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Countdown to freshers' week: Dan's photo diary

Soon-to-be uni student Dan chronicles his final days at home before moving to uni, including an unforgettable trip to Europe and some last minute culinary training...

Surviving Clearing

Dan's photo diary - applying through Ucas Clearing

I'll be attending Teesside University to study graphic design.

I got my place there through Clearing as my results didn't go to plan. They contacted me after they saw how passionate I sounded in my personal statement. They decided my actual grades didn't reflect my ability and offered me a place – it just goes to show if you don't get what you wanted, it isn't the end of the world. 

Although it isn't the university I applied to back in December, they made a very good first impression. I'm sure I will be very happy in Middlesbrough.

Perfecting my spag bol and nachos

Dan's photo diary - diet

Tinned food and takeaways not even my dog would eat; that's what I imagine my diet will look like at uni. I don't want it to be, though! I would like to eat healthily and keep in shape, although I am a lazy cook and will often go for something that you can stick in the oven and leave. 

Saying that, I have managed to crack a few basic recipes like spag bol and some other pasta dishes. I've perfected my nacho recipe too – not exactly 'cooking' but I have found a great combination of flavours, so I think I'll survive.

Looking ahead to uni

Dan's photo diary - Teesside University

As I went through Clearing and didn't get a chance to visit Teesside when applying, researching the University since then has been important. I want to make sure I'm making the right choice.

I'm looking forward to dedicating all my time to that one subject I'm passionate about, instead of trying to balance four A-levels like I have been.

I'm also excited to try and get back into rugby, and even try rugby league for the first time. I haven't played for just over two years and I miss it! However I am quite anxious about meeting new people. I'm a rather shy person and find it difficult talking to new people (but after a few drinks I'm sure they will get my life story).

Treats from my bank

Dan's photo diary - Nationwide giftbox

'Get the biggest overdraft' (don't worry, I had to look up exactly what it was too) was the advice I was given when choosing a student bank account.

Because of this, I went with Nationwide - plus they automatically move you into a graduate account after uni which will reduce some hassle later down the line.

They also sent me a little student care package for choosing them, which was a nice surprise to come home to after a weekend away. However, the food inside won't make it to uni with me – I ate it (the following day). 

Tech essentials

Dan's photo diary - macbook

I've had my MacBook Pro for just about a year now, but it was bought for university in mind.

It helps with compatibility of files, hopefully making it a lot easier to work outside of uni buildings. In my experience I've found working with Photoshop on a Mac easier than on Windows, which is important as I'll be using it a lot, studying a graphic design degree.

Of course I had to personalise it some way, hence the Star Wars stickers.

Summer antics with mates

Dan's photo diary - Sziget

I'm the only one out of my closest friends moving away to uni. Most of my friends have found full-time work, while one is applying to join the army. 

This last summer after our A-levels, we spent a week at the amazing Sziget festival in the beautiful city of Budapest. I'd recommend it to everyone – it was the best week of my life!

I can't say I will miss someone in particular – I'll miss them all! However we'll stay in contact through our group chat on Facebook and they're saying they'll come to visit. 

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    Packing sacrifices 

    Dan's photo diary - packing

    I'm only packing the essentials. It's going a lot more smoothly than I thought it would. The only thing I've really had to sacrifice is my PlayStation 4 in the hopes that I'll be more sociable without it. 

    It is a strange feeling, packing – even my dog gives me funny looks while trying to eat whatever I'm putting in boxes. It all makes me feel really grown up. Now I even look around shops at kitchen items and think: ‘Ooh, that’s nice’. It feels weird when you notice yourself doing it! It's all a little daunting but I'm sure that's only natural.

    Saying bye to home

    Dan's photo diary - hometown

    I've always said I wouldn't miss my hometown, but I was just lying to myself – of course I will!

    It may not be the most exciting or interesting place ever, but it's my home and always has been. I think I'll miss the surrounding countryside the most. After being in the city for uni, I'll look forward to visiting home and seeing green again. 

    Although I am looking forward to being somewhere new where I can explore interesting places to eat and drink, I do love a good chill in the pub at home.

    Just starting uni like Dan? Check out our preparing for uni hub.


    Dan FrenchAbout Dan

    Dan is an aspiring graphic designer. He's about to begin studying graphic design at Teesside University. In his spare time, he likes drawing and going to festivals.

    Want to share your uni journey like Dan and get some experience with a well known brand under your belt for that personal statement or CV? We're always looking for student contributors to write blogs, film quick videos or snap some pics. Drop us a quick message at whichuniversity@which.co.uk if you're interested.


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