I suppose my Cardiff story starts in the social area at sixth form, where my friend and I pored over University guide after University guide. We analysed their facilities, the cities and the courses but really, I chose Cardiff because of its atmosphere. The city seemed welcoming, the people unintimidating, the layout simple and the course liberatingly open to personal choice. There are compulsory modules in English Literature at Cardiff but not nearly as many as some Universities and the range of topics you can cover is vast. During my time here I have studied the likes of Shakespeare, Romantic Poetry and Austen but also Crime Fiction, Critical Theory and Caribbean Slave Writing to name but a few. I have found the support of tutors and lecturers incredibly helpful.
Cardiff is a genuinely lovely city, with everything you could want from one place in walking distance. Cardiff Bay is beautiful, the shopping is never-ending and the nightlife non-stop; you can go out every night of the week! Not that I would recommend that of course. When I return home to the secluded country (where I have to drive thirty minutes to see anything remotely resembling real life) I always miss being able to walk to the cinema and to a wealth of clubs, bars and restaurants in ten minutes.
Talybont (the largest area of halls in Cardiff, where you might end up in first year) was possibly the best year of my life. There are constant opportunities to make friends, the fun of living with and getting used to people you don’t know and unlimited heating and hot water. Yes! There are many funny stories of the happenings of Freshers at Talybont but one of my favourite events was when I went out, only to come back and find that my flatmates had tin-foiled my entire room. I mean everything: pens, books, bedding, laptop, chair, the shower head. Nevertheless, we all have to move on and most of us do that in second year, to Cathays. Cathays is a student city within a city. Yes, we might have rubbish piled on the streets, unannounced maintenance work for three months and neighbours you always hear but never see. But it also has fantastic pubs (try Gassy Jacks), cheap food and is five minutes from lectures. And your friends are guaranteed to be within walking distance.
The University has benefitted me in numerable ways. I have long aspired to work in media and more specifically, in radio. One of the first things I did when I got here therefore was to seek out student media. I found Xpress (Cardiff University’s Radio Station) at the freshers fayre, signed up and haven’t looked back. I’ve presented, produced, promoted, edited audio and now manage other presenters and producers as Daytime Programme Controller. I have gained valuable skills that no real radio station would ever have given me the chance to experience! I’ve also gained a great set of mates who are as enthusiastic and motivated about radio as I am.
I have also been involved in and am now President of the English Literature Society, which is great fun and has led to dinners and socials in pubs and clubs, as well as theatre trips and movie nights. Getting to know people on your course can be tough to begin with but joining something like this will help you take a step in the right direction. There are a wealth of activities to join at Cardiff and whatever you’re into, you will find or perhaps even create a society that will bring people like you together.