Hi, I’m Katherine, a 2nd-Year Psychology student, and I’m part of Vanbrugh College. I am from Newcastle so, although not a massive distance from York by train, moving away from home still felt like a challenge! Picking the right university and city to move to is a big decision, but hopefully I can give you a bit of insight into why I chose York for my degree.
Moving away from home
During sixth form I was very undecided about whether I wanted to stay at home for university or move away. I worried about not feeling comfortable in a new environment, not making friends with my flatmates and also being part of a ‘student culture’ that came with many preconceived ideas! I knew the safe option would be to live at home and go to my local university which I received an offer for, but I couldn’t ignore the feeling of wanting a new adventure and challenge!
If I was going to move away it needed to be the right place, and I needed to know I would feel comfortable in my new home. After many visit days to various universities, I came away thinking, ‘yeah, that was OK, but I’m still not sure’; however, this changed when I visited York.
A campus university with a college system
York was the first campus-based university I looked around, and immediately I felt it suited me more than the other big-city universities I had visited. I liked that it had the feeling of being a small ‘student village’ with everything close by.
The University also appealed to me due to the college system. Being part of a college creates an inbuilt support system and community from the day you arrive on campus as you meet college staff, along with older students within the college such as STYCs (second and third year contacts). These students help 1st-Years settle in and find their way around campus at the start of term, and they continue to visit the halls throughout the year to check in.
Being a part of a college provides the opportunity to join various college groups, whether that is in music or sport, and also the chance to attend college events. My personal favourite was the Vanbrugh Christmas ball, where me and my flatmates were able to dress up and have a meal at the Principal hotel just before we all went home for Christmas. This was a lovely way to end our first term together!
Best things about the city
For such a small city, York has so much to do with lots of areas to explore. My favourite spot is going down to the Museum Gardens when the weather is nice and sitting on the grass, or walking along the river. Opposite the gardens is my favourite coffee shop, Brew and Brownie, which is a popular spot and a regular stopping point for me and my friends. A famous feature of the city is the Shambles, which is the home of some very niche shops, including the Nutcracker Christmas Shop which is open all year round!
For my first taste of adulthood, I couldn’t have asked for a better city to have moved to – you quickly learn your way around and feel like a local in no time!
When choosing a University, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is important to think about what your priorities are and where you feel you will be most comfortable. In ‘normal’ times, my best piece of advice would be to attend open days and look around the cities. At the moment that is not possible, but it is still important to do your research to try to get a feel for the different places you are considering. The University of York has an online campus tour and Online Open Days too, which are a great place to start! I hope this blog provides you with a bit of insight into life at York, and helps you make a decision about where you may want to study next year.
Read more student stories about choosing York