Young OCs return for Uni Day
The School welcomed back eight Old Caterhamians (OC 2017) to school on 3 July, to enlighten Lower Sixth students on what to expect in their first year of university.
They offered numerous pearls of wisdom from choosing courses in Sixth Form through to managing the work-life balance at university. Prevailing themes were to choose a subject that you love, keep on top of your work load, be a tolerant yet understanding flatmate and to get involved in the sports and clubs on offer.
Tom’s advice was to be flexible with your university choices. He had always planned to take medicine, but after a last minute change to Biomedicine at Kings, now says, “I wouldn’t change a thing, as I have fallen in love with my course”.
They all felt there was a remarkable difference in the style of learning and support from Caterham School to university. Unanimously agreeing that you need to be self-motivated as there is no-one at university to push you to work, reiterating the importance of attending all your lectures and finding a couple of hours each day to review the work covered, in order to avoid an otherwise inevitable end of year cram! Aisha highly recommended purchasing condensed revision books that may be worth reviewing at the start of your course to prepare you for what is to come. Although her best advice was that “if you follow your gut and choose a subject that you are passionate about, you will work harder”.
Naturally it can be daunting starting university and living independently, but universities are keen to help you settle in. As Henry reassured, “everyone is looking to make friends, go to all the Fresher’s events, meet people and make the effort”. Becky added the benefits of joining societies to meet like-minded friends. Both Ria and Chloe were enjoying their lacrosse and football, so recommended “if you join a sports team, you’ll instantly have a team of friends”.
Chloe warned that if you are going to a London university, think carefully when selecting accommodation. If you find yourself too far from your campus, it is worth taking it up with the university to try and find somewhere closer. It was evident that sharing accommodation can be a shock, depending on your flatmates, but they had some tips on how to ensure that you don’t let people take advantage of your good nature and equally don’t be too judgemental of others if they don’t have quite the same standards as yourself!
Cathy impressed the importance of healthy eating, “if you eat badly, you won’t feel good”. They were all familiar with the inevitable temptation to resort to junk food, but had suggestions on budgeting and bulk cooking to freeze.
If ever you feel overwhelmed, or have a friend that might, it is essential to find out what support services are available. As Will shared, “it’s important not to take responsibility for friends, rather seek professional help”. Henry had been fortunate to have a good relationship with his personal tutor so would use him for help and guidance. Clare Brown reassured students that if they are ever concerned that they may be on the wrong course or that their university experience is not working out, that they can still contact her and Caterham School for advice.
Aisha Symmons (Exeter, Law)
Ria Acharya (Birmingham, Chemistry)
Henry Chappell (Nottingham, Music)
Will Owen-Ward (York, Chemistry)
Chloe Blatchford (Kings, Biomedicine)
Cathy Andrews (Surrey, Psychology)
Becky Phillips (UCL, Biomedicine)
Tom Green (Kings, Biomedicine)