Hi, I’m Ellen and I am a first year English Language and Linguistics student in Alcuin College. University has always been something that I have wanted to do, I’ve always loved the idea of moving to a new place and meeting lots of new people whilst studying a subject that I absolutely adore. Funnily enough, I didn’t expect that I’d be starting Uni in the middle of a worldwide pandemic!
I’m from a relatively small town in Lancashire (don’t worry, I am well aware of the rivalry of the roses and the “abhorrent” act I have committed by coming here) that has a very low percentage of people that progress on to University, because of this I often doubted that I would be able to make it here or that if I ever did, I’d always be the ‘odd one out’. This was something that was constantly on my mind when looking at Universities and going through dreaded UCAS stages but was instantly calmed when I found out about York’s contextual offer schemes! The day I received a contextual offer through UCAS really made me believe in myself and that I truly deserved to go to University. I believe that these schemes help to boost the degrees of accessibility to higher education from underrepresented groups and overall, aid in diversifying the education of everyone.
Campus and Colleges
A few of the main things that drew me to York were the beautiful campus, the extensive library and the college system, these were all things that I hadn’t really seen at other Universities that I had been to and definitely were what I was looking for.
Here at York, we have eight undergraduate colleges and one college for postgraduates split over campus east and campus west, all colleges have their own committee and team of students that work for them. From the very first day here, I really felt that I was a part of the Alcuin College family, most of this was down to the STYCs (Second and Third Year Contacts) who helped me unload my car, carry things to my accommodation block and were always a message away if we ever needed anyone during the first few weeks being away from home.
The campus and all of its nature was definitely something that made me fall in love with York, if I ever need a break or fancy going for a walk there’s always a lovely route right on my doorstep and when I did have in person teaching, I loved being able to walk past the lake (and occasionally get chased by geese) on my way to seminars.
I also really like the fact that there are so many societies which means that you can really get your teeth stuck into absolutely anything you would like to, regardless of your previous experience. I am a member of the Linguistics society (Lingsoc), the Feminist society (Femsoc), Free the Flow York and the York Anti-Racist collective, I feel that, especially right now, the sheer number of societies and groups dedicated for students to get to know each other and work on something that they are collectively passionate about is key to helping students to settle into University life and really get the most out of it. The University has over 200 societies and so there really is something for everyone!
Studying in York
Studying a subject that constantly looks and refers back to ancient documents and historical events has only made me love the city and its Viking and Roman heritage more! York embraces its ancient heritage which can be seen when you walk around the city and feel like you are in a film set.
What I also love about studying here is the passion and dedication from staff, I love that they are completely open to and encourage you to contact them in their office hours to go over a theory that you are struggling with or to discuss something that you are really enjoying just a little bit deeper than you went in the seminar. I think that this along with achieving TEF Gold and being a part of the Russell Group really sets the University’s student experience and standard of education apart from many other places.
Because of the pandemic, I haven’t really been able to do many of the standard ‘first year fresher’ activities that would happen if we were in normal times. This has meant that I have done lots and lots of exploring on foot to places that I probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise!
Some of my favourite places on campus include the lake next to Derwent College and Heslington Hall which is usually where you can find Long Boi or up on top of Central Hall at sunset when you can see the sun going down over the gorgeous city and all of campus’s wildlife.
I also love the city walls which are definitely a must do in Autumn with a hot chocolate from Bison Coffee! Walking along the walls you can see many of the main sights that York has to offer, my personal favourites are the river, the Minster and the Museum Gardens.
- Read more student stories about choosing York