Why I came to Lancaster

By Niamh Harrison

Niamh and the Graduate College netball team

I made the decision to come to Lancaster starting in October 2018. Now I'm in my fourth and final year, and this seems like an entire lifetime ago.

Being from Corby, Northamptonshire (nearly 200 miles away), I had never heard of Lancaster University before. I always wanted to go to university far from my hometown. Initially, I considered undergraduate courses in Scotland, but I decided to look elsewhere after changing my mind. So, upon hearing about this university, I booked an individual open day to come up and visit.

Firstly, when we drove up Bigforth drive for the first time, I was captivated by Lancaster's campus feel. One essential factor in choosing a university for me was being a campus university. Upon arriving on my open day, the first thing I noticed was how green the university was. The campus occupies a beautiful 560-acre parkland site, and I loved the look of Lake Carter.

Lake Carter in the Autumn

Secondly, what drew me to Lancaster was the degree's structure in the first year. Initially, I wanted to study Biology with Psychology Bsc Hons. At Lancaster, Part I (first year) is a qualifying year and doesn't count towards your final degree result. Still, you need to pass all your Part I modules to proceed to Part II.

In my first year, I had the option to study one major subject and two minor subjects. Therefore, on my open day, I believed this structure would be perfect for exploring both of my favourite subjects at the time.

However, after receiving an unconditional offer for Lancaster, I decided to change my course to English Literature BA Hons. So, during my first year, I studied English literature as my major, with Media and Cultural Studies and Sociology as my minor subjects.

This was a significant factor that I loved about Lancaster. Being indecisive about my career subject, I was granted the liberty to change my mind. Even after completing my first year, I was still uncertain about my major. Having had the opportunity to experience other subjects that year, I decided to change my course (for the final time) to Media and Cultural Studies BA Hons.

On reflection, I'm even more grateful for this course system. I now have my undergraduate degree in Media and Cultural Studies. I am currently finishing my master's degree in the same subject. Therefore, without this Lancaster University experience, I genuinely believe I wouldn't have enjoyed my degree or university experience half as much.

Niamh reading in a cafe

Niamh in one of Lancaster's cafes

Additionally, Lancaster's collegiate system was another unique element in choosing this university for me.

From the start, I liked the look of County College. What drew me to County College was that it is the largest college out of the nine, with the most diverse accommodation on campus.

I wanted an ensuite room for my first year, and therefore, I was placed within County South's superior ensuite flats. I was fortunate to be placed with such great people in County in my first year, many of who I am still living with today!

Friends of Niamh cheer her on during Roses 2022

Lastly, I was drawn to the collegiate sports system. All nine colleges have netball, football, and bar sports teams which compete against each other every year. This is great for individuals who want less commitment or the social aspect of sports societies.

I joined County netball in my second year, and I was the Media and Communications officer in my third year. This year I am part of Graduate College netball, and we just competed in Roses - the annual varsity between Lancaster and York.

Lancaster University has a close, safe, and friendly community, which will support you throughout your studies, no matter how far away from home you are.