Caitlin's Story

Starting University is often one of the biggest steps a person can take in their life. There's so many possibilities, factors to consider and how your life is going to change. That's why wanted to share my story as someone who was apprehensive about leaving rural Dorset to someone who now loves the vibrant and exciting city they live in, in Birmingham.

Caitlin's Story

My name is Caitlin and I’m currently a first-year student studying History, which has been an interest of mine since I was little. I find it compelling that we can engage with people who lived centuries ago. As you may be able to tell, I’m super passionate about history and my teachers at school really encouraged this, leading me to study at UoB.

Choosing a University

I didn’t take the task of choosing a university lightly and at times, I felt conflicted about moving three hours away from home. There were so many things to consider but ultimately it was the different life that Birmingham offers which invited me. Birmingham is a much bigger place than Dorset – which doesn’t even have a city! This change has expanded my comfort-zone, giving me new things to do and check out cool places in and around the city, which has made me feel happier about where I live. Watching Aston Villa Women play almost weekly has been a particular favourite weekend activity of mine, minus all the defeats (but we won’t talk about those!).

Getting here

I was so nervous on move in day and ate my breakfast shaking with nerves at the thought of navigating a new life away from people I had always known. However, I surprised myself at how happy and comfortable I felt from day one. Waking up in my new room for the first time was a surreal feeling but each day went by, and I made another friend and explored a new part of my new city. This reached the point where that once disorientating room now became my home.  

Eventually I had to start doing my own laundry and really start to look after myself, which was overwhelming at first but like everything else, it worked out. Whilst I’m still not the best cook, I’m doing well. Along with lessons on how to do things for myself, I’m constantly learning how to look after myself in all aspects of life and to help this, I took up running. I had never been a sporty person but soon learnt that a lot of people at UoB are. So, running quickly became something I did to get some fresh air and clear my mind for a while. Learning how to look after myself mentally is one of the biggest lessons I’m learning and will continue to prioritise and work on through the rest of my uni journey and life in general.

Studying at UoB has, of course, taught me valuable historical knowledge but from a more personal perspective, it has taught me that you can’t have pasta every night for dinner, and that you do need to push yourself to make friends, or do readings you don’t want to do, or even learn what makes you happy now you are in your own space.

Looking back on the person I was in the summer of 2023 before I left for university, I am proud of the progress I’ve made and am in awe of the person who has such newfound confidence and has found peace in a once unknown place. Considering all of this, my biggest piece of advice for anyone starting University or who is already there would be to ensure you have support. My support is my friends, whether they’re giving me advice or making me laugh, it helps.

Got a story to tell? We're looking for students – part-time, full-time, undergraduates, postgraduates (taught and research) mature students, and distance learners – to share their authentic stories of studying at the University of Birmingham. Share yours today.


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