October 26, 2018, by Lucy
My Open Day Experience
Many moons ago, a curious young Lucy had to endeavour the novelty that is the university open day season. Oh, how I remember them days: every weekend I’d travel to a different part of the country with my tired, and somewhat confused, parents to visit a prospective university. The endless tours, lectures and chats with members of staff seem to blur into one. However, as long ago as it seems, I do remember my visit to Nottingham and this is how it goes.
To tell you the truth, before I visited Nottingham, I didn’t want to go here. Prior to the open day I hadn’t even looked at the English course offered. Coming from Derbyshire myself, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to go to a university in the East Midlands. As good as UoN was on paper, its proximity to my hometown was putting me off, something which seems so stupid in hindsight. The only reason I even visited was because my twin sister was contemplating coming here.
The first thing that caught my eye about Notts was the ~vibe~ of the campus. Although I had been to other campus universities, this one was different. I mean, for starters it had a massive lake, arts centre and endless amounts of hidden gardens. But, most importantly, it had an ice cream van. I was sold. The abundance of greeny around the campus was welcoming. The institutional feeling radiated by the Trent building was pitted against the hospitable nature of the endless amounts of plants, trees and squirrels. Even then I knew that this is what I needed, to be immersed in an atmosphere that wasn’t overtly formal – I didn’t want to feel as if I was going back to secondary school every day. I wanted to be somewhere I wanted to be and UoN was this place.
When I was applying for UCAS, all of the courses I applied for were English Literature ones (Q300 still haunts my dreams). Despite the course at UoN being classified as English Literature, technically it is much more than that. For starters, it is simply known as ‘English’. Unlike other universities Notts’ course is more expansive as the course is split into four sub-divisions: English Literature, Applied Language and Linguistics, Drama and Old / Medieval English. As someone who was contemplating doing Sociology or Psychology at degree level, the fact that I got to do Linguistics was something that really appealed to me. With modules on Sociolinguistics and Psycholinguistics, I could still enjoy subjects that I loved at A-Level, as well as engage in the drama and medieval aspects of literature too. I think picking a degree that is so varied was the best decision I have ever made. Indeed, Applied Language and Linguistics is now my favourite aspect of my degree. If I had only limited myself to a pure literature degree, who’d know where I’d be now?… I’d definitely not be enjoying my studies as much as I am now, that’s for sure.
On the open day, I spent my time mingling with academic staff, students and my fellow peers visiting on the same day. From the people who helped my dad park his car to the peer mentors who expressed their love of the course to the scholars bubbling with enthusiasm, as cliched as it is, every stranger was a friendly face. Having been at Notts for two- and a-bit years now, I know that this community feel was not just for show. The students are lovely and more than willing to lend you a bottle opener when you pop your head round your neighbours’ house at 8pm, the Doctors and Professors are purely here to see you thrive and lend you a hand and the people in the library are lifesavers when you can’t find the code PQ3450R on the shelf not matter how hard you look. All in all, you can’t beat the people of Notts.
Unless, for some reason, a beautiful campus, amazing course and friendly people don’t do it for you, then Notts is the place for you. For anyone who is about to embark on season of open day visits, the key is to be open minded. If you see a place you might want to visit in a prospectus, I say go. Coming from a girl who didn’t want to be 45 minutes from home, look at me thrive. Open your mind, immerse yourself in the day and think of the bigger picture. If it feels right then it probably is.
Image Source: International House London, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/