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My first year, as everyone already knows, has been a year like no other, and it was most definitely not the way I planned to start my university experience! After taking a gap year that was supposed to be filled with travelling, I was super down about starting university and having not experienced all that I had wanted to in that year. So, it didn’t help when the university that I originally started at (NOT Chester) had moved everything online and I was stuck in the confinement of my flat all day every day. I decided that this wasn’t the place for me and began my journey through Clearing to the University of Chester.  

I joined Chester at the beginning of October to study for a degree in Events Management and I was so nervous about making friends (especially as I had missed Fresher's week) and catching up on the work that I had missed. But everyone in the admissions team was so helpful in guiding me through the process and helping me sort out accommodation and finance and it was so reassuring to know that any questions that I had would be answered. I had never visited the University before (even though it had been my insurance choice!), so I had no idea what to expect when I arrived on October 19th.  

In the middle of October, when I was just getting access to all of the resources, I got a message from Steph Hodge (one of the Chester Business School lecturers) asking to meet on MS Teams. I was a bit worried as it was all new software and I didn't know what to expect, but it was so easy to use and Steph was so kind. We had a lovely long chat about starting at Chester and a catch up on all that I needed to know for her module. Straight away I felt like Chester was a home away from home and I was surrounded by lovely people, who made me feel so welcome both in university and my accommodation. I am currently living at Tramways which is one of the many privately-owned student accommodation sites in Chester and it is only a short distance from nearly all of the campuses. As I am a business student, I am studying at Queens Park on the other side of the River Dee and my walk to the University includes going through Grosvenor Park, which is so beautiful. 

Blended Learning 

My modules have been a mixture of online and in-person throughout the year, but no matter where I was or what time it was, I knew that if I needed support from lecturers or study skills that they would be able to help me find the answers to my questions. As Chester was one of the only universities I had applied to that continued with face-to-face teaching, I believed it to be a great opportunity to attend lectures (even if we were sat two metres apart) and get to know the people on my course. I now have an amazing group of friends that are studying the same course as I am, and we are always helping each other out with any last-minute assignment questions and we have all vowed to go out for drinks once we are allowed to do so! 

Even though 75% of the teaching has been online, I don’t think that it has impacted my learning in any way - it is so much easier to speak to the tutors if you don’t like talking in front of a whole class by just popping any questions into the chat bar or sending them a private message through Teams.  

Exploring Chester

My weekly routine consists of working Monday to Friday on any uni work and assignments that I have to do and then taking beautiful walks down the canal and through Grosvenor Park at the weekend. There are some amazing places to see in Chester that I still want to discover, like walking along the city walls and visiting the Cathedral. Covid has had a huge impact on everyone this year, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the beautiful city and exploring some of the lovely walks that Chester has to offer. It has been a great way to get away from my room and enjoy some peace and tranquillity.  

Luckily, I have not had to self-isolate whilst I have been at university and I have to say that is down to the amazing system that the University has put in place to ensure that only one or two classes are in at each time.  

For any new students who are worried about not getting exam results, my advice is don’t! Once you’re actually at university, it doesn’t matter what grades you got or how they were awarded - everyone is studying the same course and it is a whole fresh start. Good luck to everyone and I hope you all get into the university of your preference and if that is Chester then I agree with you that it is the best choice (although I might be slightly biased…) 

Read what other first years have to say about their experiences at the University of Chester so far in this blog.  

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