What Getting Into Your Insurance Uni Is Really Like

This isn’t a pity-me post, and it isn’t meant to warn anyone off university, or even my university – just an honest post about what it’s really like to get into your insurance choice university.

Way back in early 2016, I was considering which universities out of the five I had applied to I should put as my firm and insurance choices on UCAS, the system UK students use to apply for university. If I’m honest, the decision was half-made already: I wanted to go to the University of Nottingham, so that was clearly my firm choice. I knew I didn’t want to go to two of the universities I had applied to, because I didn’t like the courses – I’d applied mainly to fill the spots. So, really, the choice I had to make was between the fourth and fifth universities: Liverpool (the one I’m at) and Southampton.

As is probably clear from the title of this post, I put Liverpool as my second choice. I felt like the impression I had gotten from the applicant day I attended was that it was a better fit than Southampton. To me, the campus just seemed more comfortable. There wasn’t a huge amount in it between the courses, from what I can remember, so I was mainly going off of the vibe I got from each of the universities when I visited.

Fast forward to August 2016, and one of the most emotionally confusing mornings of my life: A Levels results day. Having pretty much hated the process of A Levels for reasons worthy of a post entirely their own, I actually didn’t care what my grades were going to be. I only cared about getting into one of my chosen universities, so I decided to wait for UCAS to update at 8am, rather than head straight to school for my grades. I’ll spare you the long and confusing version of events: I was accepted into Liverpool with no issue, even though my grades hadn’t been what they asked for.

I say it was emotionally confusing, because while I was so relieved I had been accepted into university and hadn’t had to go through clearing, I had been so set on going to Nottingham. For the whole of that day, I wasn’t really sure what I was feeling. By the end of it, I was disappointed I didn’t get into my firm choice, glad the A Levels ordeal was finally over, sad I hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped, and relieved Liverpool had accepted me. On top of that, I was just really tired. Sixth form was intense, and spending the summer waiting for something that was now out of my hands and would decide on the course of the next 3 years of my life hadn’t been all too pleasant.

In the weeks after, however, I felt excited. Beyond excited – it had settled in that I was going to a good university, the course looked good, and it was a major life goal that I was about to realise.

So what’s it been like in the time since? A lot of students you see in university prospectuses will say how they were accepted into their insurance, but they wouldn’t change it for a thing, and they now prefer this one to the one they’d intended to go to, and they’ve never had so much as a second thought.

Yeah, that’s not quite true for me.


Don’t get me wrong, I do love being here in Liverpool and it has given me some great opportunities. The course is, on the whole, exactly what I wanted. I have a lot of control over the modules I take, and my grades are doing well.

However… When you do get the impression that a certain place would be perfect for you, it’s hard for the place you felt like was a runner-up to beat it. Admittedly, some of the things sound quite arbitrary: I still prefer the actual Nottingham campus to the Liverpool one. I think the variety of societies and social activities seemed better there, especially as a non-drinker – personally, I’ve found being a non-drinker in Liverpool a bit tragic. Most society events that I’ve found are pub crawls, or will be a short event followed by a night of clubbing. And I think gym membership was cheaper at Nottingham. But sometimes it is the small details like these that can make all the difference to your experience.

Of course, I can’t say any of this for sure; I don’t know if the impression I had from Nottingham would have turned out to be entirely accurate, and I don’t know if I would have found other aspects of university there more difficult. I can’t say for sure whether I would have gone for a year abroad if I’d gone to Nottingham; I chose not to here, because my course only facilitates a semester, and I didn’t feel like that was a long enough time to get settled in in an entirely new environment and enjoy it. There’s every possibility that I could have gotten to Nottingham and found just as many things to dislike, or which I may have wanted to be different.

There are some things that I’m sure are true of all universities: I’m sure there’s always some divide between those who came to university to study and focus on their degree, and those who simply came for the ‘student life’ (a.k.a frequently getting drunk and missing most of their lectures). You’re always going to run into people you don’t get on with. Student accommodation is notorious around the world for its turbulence in terms of arguments with flatmates about cleanliness and noise – that pretty much comes down to your luck of the draw. After all, most people at university are young adults; we don’t all have everything figured out, and some people you’ll run into will have been doing chores for years, and others won’t have figured out how to use a washing machine yet.

So I won’t say that my experience getting into my insurance choice university has been perfect, as I saw in so many prospectuses when I was researching universities. I’m not going to pretend there haven’t been some days where I’ve thought my firm choice could have turned out better. But I do like my university! It’s an experience I won’t regret, and I love the work I’m doing. No matter where you go, there will be things you love and things you wish were different. And that’s always worth bearing in mind.

Why I’m Participating in Earth Hour 2018

The short answer: because we only have one planet.

In case you may not know, Earth Hour is where, around the world, people, workplaces and organisations voluntarily turn off their lights and electronics for one hour on 24th March at 8:30pm. The aim is to raise awareness for environmental issues and encourage people to participate in the solutions.

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Personally, I’ve not known much about Earth Hour before. I heard something about it last year or the year before, but this year I’ve become a lot more invested in all things environmental, and I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to reduce my waste. I’ve bought myself a filter water bottle and I’ve been using that for basically all my water intake since; I have four reusable water bottles in total – one for the gym, two 500ml bottles for everyday use (although one’s at home 200 miles away right now), and my filter bottle which is 1 litre.

Other easy steps I take while out and about at uni include making use of the different bins in university buildings; Liverpool is actually good in that we have, in the main, a mix of general waste bins, paper bins, plastic/cans/recyclable bins. In the student guild, there’s even an electricals bin. I also try to take my lunches with me in lunch boxes, one of which has cutlery in it, so I don’t need to use disposable cutlery while I’m out.

I’ve been on the lookout for other ways to make a difference, and while I was scrolling through social media last month, I came across Earth Hour – I think from a WWF tweet. Because I’ll probably not explain it as well, I thought I’d leave this video here to give a better idea of what it’s all about:

Earth Hour is a great way of people banding together in support of the planet and to raise awareness for the problems of climate change and human activity, and with all the conversation regarding plastic and its effects on our environment which has been on the rise in 2018, this year seems like a brilliant time to get involved.

Currently, WWF is encouraging people around the world to get involved in the switch-off, but they’re also asking people to make a promise to the planet. I mentioned this on my blog last month, but I thought I’d mention it again because it’s such a good cause. WWF is asking for people to promise to do simple things, like turning washing down to 30 degrees, aiming to only use reusable water bottles, or refuse plastic cutlery out and about. For every promise made, Ariel is donating £1 to environmental causes.

Over 25,000 promises have been made so far, which is already £25,000+ that Ariel is set to donate. If you’d like to join me and thousands of others in making small but impactful changes, click here to make your promise.

So, to sum it up, I’m participating in Earth Hour 2018 because it may be a small step in the fight to save our planet, but I think it’s an important one. And if I can persuade anybody else to take part in it too, and to make their promises for the planet, all the better.

It’s International Women’s Day!

Today it is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women and their achievements across the globe. But what is it and why is it still significant today?

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By Molly Adams from USA (International Women’s Day March) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
A Brief History

International Women’s Day’s origins lie in the early 1900s – a time we all recognise as historically significant for gender equality around the world. According to the official International Women’s Day website, the day marks a “call for gender parity” as well as general celebration of women’s “social, economic, cultural and political achievements”. The first recognised Women’s Day was in the USA in February 1909, after women in New York marched for better pay, voting rights, and better working hours in 1908.

Later, in 1910, Clara Zetkin suggested an International Women’s Day while at the second International Conference of Working Women. The idea was that on this day, women could raise awareness and push for their demands to further equality. In 1911, following this suggestion, International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th March. Two years later, in 1913, the date was revised to 8th March – which has remained the same ever since.

Come 2001, International Women’s Day was in need of a boost against late-20th century complacency, and internationalwomensday.com was born. It became a place to find out what was on, how to participate, and a place to celebrate the achievements of women more publicly.

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By Molly Adams from USA (International Women’s Day March) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
IWD Today

More than 100 years on from the first International Women’s Day, huge leaps have been made to put women on more equal footing with men. The 20th century saw countless countries give women the vote. Women in many countries are far more free to follow careers, but can still choose not to. Education opportunities in the western world particularly have evened up. Many of the biggest names in the creative arts are female.

But that’s not to say that our work is done. Equal pay may be required by law, but that’s not to say it always happens in practice. Equal rights may be allowed by law, but that’s not to say there is no more sexism. Gender discrimination in employment may be banned by law, but that’s not to say it doesn’t still exist.

Protests across the globe today are fighting for still more progress: the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns are popular. Women are also raising awareness of women in work, such as the work women do in the armed forces, and the difficulty women in the technology sector have in such a male-dominated industry. A quick look at the #internationalwomensday2018 and #IWD2018 hashtags on Twitter will show you what women and organisations everywhere are doing to celebrate the day.

So what can we take from International Women’s Day 2018? First off, that women are amazing, strong, and great multitaskers. Second, that there’s always room for improvement. And third, that while we lucky women in certain walks of life have it pretty good, there are women in many other countries who are still fighting for basic rights like an education. We have voices, so let’s use them.