Having opted to study journalism at university, the next step was to choose where I would spend the next three years of my life. That’s quite a big decision for someone who finds it difficult to select which meal to get at McDonald’s.
One of my main fears was making the wrong choice. While selecting the wrong meal at McDonald’s isn’t a big deal, moving halfway across the country to realise you’ve made a poor decision is not a pleasant thought (not to mention the costs involved).
To make sure I made the right choice, I decided to attend open days at each of the universities I had applied to. During my visits to each one, I went on all the tours, asked questions and tried to get a feel for the place.
The first two universities I attended were the University of Lincoln and Teesside University. After an extensive tour of both, I didn’t really feel a connection with either of them. In all honesty, I was starting to think that maybe university wasn’t for me after all. However, that thought was short-lived.
I know it’s a cliché but I felt like I was at home during my visit to the University of Sunderland. The campus had a great vibe and I was like a child at Christmas as I walked round the place picking up every leaflet in sight. I remember excitedly telling my dad: “This is the university I want to go to.” He responded: “I bet you change your mind next week.”
If you already know me or have at least read my bio, you’re probably aware that this isn’t the end of the story. Like all major Hollywood films, there’s a pretty big twist (and it’s not the fact that I see dead people).
Just days after my visit to Sunderland, a letter from the University of Lincoln arrived through the post box, inviting me to a workshop. Having set my mind firmly on Sunderland, I almost put the letter straight in the bin, but I decided to mull it over.
Before I knew it, I found myself on a train to Lincoln. I’m not sure how and I’m definitely not sure why. When I arrived, I found myself aimlessly wandering around the city for about half an hour trying to find the university (which is quite impressive considering it’s less than five minutes from the train station).
With the help of Google Maps, I arrived at the workshop and it wasn’t long before I was on the way back to Darlington with a huge smile on my face. Despite only being in Lincoln for a couple of hours, I’d fallen in love with the city, fallen in love with the university and fallen over getting onto the train (much to the amusement of fellow travellers).
From the staff being so welcoming to the conversation I had with a tall, curly-haired boy from Guernsey and the love of a subject I was so passionate about to the fact that they gave me a free pen; everything felt right.
Despite convincing myself that I was destined for the University of Sunderland, I just knew that the University of Lincoln was for me. I knew it in my heart, I knew it in my head and I knew I’d have to go back at some point as I’d left my coat on the back of a chair in the newsroom.
On the train back, I texted my dad saying: “This is the university I want to go to.” He responded: “I told you so.” Even my McDonald’s order that night was an easy decision (a chicken nugget meal, in case you were wondering).