Getting to TSD 0

I first looked up Trinity Saint David when I found myself in Clearing three years ago. This was before the university merged and it had a slightly different name but to all intents and purposes, it’s the same as it was then. My A-levels weren’t what I’d hoped for and Results Day turned into a bit of a nightmare! Track had informed me that morning that I was in Clearing, so I rushed with my family to school to collect my results. After a discussion with the Head of Sixth Form, which involved me admitting that I probably hadn’t worked as hard as I should have done, I returned home and began the business of phoning universities.

I can’t remember how many I phoned but I do remember two things – how helpful and lovely the people from TSD were, and the fact that I ended up choosing between Lampeter and Roehampton. Both offered me places when I said I had an A in my Latin A-level. In the end, I chose Lampeter – from Google, it looked like a very pretty campus and somewhere that, theoretically, I wouldn’t have too many distractions from studying!

I didn’t go to an Open Day so the first time I went to Lampeter was also when I moved into halls. It was a hectic and nerve-wracking day. Though I knew that everyone else would be feeling the same, I was convinced that my new fellow students would see right through my frail attempt at being cool. I remember how I felt when my parents drove away, leaving me to finish unpacking and arranging my room just as I liked it: a little lost, quite lonely and even more nervous. The feeling persisted for a couple of days. What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I was destined to spend the next three years here by myself? Even worse, what if I couldn’t hack it and ended up having to drop out?!

Luckily, none of these things happened. (Clearly I didn’t drop out: I graduated only a few weeks ago!) I made some good friends in my hall and with some boys from one of the other halls, after my stunning performance of Livin’ La Vida Loca at Karaoke Night. It wasn’t so much my singing talent as my sheer bravery that impressed! Making plenty of friends was great, especially when quite a few of them were good cooks. I managed to time visits around dinner and got free food fairly often!

Settling into the studying side of things was fairly easy too. Apart from one plagiarism incident, it was smooth sailing. I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of references and citations yet but my lecturers and personal tutor were extremely understanding and helpful. Despite the mishap, I still obtained a 2:1 in that module. As the year went on and we moved away from introductory modules, such as Study Skills, I really began to enjoy what I was learning. I’ve always liked Latin and being able to continue that at university had been my main goal when applying through UCAS. The small class sizes, particularly for Intermediate Greek, ensured that every students’ needs were met and also meant that we got to know lecturers very well. That’s definitely one of the biggest differences to me between university and school: though you still might not feel like one, lecturers treat you like an adult and it’s easier to have laidback discussion with them.

Lampeter campus is very small, with a small number of students to match but to my mind, this is what sells it to me. You tend to get to know everyone, and get to know them really well. You’re a name rather than a number and it’s not just your personal tutor who knows you well enough to give you advice. In language classes especially, there’s more chance to have your individual needs addressed. Lampeter and TSD are not perfect by any means – Lampeter could do with a cinema, at least! But despite my route there, I had a very good time and often I wish I could go back to first year and do it again.