How can University change you?

Student Blogger Elly Datson tells us how joining the Touring Theatre MTheatre course, and moving into halls, has transformed her life:

Being at the University of Worcester has been a series of discoveries and new adventures. I’m studying a course in Touring Theatre that isn’t offered anywhere else in the UK, it’s a one of a kind course that is so suited to the future I’m aiming for (running my own touring theatre company).

Touring Theatre MTheatre Students took part in the Edinburgh Festival in 2018

As well as teaching me the do’s and don’ts of touring theatre, both on and offstage, it’s also taught me the incredible value of good teamwork. We live in a society that all too often encourages a ‘me, myself and I’ attitude. In theatre it’s easy to think that the most important person is the one with the biggest role, however I’ve come to realise that most of the best performances are a result of collaboration; teams who encourage creativity to flourish by allowing time for trial and error and the hearing out everyone’s ideas – an activity that is much easier said than done! Not every idea sounds good to everyone and sometimes it can be especially hard to let go of your own ideas in order to give room for someone else’s. But that’s the learning curve I’ve encountered… I’ve learnt to become less precious about my own ideas and appreciate the differences and creative opinions of others.

This has also changed how I interact with others outside of university hours. I’m better at listening and exercising patience when things are perhaps not done the way I think they should be. I find myself looking for ways to solve issues that might arise in everyday life more collaboratively, rather than believing that the only way to fix a problem is to do it myself…obviously I know I can depend on myself, but in learning to thrive as part of a group instead of as an individual I’m seeing just how much more wholesome and rewarding that can be!

These are skills that I have become better at thanks not only to the nature of my course, but also… my dearest first year flatmates…

washing up

The year before I moved to University, I lived with my grandparents. Now…my grandparents are what you might call ‘well to do’. Their expectations regarding housekeeping, hygiene, appearances and manners are very very high. So, when I moved into halls…well… the lifestyle was dramatically different in comparison. Our approaches to the flat environment were on opposite ends of the spectrum. For example: I was a ‘wash up as you go’ gal whereas the majority seemed to live by a ‘it needs to ‘soak’ for the next 3 weeks’ rule and drying up or putting away was an even more mythical suggestion!

It can be tough to live with people who are (don’t get me wrong) genuinely nice people, but who just don’t seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to what ‘tidy’ and ‘clean’ mean. You might call me a clean freak and say that I was just overreacting, being all OCD and that…BUT, would you say the same after you hear this little anecdote:

Picture this:

It’s almost the Christmas holiday.

There’s a couple used pots that have been left by the side of the sink…they remain that way up until the day that I leave for home.

And were STILL there when I returned 3 WEEKS later…DISGUSTING! (They eventually had to be thrown out for the sake of everyone’s personal safety.)

washing up 2

However, despite the alternative housekeeping strategies or lack thereof, I wouldn’t have asked for any other flat mates in my first year. They helped me through the stress of assignments and deadlines with their care-free nature and easy-going vibes. Through it all we ended up appreciating one another and the different things each of us brought to our mismatched squad; all of which made our flat in Wulfstan Halls the weird and wonderful experience that it was.

And that’s kind of what uni is as well…a weird and wonderful experience that’s a bit like  10 year’s of experience squished into just 3 short years (or 4 in my case if you’re taking a masters)…you begin a fresher and finish…well I’ll let you know in 2 years!