So I thought this post would be good to do to help those who are going to university in two months, those who are thinking of going to university next September or unsure… I hope this is useful!
So here is some background information about me… I graduated from university in July 2016 (a year ago today to be precise!) with a 2:1 in Modern Historical Studies, I thought that I would do a quick Q&A on my experiences of my undergraduate degree and some tips. As many of you probably know, I am currently doing a masters at a different university in Medieval Studies. I’ve recently changed to doing the course part-time at the end of June, and as I’ve completely all of the course apart from my dissertation, it does mean that my course officially won’t end until January 2018. So with further ado, here is a list of questions that I thought would be interesting to answer! If you have any other questions then please feel free to comment below! I hope this helps you if you are thinking about going to university, if you are already in university or if you are thinking of doing a master’s degree in the future. If you are still interested in more questions and ones that I can’t answer then I know the Student Room is a good website to check out or if you attend an open day then ask a student there!! For privacy reasons, I am not going to say what universities I went to or the one I am currently in. Please message my privately and I will tell you.
I am also going to link some videos at the end of this post, if you are going to university in September or even next September then I would definitely recommend watching them. None of the videos are by myself but others who I am subscribed to on YouTube.
So let’s get started with the Q&A…
What university courses did you apply for whilst you were at sixth form and why?
I created my UCAS account the summer of Year 12, we had a lesson on making an account and though I can’t really remember exactly I think I started applying to universities around November/December time of Year 13. All of the universities I applied to, I went to the open days (I recommend doing that!!). As I was allowed to choose up to 5 courses I chose: Modern History, Modern Historical Studies in the university I attended, History, History with Archaeology in the university I attended and Archaeology. I chose History because it was something I always liked at school, I wasn’t the top of my class at it but I really loved learning about the past. I firmly believe that the past should not be forgotten and there are always lessons to be learnt from it. I had a C in History in my GCSE results and a C at A-Level so my main advice in choosing a course is do it because you love the subject! Sure, being good at it helps to but as long as you are doing okay in the subject and are passionate then you’ll be okay.
How long was your undergraduate degree? (Full time)
I know that some courses vary but my course and most history courses are 3 years long, in regards to doing the course full time. In most universities there are options to do a year abroad which means that you can extend your course to 4 years. Obviously if you are doing a course like Medicine then I think that’s around 5 years but it’s just best to talk to the university that you are applying to about the length of the degree! Also if you find you are struggling then there is nothing wrong with taking a gap year in between your years at university or even just switching to part time!
What modules did you take during your three years at university?
Here is a list of modules I took at university but every university is different and will offer different modules, so don’t take my modules for a Modern History course as being set in stone. Modules also change per year depending on the lecturers or how successful the module was the previous few years.
- Skills for Academic Study
- Introduction to History: French Revolution to the Holocaust
- War in History
- Introduction to Fieldwork
- Anthropology in Context
- Theory, Methods and Practice: Critical Perspectives
- Modern Britain 1776 to 1997: The Rise and Fall of a Great Power
- Modern America from Washington to Obama: 1776 to 2009
- Sects, Self and Society: Alternative Spiritualties in the West
- From Empire to Nation: The Modern History of China
- Heritage and the Heritage Industry (I SAT IN ON THIS MODULE)
- Britain and the Great War
- 10,000 word Dissertation
- From Empire to Nation: Modern History of China
- Identity and Myth: the Normans and their World (I SAT IN ON THIS MODULE)
- Museums, Heritage and Representation
- Religion, Society and the State in China, 1800-Present
- The Idea of the City: The Urban Experience 1850-present.
Did you join any societies whilst you were at university?
During freshers week of all my years at university, I signed up for so many societies but never actually went. I think that’s the case for a lot of people, freshers is so busy that you just want to experience new things and sign up for everything! Obviously, I would recommend going to a society, even if it just for one event! but it’s important to manage your time with a social life as well as work life. For me, there was never a society that appealed to me so when I started third year, me and two other people created our own! We created the first ever Disney Society at my university! We used to watch films every Wednesday and did events such as a bake sale and a tea party.
Would you recommend doing a masters degree straight after an undergraduate degree?
Honestly, there is no right answer to this question. It depends on you! Masters are a lot of work and much harder than an Undergraduate degree. There is a lot of expectation for you and a lot of your own time will be spent researching or doing background reading for your seminars. If that is something that you want straight away then choose a course you are passionate in and find the reading list for the course and do a lot of work the summer before!
What do you miss most about university? (Undergraduate)
There are a few things I miss since leaving my last university. I had so much help and support from the lecturers, they were always willing to talk to you and give advice regarding essays or lectures. So I definitely miss the lecturers, I also miss sitting by the river that runs through the university and having BBQs. I miss going to the People’s Market once a month and buying vegan cakes and looking at the second-hand books. I miss being able to go for late night drives just to grab McDonalds (even though it was an hour drive!). My university was so small and unique that it’s definitely something that you’ll think of often but I don’t regret leaving. Being so small obviously means you know everyone and I think I made a good decision experiencing a different university for my Masters.
What accommodation do you recommend living in throughout University?
I honestly have lived in some many different accommodations! In first year I lived on Campus, I personally think that’s the best for first year as you are with other people who haven’t lived away from home before and you get the full university experience! Due to personal reasons, I lived in an apartment with my boyfriend during second year as I wanted to get off campus and have my own space. Third year, I moved into a 5 bedroomed house with three others and now this year for my Masters I live in a studio flat with my boyfriend. So it’s entirely a personal decision on the what accommodation is best for you. I would recommend living off campus for one of your years though so you get familiar with paying bills and sorting out internet etc.
This time last year, a years worth of researching came to an end as I handed in my dissertation and graduated!
The first video is someone’s experience of why they didn’t go to university if you are undecided if that is the chose for the but the other videos are tips and experiences at University.