First Year at Uni Part 6: How to Bridge the Gap Between A- Levels to University


Bridging the gap? You’re not alone!

Education is a journey- not always a smooth one, but a journey nonetheless. Having friends fasten their seatbelt to travel with you through this journey helps- particularly when driving across a bridge you are yet to cross. An integral part of my bridging experience was my friendship group; more so than any amount of background reading and content preparation I can ever acquire. I’ve always been extremely independent; however, over the past year I realised that I can’t always go on like that forever, I found that it’s ok to ask for help from my very own passengers- my friends, the people who make the journey come to live with their vibrancy, loyalty and constancy. You can start an interaction with passengers who are complete strangers, then through time you’ll find that you have connected so much with the passengers riding with you on your journey to the point where they become more like family.


Recognising the importance of allowing ‘passengers’ in has made my journey so much easier. I just had to unlock my doors to allow people to join in the journey; what made it even easier was the fact that all my passengers were also undergoing a similar journey… and we all have a destination that we help each other navigate towards. Honestly, if I didn’t have such a strong supporting network, I wouldn’t be here to share any of this with you! I promise you, lacking this ingredient is like having to walk an unsteady plank whilst carrying large barrels of water. Not quite impossible- but extremely difficult.


Life is full of lessons; although in life tests frequently come before the lesson, the lesson is always more important. An important lesson I have learnt is that there’s one simple yet difficult way people can really understand your struggles, stress and anxiety: communication! If you ever get the privilege to meet any of my sixth form teachers, they’ll all have one common complaint about me; my lack of communication skills that inevitably leads to me crying on one of them from the excessive stress I’ve bottled in. People have gone as far as comparing my failure to communicate to an attempt at squeezing juice out of an unripened lemon…as you may have already guessed this takes more of a miracle than a pair of hands!


In what felt like the most difficult years of my life, talking to my teachers really helped me change gears and drive further up an incredibly steep and rocky hill. I found that the more I shared my troubles with trusted people, the easier is became for me to continue my drive. Transitioning from AS to A- Levels is hard enough let alone bridging from A- Levels to university. I promise you, the journey becomes so much less frightening when you have someone in your passenger seat to balance all the stress you may have.


However, this does not mean you can become overly dependent on your passengers! The breaks, steering wheel and engine are too far from your passenger; independence is key to bridging the gap between A- Levels and university. I learnt this the hard way when I had to retake a core GCSE subject during my attempt to bridge the gap between GCSEs and A- Levels. All because I was too dependent on what teachers taught me rather than challenging myself. Trust me- the struggle was real. However scary you think it is to start researching texts, observations and theories for the first time on your own, it will need to be done at some point. Although some of us may hate some of the extra reading and research our sixth form teachers set for homework, they are doing us a big favour, simply because your uni professors won’t be spoon feeding. From what I know, uni is not always about learning, but also engaging and teaching others your views and your way of thinking.  Just keep in mind, not all lessons are permanent; some are made to be changed and challenged. I’m not saying we can conquer the world singlehandedly because we are strong and independent. What I’m saying is that sometimes independence brings such wonderful and authentic thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be undiscovered if all we did was memorise a textbook. That’s what most excites me about diving further into my course at uni. Experiencing the joy of reaching the end of your education will be worth it; although less so than the lessons you would have picked up. Your are in charge of the steering wheel throughout your journey. You can and will do it! As long as you believe you can do it, you will be able to do it. Sometimes believing IS success.

Written by Rufeida Alhatimy

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