I got a letter from UCAS this morning, Sheffield university rejected my application for their Japanese Studies course. I spent 6 months building up to this but I'm still shocked.

I decided last year to apply to University, to try and improve my situation. I didn't bother even trying to apply to Uni when I was doing my A-levels (pretty badly). Now most of my friends from school are finishing their degrees and I can't even get accepted. I only applied to two places because the course can vary wildly depending where you go, and they were the most highly reccommended. London are yet to come back to me, but when I visited them they were fairly negative towards me.

I'm so shocked because I really bought into all the talk that mature students are given a fair chance (Mature Student is defined as 21 or over at the start of the course). After returning from Sheffield on an open day I was left with a happy buzz. They were trying to convince me to choose them. I had explained my low A-Level grades and was told that determination and enthusiasm were just as important factors.

I didn't even get an interview, something (I have read) that most mature students get. 6 months of research and planning and forms and (excited) tension, all to be dismissed at the first hurdle.

There's still clearing, or an access course. I am only 21 after all. Reading things like 'I was supposed to be somebody by the age of 23' helps me to put things in perspective, and realise that I'm not the only one. Sometimes it's so easy to believe that you're the only person who can possibly feel the way you do, this place helps keep me grounded.

I think I need to spend some time thinking about where I go from here and what directions I want to take. What makes me happy?