Syed (Zaid) Mahmood is a Business and Management (BA Hons) student at the University of Kent, having originally joined through clearing. He is about to embark on an additional year in Data Analytics.
After initially aiming to study Biochemistry, Syed didn’t receive the grades he’d hoped for on A-Level Results day. He soon realised his options were far broader than he’d realised and, being more interested in Business, decided to go through clearing and found Kent.
Five minutes after completing an online form, the University called Syed to offer a place for Business and Management. Acting on his gut feeling, Syed accepted.
Syed said: ‘My time at Kent has been character developing and has shaped me into the confident person I am today. It has allowed me to meet some of the most amazing and diverse groups of people I have seen at any university and I have found friends for life.’
Using his own experience, Syed has provided five tips for anyone going through Clearing 2021:
- Prepare a Plan B and C
You may have heard this a great deal by now, but make sure you prepare a back-up list of universities at which you may wish to study, and include their clearing lines in case you don’t get the results you expected. The most successful people have a Plan A, B and C.
- Don’t be down on yourself
Results day was quite a stressful day for me and I know how disappointing it can be to not receive the results you wanted. Rather than being down on yourself, you must realise this isn’t the end of the world, the grades you get do not decide your future as only you decide that. Be proud of your work and call the universities you feel can help you achieve your dreams.
- Step out of your comfort zone
When I was about to move to Kent to study, I was nervous that I would not fit in and wouldn’t enjoy it. However I told myself that I will step outside of my comfort zone and do whatever I want to do because this is the time to really develop myself. Whilst once shy, I could now be a new person in this new chapter of my life. This all began with clearing. I removed all existing concerns about who I was and made my clearing choices to study what I wanted and to be who I wanted.
- It’s okay to be anxious
After almost two years of staying in at home with constant lockdowns and anxiety around the spread of COVID-19, many students are nervous about the prospect of leaving home and living in a new place. These feelings are completely valid, and you can share these with your prospective universities and students unions. It’s okay to be anxious and if you ever want to talk to anyone, universities have student support and wellbeing services that are always there to help.
- Be excited
You attract the energy you put out. When people say university is the best time of your life, they aren’t wrong. University is a place where you can be who you want to be and develop skills that you will carry through life. You can create a network that will be invaluable after you graduate. This isn’t just an academic experience, this is a new chapter of your life so be excited for what the future may hold. Clearing is just that first step.
Syed has also featured in The Times 2021 Clearing Supplement.