April 3, 2014, by Malvika Johal

My time at Nottingham

By Zoe Ashton (BA Hons English Language and Literature, 2013)

As a child, I came to University Park campus with my Grandma, who lived in Beeston, and feed the squirrels. After spending three years at the same campus in a more academic fashion, studying English, my love for the green campus didn’t dwindle. Right up to the end of my degree, I still had days where I’d walk past East Drive bus bay and hardly believe that I had the pleasure of studying in such a beautiful place.

While I was a little over-zealous with my society memberships, the ones I did take part in I thoroughly enjoyed. The English Society provided me with many a memorable night; I enjoyed taking part in life drawing with ArtSoc and volunteered on a number of projects with the Student Volunteering Centre. My favourite project was by far taking part in the Literary Volunteering Scheme, where I was placed in a class of 4 – 6 year olds, helping them to read. The fact that many of these children, often from a disadvantaged background, who had initially cringed at the idea of sitting and reading to me, were skipping up to me with their reading diaries by the end of the term was something I’ll take with me forever. Along with the fact that one little girl told me that she thought I was ‘a very good reader’.

There are so many things I’ll never forget being a part of: writing on the Impact Arts section offered me both the hedonistic pleasure of seeing myself in print, but also provided me with valuable experience as I continue my desire to become a journalist. The University also supported me as I gained an internship at Prima magazine in the summer after second year, providing me with a grant without which I would not have been able to take up the placement in London, far from my midland hometown.

Lastly, but by no means least, I made some amazing friends and did things with those friends I’ll never forget. I went to Ireland with my housemates one summer, seeing two of their hometowns. I slept rough to raise money for homeless charity, Framework. I found a collection of favourite cafes and restaurants in the city and ate my bodyweight in cake and curry. I watched some fantastic comedy and theatre and saw some incredible art. And I learnt that some of the best experiences don’t cost a lot of money.

There is a tendency at uni to be a part of the student bubble, and that’s nice to a certain extent. But what really made my student experience were the times when I allowed myself to take what I’d learnt inside that bubble, and apply it to opportunities outside. Nottingham, both the city and the university, will always have a fond place in my memory.

Posted in Remembering Nottingham