‘Why aren’t your children at school?’, was the question directed at my mum, as me and my sister sat next to her in a stuffy waiting room on one of the hottest days of the year. With a slight chuckle my mum turned to the person who had asked the question and replied, ‘well this one has just finished her first year of uni, and this one is graduating from uni next week’. The person who had asked the question sunk into their chair, embarrassed at what they had just said. Me, my sister and mum just smiled at each other, this wasn’t the first time such a question had been asked, and unless I suddenly aged within a week it wasn’t going to be something which changed once I had a degree to my name.
The real point of writing this blog is to show that someone who isn’t classed as being ‘clever or academic’ can go through university and come out the other side with a degree. I never excelled in any academic subjects at school, I could scrape through maths, science and english, but my real interested was with sport, both practically and theoretically. I wasn’t aware, until I went to secondary school, of the sporting opportunities which were available to me; hockey, athletics, rounders, netball, and many more. This was when I realised that if I was going to go to university I would do a sports based course, cue university open days!
To be honest I always knew that I wanted to go to the University of Bath, since visiting it whilst in secondary school, the facilities, atmosphere and environment excited me, therefore my first option was always going to be Bath. However, many people at school, including teachers, said that the entry requirements were too high and I wouldn’t achieve them, encouraging me instead to apply for lesser known universities and colleges. I knew, although never admitted it to anyone, that this was probably true, I wasn’t clever enough for somewhere like Bath, however this only spurred me on. I don’t think I will ever forget the day I received my offer to study at the University of Bath. It was around 5pm on a dull, cold day, I was in the car with my parents, on our way back from an open day at UWIC. I checked my emails on a regular basis, and this day was no different, however upon opening my emails I discovered my inbox had a new email in it, from UCAS. Heart thumping I opened the email, it told me that something had changed on my application tracker, I quickly logged onto UCAS and with shaky hands clicked on the application tracker.
I remember re-reading that the University of Bath had offered me a place to study Sport and Social Sciences. My mum was trying to talk to me from the front passenger seat in the car, but my response to the question she had asked me was more of a stutter and cry. ‘What’s wrong? Are you ok?’ my mum asked me, worried that something had happened. ‘I have just received an offer from the University of Bath!’ I replied, with a shaky voice and tearful eyes. The rest of the car journey flew by, as I realised that the next challenge was to actually get the grades which would allow me to take up the offer and study at the University of Bath.
Jump forward 3 years to July 2017, a scorching hot day, one of the few we get in England, and I am marching through the center of Bath, I had a cap and gown to collect! Who knew that a gown would be so heavy?! Admittedly I am rather small, but that didn’t stop the gown, sliding down, and nearly strangling me as I made my way to Bath Abbey. I am not a religious person, however I appreciate the serenity of places of prayer, therefore I found the graduation ceremony to be a peaceful celebration of my time at the University of Bath.
I guess the message that I am trying to get across is that even if people don’t think you can do something, whether that be achieving certain grades, or running a half marathon, you should set out to prove them wrong. I clearly remember mentioning to my PE teacher that I wanted to go to the University of Bath, the face that they made and their comment of, ‘have you thought about aiming lower?’ spurred me on, to not only prove them wrong, but also to prove to myself that I could do it. Even today, after spending 3, extremely quick, fun filled years, at the University of Bath, I still don’t believe that I achieved my dream, of going to the University of Bath and getting a degree with help from my amazing lectures and the University staff.
If these past 3 years have taught me anything, it’s that you should always push yourself and apply for jobs and opportunities which you may think are out of your reach. As I always say, ‘we are going on an adventure!!!’.