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I’ve just finished my first year doing a Biochemistry degree at UCS. Before starting the year, I hadn’t visited the university or attended an Open Day - I applied through Clearing last minute, but since I went to college in Shrewsbury, I did know the area well. I’m 21 and have been to university before but had to leave due to health issues so I knew what the first year of uni was like, however I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for university during a global pandemic!

I applied to UCS through Clearing, as I was dealing with health issues throughout the year, I was unsure if I would be well enough to attend university during the actual application time. By the time clearing had opened both me and my doctor were confident that I was well enough to attend so I used Clearing to apply. This was a new experience for me as the first time I attended university I used UCAS. The clearing process was simple, though making the call was nerve-wracking, to say the least! After a brief chat with the Admissions Team, I was told I would get a call back after they spoke to the Biochemistry program leaders. Honestly, waiting for this call was the worst part, I was pacing around my house and drank three cups of tea in 20 minutes but when the phone rang, they offered me the place straight away! I was really excited to get back into a university environment and really proud of myself for getting the place, it was a little daunting and I felt a bit anxious and out of my depth but after the Induction Week these feelings completely vanished.

Thankfully, I have not had to self-isolate over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to stay relatively healthy over the duration of the pandemic! However, my year has not been without challenges. My tutor and lecturers have been amazingly supportive through this, both of my parents were working full time during lockdown leaving me to look after my younger siblings at home, this meant my attendance took a hit. I managed to catch up with the work and achieved good grades in coursework and exams because the lecturers took the time to ensure I had the resources I needed to work at a time convenient to me. Online lectures have been useful for this, as they are recorded and uploaded. I do miss interacting with my classmates face to face though! We have a big group chat where we talk and keep connected to feel less isolated which helps a lot with lockdowns. And we’ve had a few nights out now we are allowed!

It’s been a strange and isolating year for everyone, but I’ve managed to make some amazing friends at UCS who have made the world seem a little less scary. The past year has been manic, as I’m sure it has for everyone reading this, every day brought new challenges and unpredictable changes to my life and the lives of my family. Overall, I’d say this year, though hard, has been enjoyable, I have loved the university and all of the people I have experienced the ups and downs of university life with.

Find out more about Clearing and how to apply here.

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