With the recent and upcoming open days here I felt it would be apt to write a post about my memories of my very first open day at The University of Portsmouth.
I remember the first time I ever saw the uni website. I was sat in the silent study area of my sixth form desperately trying to find more unis I could research and maybe visit. I study Creative Writing and not many universities actually offer my course. Added to the fact I knew I wanted to be within a 2 and a half hour radius from home that left me with very limited choice. I didn’t look at Portsmouth because the course was entitled Creative & Media Writing and I was really put off by the Media aspects of this, having not studied it before. After an assembly from my head of year in which he said if the course has the same UCAS code it is very likely to be the same despite having a different name I decided to check out the website.
I was immediately drawn to the style of the website. I loved that it didn’t look like any other university website I’d looked at. I loved the quirky artsy style in wonky purple font. I was shown beautiful images of the sea and it excited me immediately. I knew before even reading about it that I was interested.
And so, not too long after my mum and I got up nice and early one morning to take the now ever-familiar trundle down to Portsmouth. It was sweltering hot and as we wound down the windows on the drive into the city I remember feeling this anticipation building. She pointed out the Spinnaker tower to me and I pictured doing this drive in a few months time as a fresher.
We parked up and wandered the streets. The sun was kissing our skin pink as we searched for the building I had my welcome talk in. Immediately I had fallen in love with the city. I don’t know whether it was the heat, the mood or, forgive the cliche but, fate.
We had lunch in The Fleet which was so cheap and cheerful. I remember chatting to a girl who was working behind the bar about uni life and feeling the excitement bubble up inside of me. She later served our food to us and she exclaimed what a lot of work my course was but it didn’t put me off one bit. No, it made me feel even more determined to get myself down there and prove myself. When the waitress left I told my mum this was where I wanted to be. ‘I can see myself living here’, I told her, beaming. I remember it so clearly, sat at that table which I sit at so often now. This feels right. It’s bizarre, like a sixth sense, finding the uni which is right for you. You just know. And I knew.
It was only cemented even further when I attended my course presentation. I listened to the lecturers talk about the course and for once I didn’t spend the duration playing with my hair and checking my watch and phone. I was fully engaged. I was excited. The head of my course encouraged us to speak and we even did some writing activities. Every lecturer seemed enthusiastic about what they were doing. I could see myself speaking to them about my work. I already wanted to pick their brains, as respected authors.
After, we drove to the seafront. We parked near Rees Halls and I stared up at the building, picturing myself sat in one of those bedrooms, staring out at the sea. That could be me in a year. This could be my home.
We bought ice-creams at Clarence Pier and I was a little child again when I saw the Winnie-the-Pooh ride which was outside the arcade. Then, we wandered along the seafront. We were covered in sun-cream and I still worried about burning. I lay on the pebbles and closed my eyes, listening to the sea and soaking in the sun. I pictured myself here, doing just this in years to come. Nothing had ever felt so right.
Now here I am, not quite laying on the beach soaking in the sun in this cold weather, but here nonetheless! Portsmouth will always have a huge part in my heart. I have found home here, found family in my housemates, even found love. Picking Portsmouth was the best decision I ever made.