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Northampton University it is then

17 May 2012

Loyal readers may remember that I have spent months on deciding where to go to university.

I applied for Edinburgh, York, Plymouth, Coventry and Northampton. My opinion of Northampton is very low and I only put that on the list in case all the others would reject me as I was confident I would get an unconditional offer from Northampton.

At first, I was absolutely sure I wanted to go to Plymouth. I mean, what is not to like: stunning country side, Cornwall and Devon on my doorstep. Sea, moors, nice towns and a great university with a vibrant student scene for both young and mature students.

I also got offers from Coventry and Northampton.

But as I went to accept my offer for Plymouth, I suddenly got scared of being so far away from everything and everyone I know. I was worried that going away from here would mean leaving Jane behind. She would no longer be part of anyone's life but mine. She would be nothing more than a story I would tell my new friends. She would no longer be kept alive by other people's memories. How could I know in March how I would be feeling in September? So I declined the offer and decided to go to Coventry instead. I accepted Northampton's unconditional offer as a back-up choice. So little by little, my world became smaller again.

And then I spoke to my boss and a pile of other nurses I work with. They asked me why I wanted to move away from Northampton. I said: It is nice to start something new in a new place. And also, Coventry University is much more a 'real university' than Northampton, which is frankly nothing more than a polytechnic in a small town. It does not feel like a place of learning and the type of courses they teach there (fashion, design, graphic design etc) somehow feel less inspiring than things like Aeronautical Engineering etc. which they teach at Coventry. So Coventry is the better educational choice.

But then she pointed out that I would still be starting from scratch. Sure, my Northampton friends would be only 45 minutes away but it would still mean seeing them virtually never. And I would also lose the support network from the nurses at my current job. And the network for a possible job at the end of the course. And both courses lead to a registration with the Royal College of Nursing so in the end there would be very little difference in quality. She asked me why I felt the need to make changes just for the sake of making changes. And I did not have an answer.

So then I got confused again. Because surely taking the easy choice was cheating. Should you not always take the biggest challenge if you have the choice to do so? Surely I was not going to end up with the university I had initially rejected out of hand and only put on the list in case nobody else wanted me?

The choice was between a better uni in a place I did not want to live in, or a uni I felt less happy with in a place where I would prefer to be, with my friends, in my current home.

I could not decide. There was nothing to help me decide what mattered more.

And then I met her. We have been going out for only 6 weeks and who knows where this is going. And it would be silly to make a life changing decision based solely on something so new. But if I can not make a choice between two things because there is nothing that tips the scales one way or another, why not throw this in and see what happens? Why would I move away from someone I love spending time with? Why would I choose to turn something great in to a long distance relationship when I don't have to? Why would I choose to remove myself from the emotional support she gives me? And if the choices are so close together, why should I not use a brand new relationship to tip the balance in favour of one or the other? I had already noticed over the past few weeks that I was less than motivated for the Biology GCSE that Coventry University wanted me to get. Surely the fact I had started to neglect that course meant that I had already somewhat decided I did not want to go to Coventry after all? It is always intriguing to see in retrospect what our behaviour tells us, before we are even really aware of what we are doing.

And so I am staying put. After a year of telling myself that going to Northampton University would be the same as compromising my personal integrity and educational ambitions, I have CHOSEN to stay here. I called Coventry this morning and told them I was withdrawing my application and that I wanted to reject their offer. The lady asked me if I was absolutely sure of this as there was no way back. My heart was actually pounding in my chest when I said: Yes, do it.

This also conveniently means I no longer have to score a C for my biology GCSE.  But the exam is next week. So I might as well revise for it and see if I can get a decent grade after all.

So Northampton, I am sorry but you will have to live with me for a little bit longer.


Julie said...

Flawless logic in all this, Marieke.

This is the bit that was the obstacle "Because surely taking the easy choice was cheating. Should you not always take the biggest challenge if you have the choice to do so? "

The importance of "taking the biggest challenge' diminishes as one ages. Sorry. But you know what I mean! For Kirsten, the biggest challenge is taking the choice that fits in best with other aspects of her life. For Alannah, the biggest challenge is still your original thought up above. For me, the size of the challenge becomes smaller as it becomes 'bigger'.

Some really good stuff happening in all this. Onya!!

didds said...

There are no wrong decisions. Only decisions that you must make work having made them.

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