Staplehurst BELLRINGERS Article March 2022
By Rebecca Steele
The 26th January was a significant deadline for anyone who is hoping to attend university this September. This was the date by which applications to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, UCAS, had to be submitted. This does not mean that final decisions have been made, just that student details have been passed on to a short list of possibilities. It is really just the start of what, for most, is a difficult decision making process.
Now many teenagers in Staplehurst and across the whole country are now coming to terms with the daunting but exciting prospect of leaving home and family to embark on independent life for the first time. The decision as to what universities they should apply to and which offer to accept will undoubtedly have an impact on the rest of their lives. I am included in this age group and, while I have found the decision slightly scary, I do have one comfort; having become a bell ringer, I have a whole support network of ringers, across university towns up and down the country. Whether I decide to head north east, to Durham, or south west, to Exeter, I already know that the local ringing community will give me a warm welcome.
Most universities offer membership of a bell ringing society who recruit students at their annual fresher’s fair. Whether Freshers are already experienced ringers or have never been in a ringing room before, the University Societies offer a great pastime where you can escape the stresses of academic life. Many university towns also have great cathedrals or churches with plenty of ringing opportunities and new friends to be made, outside of student life.
I have based my short list of universities on the best institution for my chosen subject and have shortlisted five universities that I think I would be happy studying at. I am now looking at other aspects of university life to help me decide on my final choice. After posting a comment on a bell ringing FaceBook group, I was lucky to be approached by three university ringing societies with offers to join their ringing practices and have a tour of the university before I need to make my final choice in August.
Wherever I eventually end up (after hopefully passing a few exams!) I have the reassurance that, as a bell ringer, I will have bell towers nearby who will welcome me into their practice night and most likely for a drink or curry afterwards. I would encourage any Staplehurst teenagers heading to university, either this year or in the future, to look out for the University Bell Ringing Society at the Fresher’s Fair. Alternatively, visit http://www.universityringing.org/ for more information about the university ringing society where you are interested in studying.
If you would like to try ringing before you head off to university, please do contact me through the Staplehurst Bell Ringers Facebook page or come along to Staplehurst tower on a Tuesday at 7:30 pm, you will be very welcome.