Clearing: a year on

I wrote the majority of this post as I sat on the floor of my halls bedroom while Banks played softly in the background. That was the last night I spent in that room and I remember taking a tour around all of the various cupboards and drawers to say goodbye (I am overly sentimental like that). I also remember Banks making me super emotional and inevitably I started to reminisce about the “journey” (kill me) of first year and the 9 months I spent in that little box room.

When the year began I had applied (and been accepted) to my uni, Coventry University, just a month before moving in. This is what happens when you get grades which are much worse than you expected and have to go through clearing. It was a very strange sensation having a month to adjust, a month to visualise my life at a whole new university. I was so incredibly set on my first choice but in my *sPiRiTuAL jOuRnEy* over the past year I have come to realise that this was probably for the entirely wrong reasons.

Cov is a brilliant place and I am overwhelmingly grateful to be here. It is a bit ugly and weird but I love it nonetheless. While I have no idea what my life would have been like at any of my other choices, I can still genuinely say that I’d rather be here. However this was not so easy to say when I had just been rejected from my first and second choice uni’s and felt like I was being sent away to a university I didn’t properly choose. (Sent to coventry lol okay let’s get that joke out of the way so it doesn’t come up again).

I was so focused on the “type” of people I wanted to meet at the university I went to. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I was pretty sure that Manchester or Liverpool would have this “type” of people. I was also convinced that the cool, edgy, big city vibes of my first choice and insurance were the most important things about them. Since being at uni I have learnt that this is not that important at all. Everyone loves their uni city, they just do. It becomes your weird second home. And all universities have people that you are bound to be friends with, it doesn’t matter what “type” of person they are. I remember telling myself that if I could meet my best friends in shitty Somerset (love u really) then I could definitely meet good people in Cov.


Clearing also brought with it a particular feeling of shame. I was so upset that I hadn’t achieved my predicted grades that I spent a long time at the start of uni convinced that I must actually be dumb. While I’m now (pretty) sure that I’m not dumb, it was a self fulfilling prophecy and led to me doing very little work because I had no faith in myself. The fact of the matter was that I worked so hard for my A Levels and had nothing to show for it, so I figured why work hard at all? This is obviously bullshit and I hope no one ever gets into this mindset. Also it has taken me this long to realise that an A in Economics and two C’s aren’t nothing, they’re actually pretty good, and by saying they are nothing I am doing a disservice to everyone around the country that worked so hard for those grades.

I have become very proud of Cov Uni and all that it has done for me and my friends. While it frustrated me that it was basically unknown (and didn’t have a Tab, but that definitely worked out in the end) and not as prestigious or respected as other universities, it is doing pretty damn well. It is the 15th highest ranked university in the UK according to the Guardian league tables (and 5th for Economics) and has been moving up the Complete University Guide league tables for 7 years in a row. It was also voted University of the Year by The Times in 2015. It’s deffo a university on it’s way up and more people should know that.

All of the lessons I’ve learned in the past year are things only Clearing and Cov could have taught me, and for that I am grateful. If there is one message I would like anyone to take from this overly sentimental blog post (I have broken my uncaring and cool demeanour oh no) is that wherever you end up will work out for you – but only if you want to make it work.

Mads xxxx

Special end of first year shoutouts to: Sab, Hannah, Muhammad, Tshering, Alex, David, Flat 40 and all The Tab Warwick crew (and my mum thanks mum).

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