The Time Before University, or the Longest Summer of my Life 0

I am one of those people who have difficulties deciding what they want to do when they grow up. At some point in your life you come to a stage when you just have to go for it and make a change. For me the moment came when I was doing my final year in upper secondary school in Finland. I had already decided that I needed a change of scene, so I made the choice to look at options to study abroad. At this point I was still living at home and had the security of being fed and not paying any household bills. Moving away from home, especially moving abroad, was therefore a very big step for me. In order to go through with this I decided to only look at university courses in English speaking countries as English had always been one of my stronger languages, Britain being my number one choice.

After much debating I finally created a UCAS account and started applying for courses. At this point I had decided that I wanted to study archaeology and the archaeology courses at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, really stood out so I decided to put Lampeter down as one of my choices. It was with great excitement that I, in Spring 2010, opened my letter from Trinity Saint David, confirming that I had a conditional offer for the course in joint honour archaeology and medieval history. What I remember the most about reading the letter was that they had actually quoted me from my personal statement in my application form, and I think that from then on my mind had already been made up to where I was going to study in September 2010 to do my undergraduate degree.

That summer was the longest wait in my life. I had never before been so excited about something and talking to other future Lampeter students on the UCAS forum just made me more frustrated that the days could not pass any quicker. At the end of September I quit my job, sold my car and started getting ready to go to university. I believed I may have repacked my suitcase five times before it met the weight requirements of the flight company. Deciding what to take and what to leave behind was an incredibly difficult choice.

I had already agreed with the university that they would send somebody to pick me up from Cardiff Airport, so after a teary good-bye to my family I boarded the plane, ready for new adventures. In order to get to Cardiff from Finland it turns out you have to do two transfers, one in Riga and another one in Amsterdam. The flight journeys went fairly smooth with only minor panic attacks. I arrived in Cardiff safe and sound, but as it turned out my suitcase had been left in Riga. So I now found myself in a completely new country with no luggage except for my hand luggage. Surprisingly it was not as stressful as you may think. To be honest, I think the lust of adventure and being eager to discover what this country had to offer really helped calm me down.

In the car making our way up to Lampeter I don’t think that I took my eyes off Wales for even a moment. When we finally made it into Lampeter we first had to make a stop at the reception in the old building to pick up the keys for my room in Dawson hall. As it happens, two girls from Ireland had already moved into the rooms next to mine and we immediately became good friends despite me struggling to understand their accent.

The first people I met were of huge importance to me as they helped to get me started with the university life, which I am forever grateful for. Although I had a very interesting start at university with my suitcase being left in Riga, I was able to enjoy being a student at a very unique university from the start. It was very exciting to get to meet new people from all over the world, speak English, explore a different country and of course to start my new university course. I instantly fell in love with the town and the people. I knew I had made the right choice coming here and I really couldn’t wait for what experiences the coming three years would bring to me.