February 2014: A month of university visits and decisions!

So, a while ago I started writing this post and I’d only got about half way through the month and the word count was already about 1000! I have since decided that today’s post should be a little more concise, so I will aim to write as little as possible!

Anyway, a bit of background. On 31st January, my mum broke her foot falling down the stairs for the second time (although it was a different foot). This meant that all our plans for my transport to university visit days were in jeopardy – she could no longer drive me! The following day was a visit to Royal Holloway, and originally my parents were going to drive me up and then visit Windsor. Instead my dad drove me, and spent some time exploring his old university and seeing me during my breaks. Whilst there I met a girl called Kayleigh Wiltshire and we got pizza for lunch together before meeting our respective parents at the sample lectures, all of which were very good. Kayleigh, if you are reading this, do comment and let me know where you decided on, also feel privileged that you are the only person I have met that I have been able to name in full on my blog! Anyway, we went home after a very nice day.

My next visit, two weeks later, was to Reading, which required catching a train at 8:04 at Hove then changing at Brighton, where I decided to get the delayed Bedford train, which stopped at every stop! Nevertheless, I arrived at Gatwick in plenty of time for my connecting train to Reading – except due to the flooding the previous day it was cancelled. I was pretty annoyed, especially because there’s only one train an hour. In the meantime I went into the airport and found that there was little to do – the most interesting thing was the police opening a suspicious bag and the detour of people due to a leak. I rang home but eventually the 10:03 came and I was on my way. I found my bus and arrived around 12, having missed the beginning of the day. The rest of the day was informative and I had a nice free lunch with two girls called Grace and Ellie, followed by a campus tour. I ran across a muddy field to catch my bus and then caught the next available train (they’d lifted the restrictions so I went to Clapham Junction). It was definitely a triumph in independent travelling for me!

Next up was a visit to Bristol the following Wednesday, which was combined with a visit to my godmother in Gloucester. We went up there on the Tuesday and had a nice time together (although I cannot really remember what we did!). Then I caught the train the next morning to Bristol Temple Meads – it took a while but I arrived in OK time and caught the next bus to the university. I got there just in time for the welcome talk and then there was a tour and sample lecture, after which I found my friend Patrick and we discussed the university and life over the free tea and biscuits. We found a bus stop and the bus towards the train station and then parted company – I caught a very posh Cross Country train to Cheltenham (I think) and then caught another train towards Cardiff, but got off at Gloucester obviously! We then drove home and probably had a curry.

My final university visit was a week later, to Kent. My mum had hoped to drive me up there, but her foot meant that this was no longer an option, so it was off on a train at 6am to Canterbury. I bumped into someone from college at Brighton station, but I was soon on my way to Eastbourne, where I then changed to the train I was supposed to have originally got towards Ashford, and then changed to the train to Canterbury West. I ended up arriving a whole hour before I was supposed to, so I went down the High Street to the Tourist Information Centre for a map and then had a second breakfast of a ham and cheese toastie at Costa, before heading out on the bus to the campus. I got some free tea and then there was the normal visit day activities of a tour and talks on the course. I got a nice free lunch of pizza and chips and after the history info talk I bumped into a boy from my French class. I almost missed the bus to get back to the station, because they were all going to Canterbury East station so in the end I got on one of them and got off round the corner to the station. I got there around 4pm and my train left at 16:04 – I could see the train on my way and so I sprinted round the corner and made the train, albeit very out of breath. This meant that I could get the early connection and arrived home in good time to then start thinking about which universities to choose!

For more detail on any of these university visits, please comment and I will tell you all the details.

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