Posted Monday 15 August 2016
A budding historian with a passion for delving into the past discovered a route on to a degree in the subject she loves by making a call to Kingston University's Clearing hotline. Shannon Everest feared her goal of studying history may simply become a distant memory after it didn't work out at her first university – but she was determined to make a success of her second chance in higher education.
The 21-year-old from West Sussex fell in love with the subject while studying the slave trade while still in year nine at school. "Learning about the horror and injustice of slavery made me realise the importance of making sure stories from the past are not forgotten. From that moment I knew I wanted to study history – it became my passion. I started to particularly enjoy research – reading and finding out about the way people lived in different eras," she explained.
However, after her first foray in to higher education faltered, Shannon wasn't sure whether higher education was the right path for her. She only decided to give a degree another go after her Nan spotted an advert for a Kingston University open day and persuaded her to go along.
Shannon was instantly impressed by what she saw and felt inspired by an insightful talk from a senior lecturer. She also enjoyed chatting to current students who were able to provide her with first-hand accounts of what it was like to be a history student at Kingston University.
"Not knowing whether I wanted to try degree studies again, the Kingston open day was exactly how I imagined university should be and, after just a few hours there, I knew it was perfect for me," she said. "I was really impressed by the facilities and just felt so comfortable and at home – I couldn't wait to be there for real."
Having already missed the UCAS deadline, Shannon wasted no time in calling the Kingston University Clearing hotline to find out what her options were. "It was scary picking up the phone not knowing what to expect. I was convinced I'd be told I wasn't good enough and that they didn't want me as a student," Shannon said. However, her worries quickly faded thanks to the friendly and informative staff at the other end of the phone. "I spoke to a lovely lady in the admissions team who told me about the course and reassured me there was nothing to be worried about," she said.
After securing a sought after spot on the BA(Hons) in History degree, Shannon has been quick to embrace life at Kingston University. Her passion for her specialist subject has even seen her becoming an integral part of the Union of Kingston Students' History Society, helping organise events and historical tours around Kingston town for new and current students. Joining the society led to new friendships and helped Shannon settle into university life. It's something she'd encourage all new students to consider – particularly those, like her, who travel from home each day to study on campus.
"For someone who commutes, being part of a society is a fantastic way to feel more of a part of the university community," she said. The chance to socialise with her friends in student-friendly Kingston and the ease of getting into central London was also a bonus, she added.
A year on from fearing her higher education ambitions may be over, Shannon is now about to start the second year of a degree she loves, at a university where she feels settled. She urges others who may find themselves in a similar situation to make time to explore options available through Clearing. "If you're interested in a university, ring their Clearing hotline as you can definitely get a feel for the institution and a course by talking to the people on the phone," she advised. "I was so impressed with the staff and students I spoke to and knew straight away that Kingston University was the place for me."