August 3, 2015, by Sunita Tailor
My First Year Experience
This blog post was written by second year English student, Victoria Lorriman from the School of English.
Just a few moments ago, bathing in the glorious sunshine facing the lake, I had a chance to reflect on my experience as a first year student at Nottingham, and thought that I would share it with you, especially if you’re lucky enough to be starting here in the new academic year.
When I first accepted my place and sorted out my accommodation, which is relatively simple if you follow the instructions that are emailed to you, my next concern was Welcome week. Coming from a small town where everybody knows everybody, moving to a larger city made me apprehensive; how would I make friends? Of course, it’s easier than you think! On moving-in day, stay positive, knock on doors and introduce yourself – you never know who will be your future friends. When you’re in your room, prop the door open with a doorstop so that you can meet passers-by. Talking to a wide variety of people helps you to feel more settled and is a step towards finding out who you are and what you are interested in.
During Welcome week, ensure you visit the activities that the University puts on for first years. The Welcome Festival is a perfect opportunity to sign up to societies and is something for you and your roommates to do during the day. I found that getting involved in different societies, such as English society and gospel choir, allowed me to make great friends who share common interests with me and study the same subject.
My number one tip for Welcome week is to go out and explore Nottingham’s campus and city with your new-found friends, whether that’s by clubbing or taking part in the many on-campus activities together.
Whilst Welcome week is fantastic, as first year continues you’ll find the experience just gets better and better. Balancing extra-curricular activities, socialising and studying is difficult to begin with, but one of the most important things you will learn during that week is to plan ahead. This way, you’ll be able to find your balance. I would advise investing in a large calendar that you can see every day and know exactly what you’re up to!
During first year, I wrote for Impact magazine, became a Student Ambassador for the Nottingham Playhouse theatre and volunteered to work in a local school with the Literacy Support Project. Effectively, I chose a mix of my personal hobbies and subject-specific interests. I recommend taking part in the Literacy Support Project not only because experience in teaching children is highly valued by employers and is a lot of fun, but because your help makes all the difference to a child who struggles with writing and giving half a day per week is hardly much at all!
The final, and most important, piece of advice I can give to help you make the most of first year is to say “yes” a lot more. Nottingham campus provides fantastic days out, such as boating on the river or exploring Wollaton Hall, and the city is bursting with shops, clubs, cocktail bars, restaurants, pubs, green spaces and beautiful architecture. First year feels so short because it is such a dynamic and life-changing experience, so it is important that you seize every opportunity you can to make the most of your place at the University of Nottingham. Being here has enabled me to begin to establish who I am, make amazing friends, give something back to the local community, work hard (but not too hard) and thoroughly enjoy myself. After your first year, you, too, will certainly agree.
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