OK, so this probably needs a bit of context… Basically, it’s currently lent, the 40 something days between pancake day and easter sunday. Most of you are probably aware, but it’s pretty common for people to “give something up” during this time, the idea being to use the time saved to do something more productive.
An alternative to this is for people to instead take something up, such as a new hobby, or to try and teach themselves a new skill or habit. The most common things people take up usually involve dieting or exercise, but as you have probably already guessed, I’m not that sort of person…
I don’t normally do lent, mainly because I always seem to forget about it, but this year I decided to try and challenge myself. The plan? To write one blog post every single day for 40 days.
My initial thought was to just straight up go and publish them all, but then I thought that would be ridiculous, so instead what I’ve done is write them all down, at a rate of one a day, and publish any I still liked by the time I finished them (which I can tell you isn’t likely to be many), and any I don’t post here I’ll put into a sort of summary at the end of lent so you can get an idea of just what was going through my head.
As part of this, I came up with a google document, with ideas for themes for the entirety of lent, but on day 7 I realised that it just wasn’t working. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t find inspiration, and in the end, I just gave up.
So I decided to abandon my plan and start over. I threw my plan out the window, and in a crazy backwards kind of way that became my inspiration.
Plans are all very well and good, but sometimes they just don’t work out, and unfortunately I’m fairly used to this, so for better or for worse I’ve largely given up on planning things. I do still try (I like to be in the know about anything I’m involved with), but I don’t rely on everything going to plan, I improvise all the time, and I have a tendency to expect the worst even in situations where there really isn’t a worst to expect.
It’s why getting a place here was such a shock.
I think it’s probably fair to say that my A levels really didn’t go how I wanted them to, so on results day I was braced for what I thought was an inevitable day begging other unis for a place over the clearing hotline.
Instead I woke up that morning with a place at Cardiff University.
That said, it wasn’t exactly simple. Cardiff University was my insurance choice (although in hindsight probably should have been my firm choice – and no, I don’t have to say that just because of where I’m posting this! – my final UCAS choices were more on impulse than anything else) and although they had confirmed my place I was still waiting on a decision from my firm choice. I went in to collect my results knowing that things were OK, but probably not great. Even at that point I honestly thought there had been some mistake, that I was going to get a call from UCAS saying “whoops sorry we made a mistake you actually didn’t get through…”
Obviously that didn’t happen, and now I’m here doing a physics degree, but when I did eventually get my results it was a really weird mix of, “I’M GOING TO UNI!@!@!@!” and “What the heck just happened…?”
Sadly, my decision to put Cardiff Uni second came at a cost, and that’s really what I wanted to talk about today (longest intro ever?)
Basically, I ended up here:
University Hall is pretty much synonymous with the words “Insurance” and “Clearing”. Of the 9 people currently in my flat, 8 of us fall into that category, and the one that doesn’t is a medic, who put uni hall first because it’s one of the closest halls to the hospital (and guess what, she got the en-suite). Literally every other person I’ve spoken to that lives here is the same. It’s pretty much the hall they put anybody they cant fit anywhere else. Despite the bad rep it gets though (for being the furthest hall from the university) there are some positives, but I’m going to start off with negatives because doing it in that order makes more sense in my head.
1. The hill… OK seriously I have no idea what they were thinking, putting this hall not only literally miles from where I need to be but also at the top of what is probably one of the biggest hills I’ve ever had to deal with (admittedly where I come from is basically flat land so my experience of hills is somewhat limited, but come on…)
2. The distance, this one probably doesn’t need any explanation, it’s a loooooooooooooooooooooong way away… Getting anywhere useful pretty much requires catching a bus, and the study bus they provide doesn’t run on weekends, or after half 5 on weekdays (it’s also hourly, which doesn’t help its case, but at least it can be counted on, unlike the public bus…)
3. Being so far away from everything makes it all too easy to become disconnected from everything that is going on. I missed a lot of really interesting give it a go stuff simply because I wasn’t aware it was happening, and although admittedly I wasn’t exactly the most proactive going out and finding things I suspect it would have been far easier to find like minded people if I wasn’t so far away and although it’s still entirely possible, it required me putting myself out in a way that I honestly didn’t predict, and that’s really hard to do (word of advice here, it may be hard, and you may hate every second of it, but the best way to find like minded people is to not hold stuff back, be yourself, and don’t try and hide things because you think it’ll make life more difficult for you. Be crazy, but be open, there are people just as crazy as you out there).
Despite all this though, there are a lot of positives to living in uni hall, and you might recognise some of them
1. The hill. I can literally see all the way to the stadium from my window, and that’s amazing, particularly at night. I don’t sadly have a good picture, but I will definitely try and get one at some point before I leave and post it here to share it with you guys, because it’s honestly amazing, even with the massive tree partially blocking my view.
2. The distance. Despite being in a (relatively) big city, being so far away from everything means you don’t ever feel trapped, which for me has been incredibly important to settling in. If I ever get claustrophobic I have an escape, and I can take a break from everything
3. Free bus, all the way to lectures, no other hall has this, need I say more?
I had a plan for how to end this post, but like so many other things it has just gone completely out of my head, so I guess I’ll just end by saying that plans are good, but improvising is a whole lot more fun, and with that in mind, I leave you with a quote:
“It’s not going to be how you think it’s going to be.”
Oh, one last thing before I go, I’m aware I don’t exactly have many ways for people to contact me right now, but I’m going to try and set up an email account specifically for the purpose of receiving and answering questions. I’ll make sure I put a post up when that happens so that you’re aware, but until then please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.