Local Student Experiences

Existing local/commuter students share their experiences of University life and offer some tips and advice for new students living and commuting from home.

Katie:

I remember being really nervous about starting university but also excited because it was the start of a whole new episode of my life.

I was pretty shy and not much of a drinker but psyched myself up to be sociable in Freshers Week, I knew I'd have to make an effort, particularly because I was living at home.

I went to all the registration events and department talks and people were pretty chatty. But after psyching myself up to go to lots of socials I realised I didn't have anyone to go with! I just presumed I`d meet people and it would be OK. All I managed to do was drag my friends to the university cinema- which I highly recommend by the way! I felt extremely upset, wondering why everyone else seemed to be enjoying Freshers' Week and not me. It's easy to see it's 'you versus them' and feel the odd one out but gradually you realise how diverse the student population really is. Later, I met other people who had a similar experience.

So I gave up on making any lasting friendships in Freshers Week and thought I`d wait until lectures started. Although I met a lot of different people in those first few weeks I found it difficult and even contemplated quitting my degree. I gradually met people who I sat with in lectures but even at the end of my first year I still felt that I hadn't made any solid friendships.

In my second year I got more involved in university life and joined some societies, which is a good way of meeting people, but I also met people on my course who were on my wavelength.

Sometimes it's still hard but it really depends on what you make of it- you can totally isolate yourself and just go in for lectures but I would strongly advise you to get involved in whatever interests you and you'll meet a lot of different people along the way. Now, there is also the Local Students Forum which I encourage you to get involved with.

Katie Robson
English Literature

Jennifer:

I would say I have gained several solid friendships out of studying at university and I have met some interesting and wonderful people - but it was a slow process, partly because I made some mistakes at the beginning which meant that for the most of my first year I felt pretty isolated.

I came up to university the weekend before Freshers Week, to walk around, get used to the campus, and I went up to Broomhill. I felt like I was part of this massive student community and there was such a buzz about the place. During Freshers Week I got talking to a few people, but didn't really get involved in activities. I also took some bad advice - my older brother told me that I would be bombarded with clubs and societies to join and that I`d not end up going to any of them, so not to bother. I later learnt that, as a local student, getting involved in extra-curricular activities is a key way to meet new people. It's quite easy to let university go on around you, but with a bit of effort you can make yourself part of it. There are so many things on offer to do, that there will almost certainly be something that takes your fancy.

My advice is to be friendly and introduce yourself. During Freshers Week all new students are in the same boat - no-one knows anyone. So really, this is the best time to get involved in things. I have found that people are very supportive if you tell them you don`t live in Halls and feel a bit out of things. Don`t be too worried if it's a bit scary at first - my guess is most people you speak to will feel the same.

I hope you enjoy the next few years. Good luck!

Jennifer Marsden
Year 3, BA/Social Policy & Sociology