UniBlog - My Experience Of University First Hand - Pt 1: Something Out Of The Ordinary

This "series" - if you may - will document - day by day, or week by week - or however I set it up, the process I went through from just sitting at home iRacing my days away to becoming a University Student at Wolverhampton University studying Multimedia Journalism. This will be very different from any of the previous blogs I have done, firstly, obviously because I have put iRacing on hold, there will only be a summary of my racing activity in this blog, before mentioning it less and less as time goes on and secondly because it will be very much "word-based" and less images/videos.


I have dyspraxia. I think I should put that out there, loud and clear - because of this I went to an excellent (in my opinion) Special Needs All Boys Boarding School in Surrey, which despite the fact that I did not get the grades needed, it was a huge boost to my mental health and the class sizes meant that I knew everyone "on a first name basis" (very very well) - I went to a mainstream college for 3 years after that (x1 yr: lvl 2, x2.6 yrs Level 3) - the .6 being when the CV struck. It's because of this that my predicted grade allowed

After visiting half a dozen universities prior to The Current Situation (TCS), I had set my heart on Winchester University and a "Media, Communications, and Journalism" course - which, I would in the end not have the requirements for - which would turn out to be a blessing in disguise as Wolverhampton University would turn out to have a course called "Multimedia Journalism" - so whilst at Winchester I could be (?) wasting my time waiting for the media and communications aspect of the course to end/switch over - at Wolverhampton I'd be diving straight into Journalism.

The goal is to end up writing for an automotive magazine in the end - but first, I've got to get the basics.

During The Pandemic

The start of "TCS" was, to be honest, a little exciting - something new that had never* happened before, and if the college had to be closed, I would have time to catch up on some college work*.


But as it droned on, it got a little more worrying, and lasted much longer than expected. Fortunately, Joe Bradley, commentator at Radio Le Mans, alongside some friends of his created a racing league - which would distract myself from the horrors of the real world. This was thoroughly enjoyable at the beginning - but with more and more competitive racing drivers joining, and a switch to a different - much more difficult car, the novelty worn off a little towards the end.

Fast-forward, past the first spike of CV, and my friends/GF asked me to go out on Road-Trips and Day Trips - this really strengthened my bond with them.

August arrived VERY quickly (since I had been locked up inside for so long, I lost track of time) - and I'm not sure how, but I got in contact with a company (?) called Barry Bennett - who ever so kindly supplied myself with some essential supplies, like a laptop and software for university - and I honestly cannot thank Barry Bennet - or my parents enough, as I would never been in the position I am without it.

Early August (8th) would also see my last ever IES (iRacing Endurance Series) 12hr race, before my last ELMS (Endurance Le Mans Series) 6hr race,

Preparing For University And Wrapping Up Racing

I honestly cannot believe for a SECOND that it's been (almost) a MONTH ago that I went for my huge University Essentials Shopping Trip...On Saturday 22nd August, I went out to town and bought all kinds of essential items for my first day at University - clothes, household items (kitchen utensils, liquids and towels, bathroom items like loo roll, new toothbrush/paste, bleach , bedroom improvement etc.) and even a suitcase.

My penultimate Endurance Race was a 3hr Nurburgring Endurance Series race (NEC/NES/VLN/NLS) a day after the big shopping trip. As this was the end of the season, I also ended my Skip Barber Racing Career here too, once I had reached an iRating of 1022.

Having 3 podiums (ironically a:

1st: Donington Park - 24/7/2020

2nd: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - 21/8/2020

3rd: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport) - 28/6/2020))

and even a 4th at Zandvoort (05/07/2020) and Belle Isle! (10/09/2020)

This had definitely been one of my most successful seasons on iRacing since starting in January 2019.

The Zolder 24 Hours was on the weekend of this - and unfortunately - as with the iRacing Le Mans 24 Hours, the car was totalled before my first stint, and shortly

after this shunt, we called it quits.

I kept ubering people around, and doing the MOFO series races - and time kept zooming by without my notice - 3 Weeks Turned into 2 Turned into 7 Days....And as time went on my mother got more and more concerned about my lack of awareness of how much time was left. The Final Days

We strolled into September in style, still not slowing down - Week 13 between starting and ending on the Tuesdays of 8th and 15th September including a Week of Daily Racing didn't help time slow down, or my progression towards enrolling - despite "securing my place" earlier in August (17th).

Week 13

Tuesday 8th : Battle Of The Small Wings, Dallara Formula 3, Charlotte Road Course - DNF, Rear Ended)

Wednesday 9th: N/A - Out On Trip - Build only came out 9pm

Thursday 10th: Shiny New Shakedown (Chevrolet GTE VS Dallara LMP2) - 3rd In GTE class @ Belle Isle, Detroit)

Fri 11th: N/A - Out On Trip

Sat 12th: N/A - Out On Trip

Sun 13th: N/A - Out On Trip

Tuesday 15th was my last Joe Bradley League race, followed by my last F3 & Ferrari GT3 Challenge race at the end of this week (Having tough, but fun races in both - not scoring overly great results in either.

GT3 Challenge @ Brands Hatch: Started P6, P3 at start of lap 2, spun/hit wall, recovered to P7.

F3: Good start, but had minor damage causing major understeer at start, pitted and had a silent but clean race, Finished P9

There was less than a week left before I started University - time was running out, and the atmosphere within my house could reflect this

This week saw my girlfriend (Wed), and two of my closest friends Evie (Mon) and Georgia (Thur) and her family for the last time. Note for future: Don't leave everything to the last 72 Hours.

Becoming A Uni Student

Friday 18th September 2020, Less than 48 Hours before I enter my Student Accommodation for the first time. I finally completed a training session with Barry Bennett to learn the software ever so kindly given, after two failed attempts (due to my incompetence) to book a session previously.

On Saturday 19th September, I went shopping for last essentials and anything I had forgotten on my previous trip like frying pans, bedding etc. as well as finally seeing my bedroom carpet for the first time in a decade. I also unplugged my Playseat Rig late on Saturday Night/Early Sunday Morning. I hadn't unplugged everything in a long time!

Arriving At University

I woke up on Sunday Morning about 8 or 9 - having found a friend's credit card they left in my car, I took a detour South before heading up to my brother Felix's house before enduring on a grulling 3 hour drive - traffic was bad to begin with but slowly made good, steady progress as we cleared the South.

Despite the key collection being scheduled at 1pm, we arrived at 1.50pm ish, found the key collection site, and after a short investigation to find where my keys were, eventually we found them. To protect my privacy, I will not state which block I am/was put in - but I arrived no matter the same.

After unpacking the car (in record time, dare I say) myself and my rother made the room look homely, before my parents arrived to take him home.

We waved goodbye and they drove off into the distance. I was all alone. Bar one person. It was weird. I wasn't scared. I felt free, I felt confident.

Meeting J

I haven't asked J if he wants to be in the blog, so his name will remain as is, but he was here since Friday, and knew Wolverhampton a bit after exploring around a bit. After talking about J's hobby of old cameras, and collection, I noticed it was 6pm, and asked if he'd want to go out to town.

So we went to McDonalds In Wolverhampton - and unfortunately, approached by two people on separate occasions who were requesting money, due to my PTSD of having this experience before, I avoided this situation at all costs, turning away, and walking faster than the people in question. The outcome of this situation was negative, however, I'm glad to say myself and J are both safe, however a big life lesson was learnt that an evening Wolverhampton is not necessarily as safe as one may experience during the same time in Surrey

Trips from now on will be done earlier, or cooked from inside.

It's now 00:33 in the morning - Monday morning, a new day awaits me and a whole 3 years of new experiences and course material is ahead of me, waiting for me, waiting for me to Discover.

- RT


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