Following an interview with E23 radio, Anna Pitt writes for the Norwich School blog about her experiences with applying for University. Find the full radio show by clicking here.
An Interview on University
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by current Lower Sixth pupils Esther Wiggins and Alice Wollocombe on university-life post my Norwich School days. As their own university applications are becoming an ever-growing concern to Esther and Alice, initially, they were intrigued as to how I found the process. I was able to shed some light on the situation; it is a terrifying, exhausting and demanding time in a person’s life but also incredibly rewarding and often satisfying.
Alice claimed she knew little about what she wanted to apply for, and I encouraged her to do what she enjoyed. University is by no means the end goal but merely a step in the direction of future employment. Many A-level students apply for subjects such as medicine or law with their focus narrowed on the jobs associated with such subjects. For me, I chose biological sciences and subsequently was introduced to a multitude of aspects in biology I had not experienced in school resulting in my career aspirations no longer concerning law, but research and development of drugs for pharmaceutical companies.
We also discussed the pros and cons of certain universities often applied to by Norwich School students. Being in my final year at Durham, much of my knowledge only consists of a small, northern, campus-based university consisting of a collegiate system. I drew comparison to the visual likeness between Durham and Norwich, the river enabling Durham’s reputation for rowing and its stellar academic reputation suggesting these were principle factors in the sheer number of ONs currently studying there and why so many Upper Six pupils apply.
I informed the girls on how studying at university is so different to studying in school; the hours are longer and more tiresome, most pieces of work are essay based (even in STEM subjects) and extra support is a commodity that is your responsibility to ask for.
We discussed the pastoral care system at many universities being much improved over recent years due to raising awareness of mental health issues. I explained that collegiate-based universities, such as Durham, were able to add an extra layer of support which is often more personal and therefore more tailored to specific situations. Such support is usually less accessible in universities based in larger cities and/ or those which are not campus-based.
Finally, we discussed any last words I would have to pupils in Esther and Alice’s situation. I further emphasised the importance of doing what you enjoy and to not feel panicked about the unknown or any detours you may have to take to reach your goals.
Anna Pitt, ON