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I got into UEA through clearing, here’s why you shouldn’t panic

No one asks if clearing got you in at the LCR

Picture the scene: it’s 9:30am on 16th August 2018, I've opened up my UCAS in the car on the way to my sixth form to pick up my results, but… I've missed my firm, damn it. Through not having an insurance choice, I ended straight up in clearing. It's seems a bit of a sticky situation.

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I got into UEA in 2018 through clearing. At the time, I remember being so confused and lost. By the time I accepted my clearing offer, the additional open days had passed, so I had no idea what the campus physically looked like or even if UEA was a campus university or a city university.

Until I had reached the campus in September for the “move in day”, I had still never stepped foot in UEA. I had no idea of my course modules – I just knew the name of the course.

It was hard initially settling in knowing that many people chose UEA as their firm or insurance university. Many people already recognised each other from group chats formed earlier in the summer and I just felt very left out.

There was a lot of pressure to sort out everything before university started and I felt very alone during that time, especially because being at a grammar school, we were not prepared on what to do if we had to go through clearing, it just wasn't something that crossed our minds.

Here's everything you need to know:

You are not stupid, or lesser than anyone else at your uni just because you got in through clearing

As said before, I went to a grammar school and there was no support for students who ended up in clearing. We were just told that it happens to some students, but it should not happen to you. This made a lot of students at my sixth form feel helpless and small on results day having entered clearing. Listen to me, you are not stupid and you do not lack academic ability. University is a whole new world that is so independent of your school life.

Everything will fall into place

I was initially very anxious to start university because I felt like I did not have a lot of time to sort out things before term started. I felt like I ran out of time and that I was always five steps behind everyone else. But it was okay, because everything fell into place.

Make friends – you'll need them when the going gets rough

University can be a big place, especially if you came entirely by yourself. Making friends is so crucial as you need a support system at university, especially if you are staying away from home. Sometimes you’ll need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to watch that new Netflix show with or someone to wake you up in lectures.

You will need that person, and you may even become that person for someone else. Starting friendships is such a beautiful thing and looking back at how my closest university friendships started, me coming out of my shell was the starting point of them all.

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Snakebites become your friends too

Make friends, but don't feel like you have to be everyone's best mate

As said before, making friends and having a support network away from home is so important, but you must be careful. You will be meeting new people who have no connection to home, in other words, complete strangers. You do not always know people’s intentions.

As important as it is to open up, you have to remember that you do not know everyone, and a lot of people will be keen start friendships. You do not have to open up straight away if you do not want to. The most beautiful friendships are the ones built up over time. My first year at UEA would not have been as great as it was without my friends. There were so many times I wanted to drop out and leave university. Days where I did not want to get out of bed and felt like I had no purpose but my friends helped me through this and there is no where else I'd rather be.

Have fun, because there's no fun to be had once you graduate

For most people, you will only be an undergraduate once. So if you want to start a YouTube channel, start it. If you want to join that sports team, join it. If you want to transfer course, transfer.

It's your life and you're not going to get this time back. When you’re a lawyer, or engineer or script writer or teacher, don’t you want to look back over your time at university and think that you made the most of it?

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My flat had a Christmas dinner, for one of our international flatmates it was their first ever one.

My first year at university was a rollercoaster but everything fell into place, and it will be for you too.