At age 18, three months from finishing sixth form, I was excited for what the coming September would bring. I was due to start Uni with a few friends and was looking forward to the summer, letting go of exam stress and (maybe a bit too much) partying. My summer plans were put on hold when I was struck with health problems, which also made my university journey delayed. I was jealous watching my friends go through first, second, and third year, and eventually watching them all graduate. I believed my opportunity for higher education had been and gone, and I began working but never felt satisfied. I was continually stuck in jobs that I couldn’t picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

I always loved writing, and started a blog in my free time to escape the stress of my 9-5. I convinced myself this was just a hobby until summer 2022. I had a shock when my boyfriend suggested to me “If you want to do that as a career, why don’t you go and get a degree?”. This was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind. “Surely I’m too old and it’s too late to apply though?” I replied. My whole perception of University was completely influenced by what I had seen my friends experience five years prior. They started at 18, graduated at 21 and were enjoying their full-time jobs which were related to their degrees. This is something that I wanted for myself too, but felt as if my time had passed. I had been out of education for six years and felt as if I would be behind everyone else if I were to return now. It was also late in the summer, and I thought ‘even if I wanted to go, it’s August, they won’t accept me this year!'.

It wasn’t until I started to do my research and found the University of Essex that I realised that I could continue my education at 23. I spoke with the Clearing team and was informed that it wasn’t too late for me to apply for that year! The Clearing application process was an easy one and wasn’t as daunting as I thought it might be. I didn’t want to move away from home, so the Colchester campus was perfect for me, it offered the exact degree I wanted to do and even had entire events and mixers just for mature students! I was more motivated than ever to apply, I was in a point in my life where I had an exact career path in mind, and I knew which degree I would need to get in order to achieve my goals. I hoped my Clearing application was accepted and eagerly awaited confirmation. I was filled with excitement when I received an email offering me a place at University of Essex!

My First term at Essex was unlike anything I had experienced before. The thought of navigating a new place, meeting strangers, and having a different workload was completely daunting. Once I had settled, I realised that the fears were completely irrational. I met people that I now consider some of my closest friends and can easily navigate around campus. It’s a relief to be doing assignments on topics that I actually enjoy, and the sense of freedom is amazing. Even though I am only in my first year, I already feel so connected with Essex and look forward to what the next years ahead bring!

Click here for more information about Clearing at Essex.

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