A university with colleges or university without colleges? Does it make a difference? What are the purpose of colleges? Will it help me make friends? Am I going to care after first year?
These are all questions that were whizzing around my head when I was applying for Universities. In the whirlwind that is UCAS applications, whether to go to a university that has a college or not seems like one more little decision that you should make. So, what’s the deal? Will being in a college really make an impact on your time at University? For me, my time in Goodricke College will always be something that I’ll look back on fondly. Being in a college helped me to settle, make friends and find my place.
We all know Freshers is a great time for making friends. In my experience of Goodricke College’s Fresher’s week, I got to know many people in my flat, block and across the college, many of whom are my still my good friends today. As we know, not all friendships made in Freshers’ week last but Goodricke’s college did make the effort to provide something for everyone. The nights out varied in their themes- from explorers to dress as your degree. There were alternative events for those who preferred more chilled film nights and tie-dye making sessions. During the day, we were free to explore the beautiful City of York and get to know people from other flats and houses. Freshers is a great time to enjoy Uni life before any work starts and the Colleges at York allow you to do this.
Of course, accommodation is a big part of any college. I was feeling very nervous about coming to uni. I knew I wanted my room to be a place I could go to and relax if I was ever having a bad day or just needed some space. Your room is something you can make your own so I’d encourage you to utilise the space you have. If you’re a lover of colour, then bunting is a must! (Tip: Sticking things on your cupboard rather than walls won’t leave blue tack marks).
Then there’s the question of catered or non-catered. As someone who loves to cook, I knew I wanted to cook for myself, but if cooking is not up your street, I know James College offers pretty decent catered meals which will save you time and effort after a long day of lectures. My experience of self-catered was quite special in that my whole flat cooked together every night. The 7 of us only had to cook once a week and we did a roast every Sunday. This is something that started during freshers’ week and just never stopped. It just goes to show that you never know who you’ll be put with and you may just make life-long friends.
Goodricke, and a lot of other colleges too, are great for putting on activities and events. Just the other week in the Goodricke Nucleus (like a hub in the middle of the college), there was pumpkin carving for Halloween. Goodricke is great for little events like this and there are ones that you can get involved in too. I became the College Rep for Goodricke College Christian Union. We put on free toasties nights every week for the whole college. This was a great time to meet more people and enjoy good food together.
I went on one of the free trips that Goodricke put on which was the ‘Goodricke Gallop’- a three-hour long hike ending up on the Whitby beach front. This hike was around exam time and a great break from studies. The fish and chips at the end definitely made it worth it, as well!
So now that I’m in second year is Goodricke a thing of the past? Absolutely not! I still put on the toasties events every week with the college team. I’m still living with my flat from last year and in contact with friends from my block and college.
Colleges were quite a formative time for me. Goodricke made the effort to allow people to settle in. First year is not easy. Everything is new. Everything seems daunting but my college experience certainly made the journey a lot more fun. I wouldn’t change it!