Hi, my name is Annalisa. I am a third year Biology student at the University and also a student ambassador. I am part of James College and lived on campus in my first year. Read on to find out why I chose to come to York for my university experience.
UCAS and open days
Honestly, York was a “filler university” on my list. It had (and still has) a fantastic reputation, is located in a lovely city, and was far enough away from home to feel like I was moving away. I didn’t give it much thought though. I had confirmed offers for a good range of other top universities, including Warwick and Edinburgh, with my sights set on the latter.
Now, I hadn’t even visited many of my universities on open days, so visiting on post-offer days was a good way to go. I took a plane to Edinburgh and traveled by car to my other choices. There were advantages and disadvantages to all my choices. Now, perhaps it was nearly getting run over by an old man on a mobility scooter in Scotland, or maybe it was just my disdain for the windier weather, but Edinburgh soon fell to the lower ranks in my preferences. Warwick was too close to home for comfort and Sussex just wasn’t right for me.
Anyway, I finally arrived at York. It was beautiful! The campus was full of wildlife and green patches integrated with the campus lakes and buildings. The department had recently been done up and modernised. The professors were all chatty and seemed happy to be there to meet all of us prospective students. The whole day was lovely – every aspect of it (apart from leaving of course). I knew from the moment I stepped onto campus that this was where I wanted to go.
My experience at the university and why I’d still choose York
First year was great- scary, but great! It was so different to college, with more time allocated to independent study, sitting in large lecture halls instead of small classrooms, and being able to carry out a larger range of experiments in labs. Outside of studying, I took part in several societies and socialised with friends on my course and in my flat. Life was good. There are also so many societies and clubs that you are sure to find something. Whether you are a complete beginner or an Olympic pro, the societies are great at catering to all.
Second year was also good. I spent much of it being more studious than I had been in first year but still enjoyed socialising in the city and on campus. Living off campus was fun. Cooking for myself…not so fun. One thing to point out here is that the University is amazing for helping you to find a house off campus or finding housemates to share with. I remained with several people from my college floor and found a house online, but there are housing fairs and housemate events on campus. You can also remain on campus if you want to (which not all universities offer). You get put with other students in second year upwards and can choose the college and room style you want to be allocated.
Moving on, during the end of first term in my second year, I applied to become a student ambassador. It is worth mentioning that you can get a job on campus during your time studying here. From working in an on-campus bar or shop to working as a department ambassador or student ambassador, there are a good range of jobs available.
Second year is also the year to look for a placement year or year abroad for many subjects. My department was excellent at providing support throughout the application period and even after. They also help students find placements and hold lots of useful talks. I was lucky enough to find my own placement researching at a university in Norway. It was as simple as sending off an email and having a chat on a video call. Coming from such a good university, renowned for its research, has its advantages when sending off applications I guess.
Third year is a year I would personally not like to talk much about for very personal reasons. I turned down my placement year days before I was to fly out and found myself back studying in York. I will not go into details as to why I was back but instead, how the University helped. So guys, listen up, this is another huge reason to choose York. They have so much support for disabilities (physical and mental), have trained people you can talk to about anything (Open Door) and have staff that actually want to help you.
I received so much support from both my department and the wider University. I was able to get a Student Support Plan which meant that I could be granted extensions on deadlines if I needed them as well as a range of other allowances. These are given to students with mental or physical disabilities. The University also allowed me to take my third year over two years (so I would do half a year each academic year). The overall message is that the University of York actually cares and has a lot of support if you want it.
Third year part two – this year. Studying through the pandemic has not been fun but I feel it has not been fun for anyone, regardless of the university, college or school they go to. Life hasn’t been awful though. In fact, it’s been a year of laughs and enjoyment with my amazing housemates.
My time at university so far has been a whirlwind of ups and downs but has ultimately been amazing. It is my home away from home. #ChooseYork
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