To my college tutors I was a typical A* student – destined to achieve top grades that would open the doors to any university in the country.
They set the bar high with my predicted grades: A* (psychology), A (geography) and A (English literature and language) and assumed I could go anywhere and do anything. The world, as they say, was my oyster. Unfortunately I didn’t share the same belief.
The overwhelming pressure of always having to be perfect and never letting anything slip was too much. I couldn’t feel that my best was going to be good enough and felt I wouldn’t live up to everyone’s high expectations or achieve the grades that I had been predicted.
When I started to struggle with some aspects of the course, I thought that it was a more sensible option for me to start looking at universities with lower entry requirements – I didn’t want to be left without anywhere to go when I failed my exams. I decided on going to the University of Gloucestershire to study primary education and was pleased to receive a conditional offer.
I thought that the next chapter in my life had been decided, but as my college days ended and the long summer holidays began, I had a niggling feeling that I was making a mistake. Was this really what I wanted or had I given up on my dreams of becoming a lawyer all too easily?
On the morning of results day I ripped open the envelope to find that I had achieved what I thought had been impossible – A*AA. Despite believing that I had failed at least two of my exams I had surpassed the entry requirements for Gloucestershire, for a course I now knew I had no interest in – a summer job in a nursery had soon dimmed my rose-tinted view about how easy it would be to work with children!
I’d heard whispers about adjustment when discussing my options at college – however I thought it was just a mythical creature that didn’t exist. Being able to upgrade your university choice at the last minute – surely it was too good to be true? It’s like appearing on a game show and going for the jackpot without having to risk gambling what you have already banked.
At this point I realised how much I wanted to study law and I began researching different universities that had places available in adjustment. It was then that I spotted the University of Sheffield. It’s such a cliché but something just clicked and felt right. I called them up and chatted to an extremely friendly person who was helpful and excited for me.
After the rather arduous process of my initial Ucas application, I could not believe how simple the adjustment process was.
Within an hour of ripping open my A level results I had upgraded to my dream course at a world-leading university and secured top-class accommodation. It couldn’t have been easier. All I had to do was give my Ucas details and my A level results and wait for my confirmation email.
One of the reasons that the University of Sheffield appealed to me was the guaranteed student accommodation – it gave me one less thing to worry about.
When I arrived in the Steel City just over a month later with my belongings squashed in cardboard boxes and bin bags, my accommodation didn’t disappoint. My en-suite room at Endcliffe overlooked a lake and was surrounded by beautiful greenery.
Nearly one year on, I am so grateful every day that I was given a second chance. I have loved my time in Sheffield and I can honestly say I’ve had the best year of my life. I instantly bonded with my flatmates who have now become friends for life. The Peak District is on my doorstep and the views still amaze me every time. Being from south London I can say with certainty that Sheffield folk are a lot more open, friendly and helpful than fellow southerners – especially when I was trying to navigate the famous Supertram network for the first time!
So for anyone else who has that niggling feeling that they are selling themselves short or thought that they had to stick with the options they’d been given, listen to your gut. Do your research and look at what each university can offer you. Don’t be daunted or put off by the adjustment process – just go for it.
Rachel Dyson is a law student from the University of Sheffield.
Read more: Best universities in the UK 2017