My first term at Queens University, Belfast

In September, I packed my life in my suitcase, waved goodbye to my parents at the airport and jumped on an airplane to Belfast to begin studying History at Queens University. Despite being a fairly relaxed and confident person, I was anxious about this new chapter of my life and how I would cope with the transition from school to university. Having spent fourteen years at Longridge I had never moved school before so how would I know how to make friends? What if I hated my course?? What if I didn’t get on with my flatmates? Thankfully, everyone is in exactly the same boat so the first few days were nowhere near as terrifying as I imagined them to be and instead, I realise that some of the best years of my life are beginning.

I live in a lovely student village about fifteen minutes walk from the University and the flat I share has eleven ensuite rooms and a large kitchen/ dining room. Most of my flat mates come from Northern Ireland but there is one girl from Zimbabwe and I am the token “GB” student so weekends can be quite quiet as everyone goes home to get a proper meal and sleep in their own bed. My flat mates are studying a range of subjects including actuarial science, medicine, maths and accountancy but I am the only history student. Despite our diverging interests we all get along really well and a few of the girls are trying to get a house together next year.

One of the most challenging things for me so far has probably been adapting to the new style of learning at university. Lectures are usually interesting, I have particularly enjoyed learning about the Rwandan Genocide and Imperial India this term as they are areas of history that I had never considered before. However, tutorials were a big culture shock for me. The idea of discussing concepts and opinions with a group of 13 other people doesn’t sound too hard but it can take a bit of getting used to. However, within a few weeks you are joining in and debating with everyone else.

Looking back, I can definitely see the ways in which Longridge prepared me for university that I didn’t notice at the time. Sixth Form was a stage that encouraged more independent study (A Levels and EPQ in particular prepared me for independent research) but also a greater degree of independence at the same time as encouraging me to do my best and be as organised as possible.

I am looking forward to coming home at Christmas and seeing everyone at the 6th Form Snowball as well as catching up with everyone and finding out what they have been up to since we left school.

By Siobhan Bankier


Siobhan Bankier

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
TD15 2XQ United Kingdom
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