This week, we spoke to Katie Waits from Pontypridd about how her first few months at Cardiff University have been.
How did you find the transition from high school to university?
Katie’s time at Cardiff started a bit wobbly, like many students she had first-time nerves and missed home.
“Generally, I’ve had an enjoyable time but initially it was difficult to make friends and I’ve had to learn to be a lot more independent.
“I quickly overcame these issues and threw myself into the aspects of university life I enjoy. For example, I’ve joined the Harry Potter society and used this to make friends with similar interests to me. Living just half and hour from home has helped me manage the transition as well and really enhanced my experience”
“As a Russell Group university, Cardiff is an ideal choice for those wanting to aim high. I went to the Open Day and the English department was displayed amazingly, the course seemed really interesting with lots of choice in terms of modules – you can almost design your own course.
“As well as the great reputation, I was drawn to Cardiff for personal reasons. It’s just half an hour from home which is perfect for me, as I know I can suffer quite badly with homesickness. Having lived nearby for all my life, I was already quite familiar with the city which helped my transition.
What are your highlights?
“The lectures, definitely! I love to learn new things, and couldn’t wait to get back to it, especially having been away from education since June. So far, they have all been informative and incredibly interesting.
“Doing a joint-honours has meant that I get to study two subjects, which prevents either one getting boring. I’ve never studied journalism or media before and it’s fascinating learning the history and theory behind it. English has also introduced me to new ways of thinking, which is exciting!
How about outside of studying?
“Being close to home, I get to see my family a lot and I’m also still in touch with friends from school but I’m also enjoying having the independence to experience a new city.
“I spend a fair amount of time walking the streets of Cardiff (everything is in walking distance) getting familiar with living in a city rather than a town. I especially love the parks in Cardiff – they’re beautiful in Autumn because of the colours.
“It’s also been great to meet people in person that I got to know over Facebook during the Summer. There were a few Facebook groups set up for people that would be studying the same course, and I’ve made friends with some lovely people who I can sit with in lectures and chat with in a coffee shop.
“Cardiff is also the home of many popular TV programmes – for example Doctor Who and Sherlock. Also, the new Journalism building is right next door to the new BBC building, a perfect location for someone with an interest in the media, like me!
How was the applications process?
“It was straight-forward. The English course didn’t require any interviews or tests, the only tricky bit was the personal statement but thanks to help from the Seren Network, I managed to perfect it. The RCT hub co-ordinator encouraged us to send our personal statements to be reviewed by him before sending them off, which was a huge help. It was also helpful to meet speakers and instructors that had previously studied at Cardiff, giving us an insight into what tutors at Cardiff would be looking for.
“Yes! Number one; make sure you have a strong personal statement that reflects your passion for the subject, this is what will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Secondly; there can be a lot of pressure to apply to certain universities, but you need to apply to the one you think you’ll enjoy the most. I felt like I’d enjoy my time at Cardiff, did my research and weighed up the pros and cons.”