how it goes.

A final piece of good news (although I can imagine some people going 'oh no, not more') - I'll be continuing blogging through my first year at uni! So all the embarrassing things I get up to over the next 12 months will now be recorded for me to look back on in shame at some point down the road.

Hope you all got what you wanted from results day! As always, any comments, questions, queries, rants - I'm happy to answer them in the comments below!

Emma xxx

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