August 18, 2023, by Aisia Lea
How to Immerse Yourself in the University Experience
When you make your way to Nottingham, you’ll see lots of advertisements around campus expressing how you’re now a part of the university community, a family, how Nottingham should feel like your new home. As a fresher, you might be thinking to yourself; “How am I ever going to fit in?”, “The university is so big”, or “There’s so many people, I’ll never find my way”. These are completely normal thoughts to be having – and I definitely felt this way when I first joined the University! When I walked into my first lecture and saw a vast amount of faces, I thought I would be nameless, that no one would know who I was, and that I’d fade into the background. This blog is here to tell you that that doesn’t have to be the case – people will know you. People will care. You will be recognisable.
Whilst university is different to your previous forms of education – the classes may be much larger than what you experienced whilst at college or sixth form, but there’s also the opportunity for other teaching outside of you lectures. Also, you’re more than welcome to reach out to your lecturer and ask a question – they don’t bite! You’ll have smaller group teaching which may take the form of seminars and workshops where you’ll get to know people a lot better, and they’ll get to know you too.
Small group teaching was where I got to know my peers, and I would encourage you to really get involved with this. It can be daunting putting yourself out there, but it can pay off in the long run. Participate in discussions, ask questions, have conversations. If there’s someone that you get along with, ask for their social media, or invite them to go for a coffee together. Be open to making friends and getting to know people. Fear will only hold you back – and this is something that I’ve only truly understood in the last year. The person I was in first year was terrified of rejection and not making any friends. As I am today, I will go up to someone and make conversation if I feel like it. Oftentimes, if you’re worried or nervous about something, it’s likely that the people around you will feel the same too, and they might be really grateful for someone reaching out.
Another way to really get into university life is to get involved in societies. It’s one of the best ways to meet and get to know people. If you joining early in the year, there will probably be lots of new faces that you can introduce yourself to. However, you can join a society at any point in the year. Taster sessions will run in the first semester and are a fantastic commitment-free way to see if you like what the society offers. Once you’ve spent some time with a society, you may wish to join the society’s committee, which is (in my opinion) one of the best ways to get to know people on a closer level.
To feel a part of the wider university community, attend varsity events and keep up to date on social media. Go to campus regularly and see your fellow students!
To best immerse yourself in university life, get to know people, join societies, go to the welcome fair, attend your lectures, engage with your course, get to know the campus, and take all of the opportunities available to you. It’s only by getting involved that you’ll feel involved. At the same time, don’t pressure yourself. I didn’t properly start throwing myself into things until my second year of university. First year is for finding your feet and finding your way.
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