Taking the stigma out of Clearing
Posted: May 09 2019
Keturah, Biomedical Sciences
Hi, my name is Keturah and this is my first blog. So, I am about to go into my second year studying Biomedical Science at Brunel University and I got here through clearing.
First of all, if I knew I’d end up doing an undergrad degree in Biomed as opposed to Medicine, I would have dropped Chemistry instead of English Literature (which I still love). Most of my A-Level struggle was with Chemistry which affected my other subjects: Psychology, English and Biology. I got my first U in Chemistry; it was the maths and calculations side that got me.
Year 12 was cute compared to year 13. After winter mocks I started getting D grades and below. At that point I grew nonchalant and complacent because I wasn’t improving and I knew I’d go to uni somehow, I was just more worried about when and where because I really wasn’t trying to retake and have to answer questions from aunties, plus I was over going to an actual school with actual school kids, ew.
My friendship group was split up so we could focus, we begged teachers for high predicted grades and had special tutors come in to help. This did benefit us, I’m not going to lie, however when results day came, these efforts didn’t translate. Me and my best friend already had an incline that we’d be calling up unis for clearing spaces and we did.
During clearing I didn’t actually feel sad, I was almost prepared and sort of numb to the process, plus me and my friend make jokes out of almost anything, so we didn’t burn as much. My school were also very helpful and supportive in guiding me through clearing.
Post-clearing was a weird time. I’d be looking at tweets about UCAS acceptances like...
Parents + Embarrassment
Okay, so my dad being a first generation Ghanaian values education a lot. I’ve always been in top set or at least second, so I literally don’t know what happened. Anyway, I had picked Brunel and another university for Biomed by the time I got home. My dad wasn’t the happiest about my grades – I got a C,C,D by the way. I was keen on the other uni because it was outside of London and closer to some of my friends. He was keen on Brunel, so we discussed the pro's and con's, I ended up comparing the ranks and Brunel was higher, so I decided on Uxbridge and I still got to stay on campus - so it was a win win!
I spent the rest of the evening retweeting acceptance posts and trying to be happy for everyone else. There were no clearing posts so I felt a little ashamed and left out. I retweeted some of the Brunel ACS tweets and they messaged me about being in a group chat on WhatsApp. Even then I was like here we go everyone will be asking what people got. I ended up muting the chat and speaking in it about twice.
As soon as you move in, all qualms and hesitations because of clearing disappear. Everyone wants to mingle and have a good time. Everyone is worried about something, it may not be the same worry as yours, but trust me they do. If you think about it, people want to get to know you so they ask the basic small talk questions, the fact I have never been asked how I came to Brunel means how I came to Brunel is not me and doesn’t define me.I thought people would be like...
but when I told them I came through clearing were like...
Realisations + Conclusion
As you start lectures and assignments, everyone is on the same playing field. By this I mean, uni isn’t like school where teachers have known you for years, there are no favourites. So if you come through clearing because you didn’t meet requirements you have a chance to redefine yourself. Also, a lot of people are open about coming through clearing – we live in a very “it is what it is” society. People that joined your course with A*s are equal to you, you aren’t less intelligent, you’ve all ended up sitting next to each other.
In my head I listed some “At leasts”: At least I made it to uni, as a black woman I can have an education, I didn’t retake, I have the support of my family, Church and friends, I’ll get a degree and the list goes on.
Till next time xx