Written by a BA and MA Sociology NTU Alumni
I remember feeling lost as my parents and I said our teary goodbyes and I was stood in my caravan like room. I sat down on my bed thinking, now what. My flat was desolate (please bear in mind, I decided to go to university a week before it started so my first year accommodation was not like the usual, havoc halls). I lived with three international students, wonderful women who shared their culture with me, we drank rice wine and I ate (miserably) with chopsticks and we supported each other with our studies. However, I needed friends to go out with, experience the one pound VK’s with and take trips to luvyababes to get our Ocean Wednesday costumes (top tip, plan your luvyababes trips in advance, that place is student warzone on Halloween). Anyway, I was struggling. I couldn’t find my group of friends. So, as the weekend ended, I still didn’t have my group.
As Monday came, I had my first lecture. I was so nervous I turned up forty-five minutes early resulting from fear of being late. Returning home that night I rang my mum crying, telling her I wanted to come home. This was not what I thought university would be. She told me to stop crying, that I was being silly and although mums are always right, she was most definitely right about this. So, I got on my Trent army costume and went to the fresher’s night and that was the best decision I made.
When I arrived to pre’s, the atmosphere was awkward as we played drinking games and exchanged the obligatory chat of where we came from, what are we studying and where we are staying for example. Looking back on this four years later, it makes me laugh. Those girls sitting there, awkwardly talking to me are now my best friends. Those people playing ring of fire with me on that Monday night have shared the best years of my life with me. We have laughed, cried and supported each other through everything.
Regarding my course experience, when your lecturers tells you that you will be doing group work and your stomach fills with dread as you don’t know these people you are going to be working with, I promise, you will thank them later. I remember doing my first project with four girls, who have become lifelong friends, who I have been on holiday with, sat up until the early hours doing coursework with and drunk many, many Costa’s with.
So, although this is not a huge insight into the academic side of university, I believe friendships and support networks are crucial in academic success. University is stressful. There will be times where you feel like giving up, be disappointed in a grade for a piece of coursework you spent hours on and feel like you have moved into the library and don’t even know the meaning of fun anymore. But one thing that will get you through is your friends. So, don’t give up when you are finding your feet at uni because I promise it’ll be fine. I wanted to leave university in the first week and now I have completed a BA and MA degree at Trent and even four years on, I was still sad to leave. I am envious of you new students who are starting your journey and reading this so, go and get a good degree and have the best time of your life. Good luck!
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Personal Pastoral Support at NTU (general worries and anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, a relationship breakup, or a bereavement)
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
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