Saturday, 30 January 2016

知觉 | #hellobrum

Posted by: Dom Lowth

Well, it’s been a while. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and all that. Sorry thunk has been so quiet for over a month, but those of you who follow our Facebook page (nice one Dom) will know that we decided it would be a good idea to take a break for a while. There was nothing dramatic behind this (no Zayn Malik to leave our boy band); we just thought we’d return having spent some time thinking of lots of new, exciting and original topics to write blog posts about!

That was the idea anyway.

Yet here I am once more, sat at my laptop with nothing much to tell you about. I feel this is becoming a trend. If writing blog posts without interesting and/or exciting new direction was cool and original, then thunk could really be onto something here… but it’s not.

You know what they say anyway: New Year, New Me! Huh.

This blog is never usually very personal at all. I don’t really talk about my own life and what’s going on at my end. I tried it once in the post entitled ‘So this is me’, and it was probably the worst one I’ve ever written. But I thought I’d give it another shot, in the face of such a blinding lack of inspiration. Practice makes perfect etc. So here goes:


The next three years of my life are coming into shape. A couple of months ago I received an unconditional offer from the University of Birmingham to study English. The course had been a late contender on my list of five, and when I sent off my UCAS application I thought I was set on going to Exeter.

But when I got the offer back, it made me think a bit more about the English course at Birmingham - and the university as a whole - as a possibility. I read everything there was to read about the English department, the course structure, the campus, the societies… everything. When I told my parents that Birmingham was becoming more and more attractive to me as a place to study next year, their reaction was understandably cautious. They were wary about my sudden change of heart, asking me the obvious question of whether it had only become attractive because of the unconditional offer.

For any of you who live abroad and don’t have the same university offer system as we do here in the UK, an unconditional offer means that as long as you put a university down as your firm choice (confirmed as the place you’ll study for the next 3 years), it doesn’t matter what results you end up with at the end of your A Levels; there's effectively a place at the uni reserved for you. Clearly this is not the case for the majority of offers, for which the place of study you end up going to depends completely on the grades you achieve at the end of sixth form.

Having the unconditional offer was obviously nice, but at the time it was pretty confusing too. I’d also recently received a very high offer from Exeter – the uni I'd originally been completely won over by – so I needed to do some more thinking. As much as I made sure I could prove to my parents that I wasn’t just looking more at Birmingham suddenly because of the tempting unconditional offer, I had to do the same to settle my own mind. If I could tell myself truthfully that Birmingham was the place for me (and more so than Exeter), I knew my parents would be happy. And clearly, so would I.

So, I read more about the course. Then some more on top of that. I looked into the option that Birmingham students had to take up practical modules in drama, film making, and digital media (all things I had been looking into as possible career paths in the future). Although the Exeter course did touch on some film and drama, the teaching was purely theoretical, and nothing hands-on in the same way. The rest of the Birmingham course modules looked very interesting to me too, with a full range of study from the oldest texts to the most contemporary. 

I looked at the campus as much as I could online too; learning that a new library was being built for 2016, and a new sports centre with a 50m pool (very exciting for me indeed). Money is going into new work/learning areas too, a new student union bar… just about everything, really. And on top of this, the campus struck me as incredibly beautiful. Whereas Exeter seemed to lack much green space, the centre of the Birmingham campus was a generous sprinkling of grass and trees. The buildings are stunning too – as the first red-brick university of the UK – with the amazing 100 meter clock tower 'Old Joe' as a centerpiece. Google image it, she’s a looker.

I recently went on an offer holders’ day for English applicants at the uni, and being there in person confirmed everything for me. The campus was as beautiful as it looked in the photos online, I felt comfortable in the English building (conveniently situated 5 minutes away from the pool, and 3 minutes away from the new library), and I fell in love with the atmosphere. Everything just felt right. In the midst of a very stressful week of school, feeling 'just right' was really, really nice.

As part of the day, the group of English offer holders I was a part of was given a taster lecture and a seminar. As a look at the overlap between law and literature, both were engaging and introduced ideas to me that I’d not really considered before. The thing that struck me more, though, was a sense of belonging. Sat there as part of a group of people I would likely be sharing the lecture hall with in less than a year, I knew it was a crowd I’d fit into. And I loved the variety too; people of all different types, from all over the country; with different styles, outlooks and personalities – brought together by a shared love of words.

And that isn’t the only group I’m excited about becoming a part of at Birmingham. I plan to join the photo and film societies, a choir or two, the swim team and hopefully contribute to the student radio and newspaper if I can. I like doing stuff.

So, that’s where I am now. I’m going to Birmingham. Not because of the unconditional offer, but because it’s the place for me. It’s the course for me, with the people for me, the campus for me and the city for me. It’s dynamic, beautiful, and diverse.

It’s home.

Plus the nightlife does look quite sick too (sorry mum).


Dom's listening to: 'Drag' by Day Wave


Read my previous post here.

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