August 21, 2017, by Danny Bav
My Guide to Surviving University
—> For those of you who don’t like walls of text, skim over the TLDR; in bold to get the general gist of the post!
I’m aiming this blog post at all those A-level students who’ve recently found out what University they’ve got into. First things first, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve worked so hard! Although it was three years ago, it seemed like only yesterday I was finding out from UCAS that I was going to UoN on the morning of results day. I was pretty much over the moon, but I still had to pick up my results from school as a formality. A couple of days passed before I though oh god… I’m actually going to University… A wave of nervousness passed over, but it was mixed with feelings of excitement. Before I knew it I was in the car with my parents and little brother, driving to my dorm room where I’d meet my flatmates for the first time.
I remember trying to find some of my flatmates on Facebook and messaging them before arriving in my halls, but I only managed to find a few. It didn’t really matter though as I soon realised when I moved in that everyone was pretty much in the same position as me, being left in this flat with complete strangers and having to live with them for the next year. One thing that I didn’t really like about Sixth Form was that it seemed incredibly cliquey, but university was completely different. Everyone seemed a lot more welcoming, accepting of all kinds of interests and the range of events and societies made it easy to meet a bunch of like-minded people.
First year flew past, I made some great friends in halls and went to a bunch of parties here and there. I wasn’t really the partying type, but I stayed open minded and gave it a shot, especially during freshers week where it was pretty much parties non-stop. I think the main thing I came to realise in first year was that it was still a time to find my feet. I remember making loads of new acquaintances but thinking that I hadn’t really found any ‘close’ friends… that is until I started joining societies.
One of the societies I’ve definitely got to s/o to is MagicSoc. I joined MagicSoc in first year after watching the film ‘Now You See Me’ in freshers week and thinking it would be cool to learn a thing or two ;). I remember learning a bunch tricks and then going down to Mooch (the student bar) and performing on random people I’d never met before. It was so fun and was probably one of the societies that I went to every week without fail for the three years that I was at university. ^^
I’m gonna be cheeky and link a video here that I made in MagicSoc if you guys want to see what kind of things we learnt! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSuh0oP6k90
TLDR; Year 1: Find a great society that interests you and stick with it, because you’re likely to meet a bunch of likeminded people and potentially your future university friends/housemates.
To be honest, I can’t remember much about the first half of the year. I shared a house with a couple of people I didn’t intially know because I needed a place for six months before I studied abroad in China. (They turned out to be great, btw!) Following my interest in Chinese culture, I ended up joining the Contemporary China Society. It was in that society that I met an amazing group of people and we’d often go out together. I think the main thing that hit home in second year was that I was beginning to settle in, I had a lot of great friends from different areas of uni. I also became fortunate enough to meet my girlfriend during one of the society events. ^_^
However, all of that comfort and the university world I had known would all come to an end when I’d fly half way across the world to study in a different culture and environment with people I’d barely known. However, I can definitely say it was life-changing. Studying abroad gave me a completely different perspective on everything I had pretty much known. It was like starting university again with more hurdles, but I came out the other side knowing that I had developed a lot as a person. This was the time I got to travel the most too, going all over China, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
TLDR; Year 2: If you can study abroad, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s one of the opportunities in life where you just get to uproot yourself and live in a completely different world to what you have known and become used to. And hey, if you don’t particularly enjoy your experience there’s always the option of returning early!
In third year I was in my element. Returning back to the UK and sharing a house with some amazing friends made University truly feel like my home. My weeks were filled with running my society, catching up with friends and generally just having fun. Modules became way more interesting and writing a dissertation gave me an outlet for my own ideas, even though it did get a little annoying at times! One place that I discovered in third year that my housemates and I absolutely loved was Ludorati board game cafe – you guys definitely have to go there at least once. I also realised we went out to a lot more bars rather than clubs. Nottingham has this amazing hipstery vibe which makes it a great place for nights out.
A couple of weeks ago I ended up graduating and looking back at everything I had experienced and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed uni so much and developed so much as a person. Through all the ups and downs, people I’ve met and laughs we’ve had it’s been a truly wonderful experience.
TLDR; Year 3: Live with your closest friends.
So I guess that’s about it as a reflection of my 3 years at uni. But no matter how nervous you are or how many articles you’ve read about “things to do at uni”, just aim to enjoy it because I can tell you right now, 3 years will fly by so quickly!
So, I guess now I’m ready to enter the real ‘working’ world right? eeeek…