I knew I wanted to go to university from an early age. I remember leaving primary school knowing that to get where I wanted to be, I needed to work hard, get my GCSEs and then my A-Levels. I did not know what I wanted to study; my long-term plan always changed. One day I wanted to be a surgeon, the next an actress. But I knew I wanted, no needed, to go to university. It was my chance to escape the small-town life and enter the big wide world. Something I have been looking forwards to my entire life. I hated being in one place all the time. Where everyone knew everyone and there was nothing left to discover. I come from a village in West Yorkshire, life is quiet there. Therefore, coming to London was a big shock for me. I knew it would be scary and new. However, I am so glad I did it. There is always something new happening here. Just on the tube ride into central London, I see unfamiliar faces & heard different accents. It is all fascinating to me.
When I turned sixteen, I went to Malaysia. This was my first experience of the world outside the EU. I fell in love with the people who lived there, and their culture. At this point in my life, I knew I had an interest in politics. However, I did not know what field I wanted to go into. But, after the first day in Malaysia, I decided I wanted to work somewhere like that. So, that night, I did loads of research; the politics of the country, South East Asia, the people who ran it. I wanted to know it all. This is where I learnt about Victoria (Vicki) Treadell, the High commissioner of Australia (at the time Malaysia), and she became a personal hero. This was a big moment in my life. Up until this point, I was just guessing what I wanted to do. But after this, I had a vision of who I wanted to be. So, when I came back home and started my A-Levels, I had a path. Tunnel vision to where I wanted to be. I started my search for Universities. This is where the University of Westminster comes into the story. I had been searching for weeks and weeks and then it appeared. My perfect university. The University of Westminster. The course looked amazing and I knew I wanted to see it. So, I pushed my mum to travel down to London to an open day. That is when my mum fell in love with the university as well. Over the course of the next two years, we came down to open days three more times. When the application process started in my second year of A-Levels, I put the University as my number one choice. I did not even want to put any others. This was the only university I wanted to be at. I got my conditional offer and worked so hard within college.
I was on holiday on results day and so I was not sure whether I would get my result straight away. However, on the 15th August, I woke up at 7am, after tossing and turning all night, to a text message from Westminster welcoming me to the university. I remember shouting out my window to my mum, who was walking the dog on the beach, that I had gotten in. The relief I felt was amazing. I had worked so hard to get to this point.
University has been great so far, I have made friends from all around the world. That is one thing I love about the university, it is so diverse that every person has a completely different story, each has their own culture and traditions. So not only am I getting a higher education, but I am learning new thing from the people around me.
I chose Westminster because of how welcome I felt at the open days, the professors were passionate about what they were talking about (something I hadn’t felt at some of the other universities I had visited) and the way the assessment process is conducted fits perfectly with the way I learn.
I am so glad I chose Westminster; I cannot wait for the rest of my university experience and for all the opportunities Westminster will offer me.
By: Lauren Norcliffe, first year International Relations student
Photo: DEN Meeting