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This is a guest blog by current student Basil, who studies BSc (Hons) Geography and came through Clearing.

Hi my name’s Basil and this is a bit about me and how I have ended up as a first year Bournemouth University student!

I didn’t plan on going to university in the UK. My plan was to take a gap year and then go to university in the States. I’ve always liked the idea of travelling and it was something I had decided on from quite an early age. When I finished my Scottish Highers (these are similar to UK A-levels and BTEC qualifications), my dad pulled me to one side and asked if I had really thought about my options now I that I had “officially finished education”. He went to university and says to this day that it’s still one of the best times of his life and he really didn’t want me to miss out on this once in a lifetime experience.  After our chat I decided to look at going to university, but it was the 3rd of September! Most university courses start a couple of weeks into September so, this was cutting it thin I guess you would say.  I started making calls to universities close to where I lived, but they either had no spaces, didn’t have the exact course I was looking for or, I didn’t quite reach their entry requirements. After being on the phone for a while I received three offers (you can verbally accept as many as you would like- it’s just when you refer yourself through UCAS that you can only select the one university choice). I can assure you if you’re reading this, Bournemouth were by far the nicest people on the phone who offered me one of those three places and, most importantly, on the course of my choice. For me first impressions are important. You get a feeling for a place and people, so for me, Bournemouth was the obvious choice at that point.

I can honestly say that going to university in Bournemouth has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve met some of my closest friends at university through my course and through joining societies such as the University Boat Club which I am now Vice President of. I didn’t plan on continuing a sport while at university. I didn’t anticipate making such great friends. I know my dad had said university was an experience like no other but, it really really is. I’ve met people I’d otherwise never have met. As a BSc (Hons) Geography student I would have never interacted with a student studying Paramedic Science but because of my involvement in rowing I’ve met a diverse group of friends who all study a variety of different subjects such as Nutrition, Business, Sport Therapy, Film and TV Production, Ecology and Computer Sciences.

During exam season, being a part of a society has been a god send. It allows for you to take a break from things mentally and physically.  Exercise is a really good stress relief and whenever I’ve had any looming deadlines or exams which were stressing me out (which there were many), I could always rely on an extremely tiring training session on the boat with my mates which would most often than not always take my mind off university work. By the end of it I would feel really tired but also refreshed and I could always come at the assignment with a new angle or feel more motivated to do some more work before an exam.

If you’re not into sport, you might be a bit sceptical about joining a sports society. But the societies here at BU aren’t just sport focused.  Bournemouth has a large range of sports clubs and societies (over 100) ranging from Football and Hockey, to more unusual ones such as Quidditch and Futsal. When you start at Bournemouth there’s the Freshers’ Fair where all the clubs and societies have stands so you can see what you could get involved in. University can be stressful especially with the pressure of doing your work and meeting deadlines and this can have an impact on your mood. Joining a society helps you find the right balance between your social life and your academic life and you’ll be able to look back on a memorable and enjoyable university experience.

Everyone has highs and lows in life, especially during university, I certainly am no stranger to that. But, having a close knit group of friends, who have almost become a second family to support you, honestly means the world and I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if I didn’t decide on the 3rd of September to accept my offer to go to Bournemouth University.

If you want to hear more from Basil, you can listen to his podcast here.

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