August 1, 2022, by UoN School of English

Transitioning to university: making friends and gaining independence

In-between completing mountains of UCAS applications, shopping for an extensive list of household items that your parents insist you ‘need,’ and signing up for university group chats, the beginning of university life can be both exciting and stressful.

Hopefully, this blog entry will help to convert these worries into hope for the new opportunities that moving to university can bring.

New Surroundings

Without a doubt, change can be overwhelming. From my own experience, it is totally okay to be confused at first. So many other students will be in the same position when trying to work out new aspects of your life that will soon become part of your daily routine, such as learning how to use the trams to get into the town center or exploring the different facilities on campus.

The University of Nottingham has a great student services facility that is easy to contact to help with student enquiries. I personally appreciated the buddy system that the university arranged, where I was paired up with a second-year student who was always available for me to contact with any questions about university life. Through my buddies’ recommendations, I discovered one of my favourite cafés in Nottingham called AvoCafe and still visit with my friends today!

With society fairs and partnered events with companies from around Nottingham, the university works hard to welcome students so that they can feel comfortable exploring. I particularly liked the different activities that were put on during the first couple of weeks so that the new students could sign up to meet each other. I attended one of Crisis’ sit-down sessions and from this met my closest friends at university who I currently live with in second year! There are many opportunities like this at the beginning of term so sign up and have fun!

Nottingham Sunset Road – Free photo on Pixabay

The Work Load

It is important to remember that everybody is different, meaning that we will all adjust to change at different rates. The jump from A-Levels to a degree sounds extremely daunting, however the University of Nottingham allows time for students to adjust to the higher level of work because first year results do not contribute to the final year mark. This was a huge relief for me as I felt as though I could get used to the teaching styles of my lecturers and trial writing degree level essays, allowing me to understand where I was lacking without it affecting my final grade.

If you feel that this transition is taking longer than your peers, that is SO okay. Remember, your tutors and lecturers are there to support you. Students get assigned personal tutors who arrange frequent meetings so that they can get to know you and help with any apprehension you may feel about the content of your course. There is always an option to book in for office hours with any of the tutors on your course, so there is always a friendly face available if you need any help.

Photo by AltumCode on Unsplash

Again, taking the big leap to move to university can be extremely overwhelming. This is your opportunity to learn more about yourself and to gain some independence. Remember, making mistakes is expected! I look back on this time as some of my fondest memories of university so far, so enjoy the freedom, embrace every opportunity thrown at you and most importantly have fun!

– Roisin Teeling

Posted in Student Words