Open Search

By Diandra Whittaker

Dart Scholar Reflects: My scary and exciting first year at university

What important days in your life do you remember? Depending on who you ask, the answer may vary.

For me, the day I read my acceptance email from the University of Edinburgh will always be memorable. Not only did I get accepted into my dream school, but I was also informed that my A-Level grades were sufficient to skip the first year of university. More importantly, this email was evidence that the hard work I put in during my A-levels had paid off in a huge way.

My first year at university will also always be memorable. Oftentimes I was ecstatic to be living in a different country, pursuing my passion, and other times I was nervous about my looming future.

University life is completely different from living at home and going to high school. For the first time in my life, I was provided unlimited freedom and every decision was mine. My first big decision was choosing a degree to pursue. I have always known that I wanted to pursue biology to the highest level, but it was never clear on which speciality.

I decided to apply for the University of Edinburgh because of its flexible four-year degree. Studying without the pressure of finality or any feelings of being stuck on a particular path was exhilarating. I was able to study a range of subjects within the biomedical sciences. I was free to study the maintenance of balance in the human body one day and the genetics involved in life the other. The nervousness that filled me during my application was eased and I was provided with time to learn more about each subject before specialising. After establishing my interests in each subject, I have become confident enough to further my interests by attending the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship programme at Health City Cayman Islands.

However, university is not just about the classes you take, but also the people you meet. During my time at the University of Edinburgh, I have met many people. I have made friends, both inside and outside of class, and I have also interacted with many interesting people. Not everyone I have met will always be my friend, but they will always have a place in my memory – whether it's the guy in shorts and a sweatshirt in 40-degree weather or the girl whose outfit I’ll remember for when I next go shopping.

Going to university can initially be very scary. I thought: What if I made the wrong decision or what if I don’t make any friends? However, once I got past the first semester, I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

Diandra Whittaker was the 2017 Dart High School Scholar attending St. Ignatius Catholic School

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

In other news

You may also like