Confetti falling from the sky at a concert.

September 1, 2023, by Aisia Lea

Welcome Week is not the Be All and End All

Welcome to Nottingham! Congratulations on getting your place, we hope you have the best time here. One of the most anticipated parts of joining university is Welcome Week (or weeks!). It’s probably the thing you’ve heard about most before coming to university, renowned for lots of drinking, nights out and clubbing. For some of you, the thought of this may be extremely exciting, and for others, anxiety-inducing. I’m here to tell you, as a fourth-year, welcome doesn’t determine your time at University.

I had a unique welcome experience as my first year was during 2020. This meant that there were limits on how many people could go to a bar, in a house, and clubs weren’t open. This made welcome very different to what I expected. I thought that these first few weeks at university were the only time that I’d be able to make friends. If I didn’t do it now, when would I? Because of these feelings, I felt pressured to go out when I didn’t really feel like it, or felt embarrassed when I wanted to stay at home. Honestly, I felt anxious about meeting new people and didn’t know how to go about it. Out of all the people I met during welcome, only one of them remained my friend.

Welcome often consists of drinking and club nights, and oftentimes this doesn’t feel like the best time to get to know someone when you’re trying to shout over music or talk between a drinking game. These nights definitely can be fun, but you usually get to know people after or in the run-up to your nights out.

Welcome week may feel quite alienating to those of you who don’t drink or don’t enjoy clubbing or similar nights out. It might be your worst nightmare, but you may feel pressured to attend these events because the alternative is missing out, or social exclusion. These things aren’t true either. The truth is that the people who don’t wish to make time for you outside of these events aren’t true friends, but this can be a tough reality to face when you’re new at uni, feeling slightly out of place and homesick.

I made the majority of my friends in my second and third years. I found my friends in lectures and by being on society committees. I got to meet a variety of new people this way and the common aim of a society took away some of the awkwardness that may be present when you meet new people. In my third year, I started my placement and this meant that I was in teaching groups with loads of new people and met others this way, too.

With my years at uni has come maturity. I am more confident in myself and who I am. I now find it easier to put myself out there and get to know people. These are the types of things that I didn’t have during Welcome week. I felt that I needed to fit in with the people around me when in reality it is more important to find people that like you for you.

If welcome week isn’t the best week of your life, don’t worry. You’ll make amazing memories throughout your time at uni, and it’s unreasonable that your very first week somewhere that you’re not familiar with will be the best time of your life. Was your first week at high school or sixth form your best memories? Probably not! You probably had a better time once you’d made your friends, found your place and got to know people! The same goes for university.

If you need extra support during welcome week, visit the University’s support pages.

Posted in #WeAreUoNAisia