After receiving a place at Cardiff Uni through clearing I was incredibly happy but I was also very nervous to start at a university I had not initially planned to go to. Due to receiving my place at Cardiff uni through clearing, one of the first things I had to arrange for myself was accommodation. Cardiff University are now able to accommodate most Clearing and Adjustment students in their residences on a first-come first-served basis. In my case, I found that all of the university halls were full and so I had to look around for other living options. I found that private accommodation was too expensive and so one of the only other options was to live in a student house that was arranged by the university’s letting agency. The option of living in a student house was slightly more daunting, but it ended up being a great living option for me. I made some lovely friends who I’m still close to as I go into my third year, and I lived in an incredibly convenient location for all my lectures and seminars. So if you or one of your friends don’t end up getting a place in university residences, then don’t let the option of living in a house scare you, because it can end up being a great living option!
After a few weeks of living in my house I decided that a great way for me to branch out and make more friends was to join a sport. I had always played netball so I ended up joining an IMG netball team. The IMG netball teams are subject based teams who play other subject teams within the university. This level was great for me because I enjoy playing netball, but I was more interested in socialising and making friends rather than competing in a really serious way. I would highly recommend joining a sport or a society when you first start university. It’s such a great way to meet people and some of my closest friends now are the friends I made through joining netball.
As well as sports teams and societies, there are so many other opportunities on offer for new students. In my first year I decided to carry on my Welsh and so I joined the university’s ‘Languages For All’ scheme. The scheme allows students to learn a language for free and this was a great way for me carry on speaking Welsh but to also meet other like minded students. It is also a good idea to get involved in other events and experiences that the university has to offer. Cardiff University arranges subject based balls which are always a lot of fun, the student union always hosts fun nights out every week, and one of the best events of the year is Varsity day, where Cardiff Uni compete against Swansea Uni in different sporting events. Varsity day is such a fun day spent with your friends and it has definitely been a highlight of my university experience so far.
Living in a city as busy and as exciting as Cardiff has also been great for job opportunities. During my first year of university I worked at the Principality Stadium, which is the national stadium of Wales. It hosts rugby games, concerts, boxing matches as well as other big events and I absolutely loved working in such an exciting venue. Throughout my time at University I’ve also worked as a student ambassador where I’ve worked at various open days and for the university clearing centre which is a great way to earn money but to also give back to the university and to meet other students.
I’ve loved my time at Cardiff University so far and it’s a very sad thought that this time next year I will be graduating from a university that I absolutely love. My advice to new students would be to make the most of as many different opportunities as you can. Joining sports teams and societies, learning a language and having a job are some of the many ways to meet new people, make friends for life and to truly make the most of your university experience.