My clearing experience can only really be described as an emotional rollercoaster of events. There were times of joy, excitement, stress, worry and overall relief as I went through the process. I hope my story will reassure anyone who, like me, worries about rejection, failure, stress, and the unknown. Trust me, if I, a rather feeble person all-around, can make it through unscathed, then I’m certain you can too.
It started, as you can imagine, on results day
When I opened that envelope and read my results, I was gutted. I didn’t have the grades to get into York, and I just felt that I had worked so hard for nothing. I had originally applied to Oxford as my first choice, and York was my third choice. Before results day I was rejected by two universities. So it’s fair to say that my morale was very low already and to then find out that I hadn’t gotten the grades for what was originally my third choice was disheartening. More than that actually, I was devastated. By this time I had visited the city and fallen a little bit in love with it.
I was very lucky when about an hour or so after I had opened my results I got a call from the Department of Archaeology offering me a place on the Historical Archaeology course. If I can be honest, it shook me. I had originally applied to study History and I hadn’t even heard of Historical Archaeology. But when it was explained to me I thought to myself ‘this sounds exactly what I would like to do’. My day had very rapidly swung from bleak to optimistic. I’m pretty sure the sun even came out on the way home!
However, my day swung back around again very rapidly when I got home. I remembered I had to go to my volunteering at V Festival (whilst having a certain illness). Then on top of all, I had to sort out my application. Whilst I was excited to get a placement at York I was not looking forward to trying to do all the paperwork on my phone in a tent in a field. I think it’s fair to say that, in my 19 years of life, that those four days were the most miserable I have ever experienced. Let’s say that having a toilet-related illness (don’t worry I won’t go into details) in a place with only portable toilets is not pleasant.
On top of that was the volunteering. It consisted of walking around a field for about 8 hours until 4 in the morning. Consequently, I injured my knee apparently permanently because it still flares up every now and then. Then on top of that having to try and send emails, fill out forms, communicate with my parents and all sorts to work out this clearing business from my tent in a field with little to no signal whilst being sick, tired and very hot.
I can’t even remember what I had to do for the process. I think it mainly consisted of changing the name of my course on UCAS and my finance application. Honestly, all I can remember was thinking ‘why is this all happening at once?’. I’m sorry that turned into a bit of a rant just complaining, but it’s relevant to the message I want to convey.
Clearing is not scary at all, and actually, it’s not as stressful as you think…
As I said, I can’t even remember the process, and that’s because it wasn’t very complicated. I can remember worrying about what I’d have to do more vividly than what I actually had to do, thinking it was going to be big and scary and complicated. But it wasn’t any of those things. Stressful I’ll give you, there’s no denying that, but I’ll be honest most of the stress felt like it came from trying to get a good internet connection. Mostly it was exciting. It was knowing I had the opportunity to do something I wanted to do at a university I wanted to go to, and that made it all worth it.
Clearing is a fantastic opportunity. If you have your heart set on a course or university then I encourage you to do it. Perhaps don’t volunteer at a festival while you do though.