This Saturday 11th February 2017, I attended Southampton Solent University for their Admissions Day.
Already in October 2016 I had attended an open day at this precise University when I was still deciding on what university to chose, but now, visiting this time, I was going having chosen this university for definite.
This September, I will be studying Foundation in Journalism, Advertising and Marketing at Southampton Solent, going onto a BA (Hons) in Journalism. This open day was a chance for me to show my mother around, but also for me to have a taster session within their facilities.
To explain further Southampton Solent University has been a university since July 2005, and strives on the lives of their students, supporting them through a successful few years learning, and then further into working life. This university is known for shaping their pupils into becoming the best they can be, and for creating the best life at university that’s possible.
“We aim to offer an outstanding student experience, combining applied skills and intellectual challenge with a diverse, inclusive and supportive learning environment – developing students’ self-confidence and enhancing their careers.“
However, Solent did not used to be a university.
It was founded as a private School of Art in 1856, only becoming independent in 1989 at the name of Southampton Institute. Since then it has grown from a school, to a college, to a university, now being Southampton Solent that we know today.
The day was laid out for my mother and I as a 7:30 morning wake up, aiming to leave the hotel for 8:30 to get to the university for 9:15. Little did we know that from the hotel, the university was only a five minute drive away, so once we arrived at the car park we had the perfect amount of time to get lost.
Yes, we got lost.
After turning out of the car park we turned the wrong way, resulting in us killing ten minutes of our time, walking in the wrong direction.
Thankful for the map we came across, we were able to turn back around and get to the university in good time.
Once there, we had time to look around the stalls, talking first to the people on the School of Business, Law and Communications table who were lovely enough to show us where the free tea and coffee was held! – I’m always down for free things!
The lady I spoke to was able to talk to us briefly about the course that I was in line to study, giving me some names to remember for later on in the day when I should find these people, and be able to talk to them in further detail.
The next stall I visited was the Solent Futures stand where a lovely lady chatted to me about the employability that I could get involved in once I started at the university, to make sure that my regular income wasn’t only coming from my student finance every month. I was able to grab a few leaflets from her before heading off to where the Journalism talk was being held.
Heading to the room I was able to meet some helpful people who told me how the course I had chosen was a great one, which was very reassuring – in all honesty.
I got to the room an hour early, and was able to meet one lecturer who I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name of! And three students, two of which were in their final year of BA (Hons) Journalism, and one who was doing her Masters.
In the hour leading up the talk, I was able to chat to these three students while my mum chatted to the lecturer.
Hearing from actual students of the university was brilliant, and I got the impression that everything they said to me was genuine. They were able to tell me about the course, what living in Halls is like, and also about different Sports Groups and Societies. I learned about the inside of the social life at the university, as well as what the course had to offer me, which I greatly appreciate.
Honestly, the social life is something I am most worried about, as I’m sure it’s nothing like the movies, therefore not that easy to swing into, but I hope that I’ll be able to make friends at my time here at Solent nonetheless. Living at Halls, I’ll hopefully meet some brilliant people, as well as meet some awesome people while on my course.
Before the chat started I was able to meet the course leader of the Foundation year, Chris Richards, who I thought at first sounded like the name of a celebrity, until I was reminded by my mum that I was thinking of Keith Richards… oops. Bit of a mistake on my part.
I was able to chat to him about my course, definitely assuring me that I had picked the right one. He seemed very encouraging that I had a blog already and had a passion for writing, which I definitely do, so that was comforting. I surely had made the right choice for a course then.
Once other people had arrived for the Journalism session, I was led over to join them where we were all then split into three groups and taken to different places to experience all of the new ways we would be learning within the course.
Originally, my Mum and I had planned to go on a Campus Tour for the morning, but sitting there talking to the students I got too involved and completely forgot about the tour! Remembering about the tour after the Journalism Talk had started, I wasn’t entirely too worried about the tour as I had already been on a tour last open day, but my mum hadn’t been on one so I was slightly worried on that part.
At first I was led over to a broadcasting section where a green screen was located, a teleprompter and camera were set up facing a desk and chair that had a prop sheet of paper on top.
We were then told one by one, to sit in front of the camera and read from the teleprompter – after being shown how to by one of the existing students of course – pretending that we were a News Anchor.
It was so much fun, but also quite daunting.
When I was sitting in front of the camera I had the ongoing reminder in the back of my mind saying…
“You’re being recorded. Don’t mess up. Don’t mess up.”
Which then of course led me to mess up. But hopefully no one thought too much of the little stammer half way through me speaking as I just kept talking after, talking a bit too quickly to end things but I’m sure I’ll get used to it all after a while at the university.
We were then made to watch ourselves back!!
When watching, I realised how slouched I was and dead-eyed.
I also realised how unflattering that jumper is for my figure… oh well. Lesson Learned.
I don’t get embarrassed often, but for most of the time watching myself over, I couldn’t bare to look at myself. I just thought I looked and did awful. Sure, I talked clearly and got the news read, but I looked horrible doing it! Something to improve, definitely. And that jumper is soon going to be for lazy days only!
Moving on, we went downstairs to the radio station!
This was brilliant!
I had done a bit of radio only once before in my life. I was in year six, eleven years old, in Primary School and doing an extracurricular project to create my own radio show.
It was called Echo Radio – which doesn’t sound too bad if I do say so myself. I read the news, the weather and did a short advertisement between them, while also playing some of my own created music. It was all part of the project; I wasn’t a young DJ that had a secret celebrity life to the side, although that does sound quite cool.
So, that was my only experience with radio, which seemed very different to what I was about to experience.
In here were professional microphones, headphones, a sound board, computers that held news clips that would go between speech, and computers that held radio software that looked foreign to me. It was so cool! I felt like a child going to a sweet shop for the first time and wanting to try everything and anything.
In threes we went into our own separate studios with an existing Multimedia Student who showed us how everything worked, before instructing us to pick a piece of paper that held a news report we liked the look of, and read it to Radio Standards.
With me being me, I picked up the news report about Mental Health, being drawn to that with my interest in the subject. Also, my piece had a bit about dolphins so that was good!
Listening over to the piece that I did now, I think I did quite well, although I did stutter on pronouncing some of the names, but you’ve got to let me off as I’d only heard my own mind saying the words; I didn’t know how they were really pronounced.
I think I could have done better with speaking a little more casual. I spoke very formally, which I hope I don’t sound like all the time… if I did then people would probably think I was a snob. If a life in radio is where I’m heading, I definitely need to learn to relax my voice. This isn’t the stage where I need to be heard at the back of the room; this is radio where a microphone is right next to my mouth and is recorded onto a computer.
Next was the writing task, which was where I was much more comfortable.
We were given two front pages to start with, told to chose one, and then write in tag-lines and titles that we thought would seem interesting and eye-catching. There was a little section on the cover I had chosen, to name three places that we thought would be a MUST-TRAVEL-TO destination for news purposes, in which I chose Washington, DC because of Trump, Syria because of ISIS and the refugee campaigns, and London, UK because of Brexit and our links we’re soon to be creating with Donald Trump and the American Parliament.
We were then told to write 200 words about why we had chosen to apply for the course we did; what we liked about it; what experience we had in the subject. I had to cut down on the amount that I wrote as I can seriously write forever sometimes, even though I didn’t have much experience to write about besides this blog and my books.
After all of the activities were complete, everyone got back together again and we sat through a talk about social media platforms – which I had already followed – before parting ways.
I took the time after the session to meet with Chris Richards again, to talk about the disabilities side of the course and the help that I could hopefully receive.
I will say, the support at this university is the best I have ever come across through my searching of universities. It’s brilliant!
When chatting to Chris, I told him about my blog and social media platforms, talking to him about the activity I post and how often I try and stay in contact with the internet to keep myself in the loop with the now.
It was great that I could talk about it all and it not seem abnormal like it usually is when I talk to others about my blog and social medias. I mentioned that I used to take video clips to document days, or that I like to take photographs that I can later put on my blog but never feel like I can take the right photograph or video as it seems rude to most people I’m with. It was so fascinating and incredible to be in a place where taking random photos or video clips for documentation, or for a blog is smiled upon and encouraged that I made sure to take a lot more photos after the trial session on the equipment.
I was then reunited with my mother who had announced that she had gone on the Campus Tour while I was doing my Taster Session!! That was one less thing to worry about now.
We then headed to look at Accommodation.
There’s so many accommodation buildings to look at! The variety is brilliant and doesn’t make me worry that I won’t get anywhere to live next year.
Already, I had looked around all of the accommodation in October, so my mum and I only went and visited the nearest Halls before admitting that we were too hungry and tired to look at all of them, and headed back to the university.
I’m sure that if I hadn’t already seen the accommodation before, mum and me would’ve braved a look at all of them, but seeing as I had already, and it was 3pm, and we hadn’t eaten since 8am, we were ready for lunch.
On the university campus there are lots of places to eat from Costa to a Deli to an ice-cream bar. The variety makes me very happy.
We settled for salads at the deli, catching the last bits of food left seeing as we had left eating so late.
The Open Day was due to end at 3pm, so we understood why there wasn’t much of a selection. It’s been noted to try the Hot Pots at the Deli once properly enrolled at the university come September!
The Deli was a cute, New-York-Studio-Esque space that had old video game consoles and cameras on the wall! It looked awesome and definitely my place to hang out. I can see me reading and eating my lunch there many times next year…
Once we had eaten, it was time to go home.
The university had fallen quiet as people had either packed away, or were packing up their things, ready to leave.
Overall today had been a very positive today filled with a list of things to look forward to come September. Everyone seems so nice, and speaks to others as adults and not Teacher-Pupil, which I highly appreciate. There is a lot of respect for each other in this university which I think will benefit me in feeling much more at home, and have the ability to be myself.
I can’t wait for September when I truly start my life here at Southampton Solent.
Thank you for having me for the Admissions Day, Solent. See you soon.