4 things I wish I knew before starting university
“The second I walked in, I just knew it was the place for me. When I went to a couple of other places, I just didn’t click but when I walked onto Chichester’s campus and met people I was like ‘yeah, this is it, this is home.’”
1. It’s easier to make friends than you think it is!
I think when you move to university you get to start a clean slate. You can come here with a fresh start and be the person you want to be.
You get to surround yourself with people you know you’re going to like and everyone is so welcoming. I remember moving into my halls and being terrified because the majority of my flat was Sports students. I thought I was going to be sat there trying to learn Shakespeare whilst they’re belting out Three Lions!
But actually, we just all clicked immediately and it was so nice. We literally became best mates and I ended up living with them in my second year as well. It’s one of those things where everyone loves everyone – there’s just no kind of real prejudice or anything, everyone’s just really friendly. Even when it came to second year during the pandemic and we were home, we would have a couple of beers across FaceTime and do online murder mysteries – it was really cool!
I wish I knew I could be as confident as I wanted to be from the get-go, I could have come completely out of my shell. The second you go in, don’t be nervous (easier said than done, I know!)
It’s going to be the most supportive place you’ll ever find.
2. You get a lot of creative freedom, and it helps you shape who you are
I’m speaking from my Theatre experience, it’s insanity – but the good kind. You have all of these different types of teachers with a wealth of experience and you’re just there like – these people are unbelievable! Theatre is already known for being very expressive of yourself anyway, and at Chichester you just get to see so many people discover who they are.
I have friends who have discovered they’re non-binary or trans and we get to watch them come into their own element. Everyone on Theatre, and the rest of the Chichester community, just backs everyone 100% and it’s beautiful to see.
I love the creative freedom I get through my course. The lecturers have so much faith and trust in us – we were doing a production and they just let us run with it and go wild, and they backed our decisions 100%.
You’re not going to be ridiculed or talked down to by academic staff here because it’s never the point of ‘I know more than you’ it’s more like ‘I’ve had more experience, but I’m interested in your ideas and how we can collaborate’ – it’s never a harsh thing.
3. Explore the local area!
I feel like I was only ever in three places in my first year; campus, Vestry and Spoons. But there are so many cool places in the city and local area, you just need to find them!
My go-to places are:
- The Hornet Alehouse – they do good craft beer!
- Duke and Rye – it’s a really cool pub in an old church with a pool table in it (and students get 20% off so that’s a lifesaver!)
- Oaklands park and Priory park – the best places to have a chilled tinny with your pals
- The Trundle – the best place to view West Sussex and watch sunsets!
4. Always go for the vibe!
I’m going to sound like such a douche – but the biggest thing for me is always the vibe!
The second I walked in I just knew it was the place for me. When I went to a couple of other places, I just didn’t click but when I walked onto Chichester’s campus and met people I was like ‘yeah, this is it, this is home.’
Always go to the university you vibe the most with. Some people might not vibe with Chichester – but I think it’s very vibey.
It’s just all been great so far, I could go on forever. I’ve not really had any negative experiences and if I did, I’d say them!
Isaac Byram, BA (Hons) Theatre