If you haven’t heard, I have graduated! Isn’t that a milestone and a half!? To be honest, I can’t quite believe it myself. Without sounding like an absolute grandma, it does only seem like yesterday that I driving down in Nelly to Cornwall and starting my new life.
I am so proud that I have graduated with a first-class honours degree in Marine and Natural History Photography. Would you look at that! I thought that it may be about time to do a round-up post of my experience of attending a ‘rural university’.
Whenever I first tell someone that I went to university in Cornwall they immediately say ‘Could you find somewhere further away?’ and the answer is not really. Unless I’m going to a Scottish uni, Cornwall is the next furthest place. From door to door, it is 375 miles and on the quickest run, it has taken me 5 hours and 45 minutes. The longest run (this weekend) was a mere 11 hours. However, I love a good road trip. I found that being at uni was full-on, so I relished the 6 hours drive to myself. I got to spend 6 hours singing along to myself and just focussing on the drive, absolutely lush I tell you.
Unlike most University freshers, I wasn’t overly concerned with shotting cheap vodka and partying into the early hours of the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I have the occasional night out which are a lot of fun, but once every 6 months is more than enough for me. If you’re anything like me, I would say that Falmouth could be the place for you. The high street has everything from quirky pubs to small bars to a bookshop with a bar in it. There is something for everyone, without having to step foot in the two nightclubs Falmouth has to offer.
As an introvert that very much needs her own space and time to unwind, I found myself wanting to spend as much time as possible at the beach. Luckily for me, I was spoilt for choice. It is no surprise that the best investment I made during University was a wetsuit. Granted, that wetsuit was stolen during my third year, but it was such a good investment. When you’re in Cornwall, you have to go in the sea at least once. During the first few weeks of the third year, you couldn’t get me out of the sea. There are so many incredible snorkelling spots just around the coast of Falmouth!
Despite the university telling you that public transport links are good, you still need a car. Without a shadow of a doubt. I find it almost cruel that Cornwall is filled with secluded beaches that are waiting to be explored, but funnily enough, you can’t get there as the double-decker bus doesn’t go down single-track roads at a 30% gradient decline. If there is any piece of advice I could give for attending a rural university, save up for a car and bring it with you. It will make your experience of Cornwall so much more enjoyable.
Let’s be honest, you only really go to University in Cornwall for beach BBQ’s and surfing? I know that I chose it largely because of those reasons. Obviously, I took into account that the degree was absolutely perfect for me as well. But really, the idea of watching the sunsets with my friends whilst the bbq is going is my perfect day. Funnily enough, I only had my first surfing lesson in the middle of July. I wish that I had taken advantage of those sweet freshers deals of learning to surf for £5.
The culture in Cornwall is something you probably won’t have experienced before. I certainly hadn’t. I really believe that you cross over the river Tamar on the A30 and everything relaxes. Cornwall has the most chilled vibe going. Life slows down, there is no rush for anything and everything is happier. When you fully embrace it, living in Cornwall can be life-changing. My second piece of advice is to try your hardest to absolutely embrace Cornwall for what it is. You certainly won’t be ordering an uber or getting the bus across the county, but that is one of its largest charms. Whenever life gets stressful, I immediately want to run away to Cornwall. Partly because most problems seem significantly smaller once you’ve had 6 hours to mull them over, but also your head clears once you smell the sea air.
The sea air. We all know how this feels. You know the moment when the sun turns golden, you step out of the car, hear the waves crashing and you take that first deep breath. The sea air fills your lungs and everything else melts away. The cornish air is like nothing else. It seems to melt stress and for the 2 hours you’re at the beach for, life is good. My mum always told me ‘Oh, the sea air, you’ll sleep well tonight’ and she was so right. I always sleep so well after a day at the beach.
Finally, one of the biggest contributions to my love affair with Cornwall is Tarquin’s gin. I should have shares in the company after how much of my student loan I have spent on gin. I’m partial to a gin and tonic, but only when the gin is good quality. Oh my goodness, Tarquin’s is my favourite gin going. Especially the Rhubarb and Raspberry one. Words cannot describe just how much I love it. But more than the taste, every time I smell Tarquin’s, I am immediately transported back to drinking with my friends in the Chain Locker pub.
Now, you could say that I was a regular during my third year. My favourite memory is sitting with ALL of my friends, taking up 3 tables and watching them all laughing together. Do you know those memories that will stay with you forever? That evening is stamped in my mind. Every time I have a Rhubarb and Raspberry Tarquins gin with Elderflower Fevertree tonic water I am right back there.
So there we have it, just a few of the reasons that I loved attending a rural university in Cornwall. If I could re-do my time in Falmouth I absolutely would, just with a bit more gin, beach BBQ’s and surfing chucked in.
If you ever have any questions about going to Uni in Cornwall, give me a shout!