A year in review – what is first year really like at Trent?

Now that the university year is coming to an end for most of us, Platform’s very own Culture & Entertainment editor Katie Green gives a review of her time as a fresher at Nottingham Trent…

If I was to describe my first year of university to anyone in the future, I would describe it as unusual as it halted to a sudden stop (silly Coronavirus), but it was a year that was a new start, a new chapter and a year full of amazing memories.

It wasn’t the jump from going to secondary school, a place I was so familiar with, and going to university that I was afraid about. It was the fact I was moving to a new city and was finally becoming independent.

I won’t lie, I was nervous, I had all these thoughts going on in my mind like: Would I make friends? Will I be able to do things myself like cook? Will I enjoy my course? Will I be homesick? Will I be able to handle university?

These were all normal feelings, but as soon as I got to my new life in Nottingham, all these worries went away. The very first few days at university were a bit all over the place for me in terms of my relationship with my boyfriend. However, the relationship ended a few months later.

This was something that was a part of my first year of university. Even though it was heartbreaking for me at the time, it made me realise I deserved better as it was a relationship that was troubling me; it turned bad and just wasn’t right for me anymore. Once I was out of the relationship, I could really focus on myself and grow as a person. Unfortunately, this is a reality of university for some and even of life. It is a part of growing up.

However, this was only a minor pitfall in my first year as there were so many other amazing things that happened. The best thing I did before I even came to university and the best advice I can give to any up and coming freshers is to get in contact with people beforehand, whether that’s in your course or your accommodation. Doing this allows you to get to know the people you are potentially going to be friends with and acts as an ice breaker.

Christmas in Market Square
Image credit: Katie Green

As I did this, I made friends with people in my accommodation, and from there, we went on to form a bigger friend group. These friends are the ones that made my year great as we have created so many memories together already and they are the friends I will also be living with next year.

As for my course, I study journalism. Before coming to university, I was determined I was going to get the best out of my degree, I mean I am paying over £9,000 a year for it so I can’t let it go to waste! From the onset, I was keen to get stuck into the work and get the best out of it I could.

Although I may not have enjoyed all the modules on my course, my favourite part was the practical part. I was even lucky enough within the first few months to have my story for my portfolio published not only in the Nottingham Post but the Mirror Online (Not bad for a first-year student).

What made my course even better though was the people I met, and from there me and course mates formed the Journalism Gyals. Alongside my other friends, I am so glad I met these guys as well as they are also friends I have formed for life. Highlights for us would definitely be some of our nights out to Pom Pom on a Monday for “Dirty Mondays” – which became the weekly Journo night out.

The other aspect that allowed me not only to do what I love but get the best out of my course was joining Platform. As soon as I joined in September 2019, I signed up to be a member of Platform and was keen to start writing straight away for them. I started writing a lot for the Culture and Entertainment section, as this is my dream part of journalism to go into after I do my degree (fingers crossed). Joining Platform was one of the highlights of my first year as not only has it allowed me to write more than I was before my degree, but I am gaining the experience I need to make me stand out in the future. I am now lucky enough to say I am the editor of the Culture and Entertainment section for Platform, and it is definitely one of the standout highlights of my year.

Platform wasn’t the only society I joined as I also became a member of Film society. This was another decision I was glad I made as it was a society where I could do something I loved and just watch films with all my friends. Also, thanks to film society, it was again what helped to form my bigger friendship group.

A top tip to freshers is within your first week is go to the societies fair! It is a great place to look at all the societies that are on offer within Nottingham Trent as it covers so many interests. Not only do they let you do something you love, but you become a part of a community that has similar interests to you, and you get to meet like-minded people and maybe even make some more friends.

Compared to where I come from, the nightlife in Nottingham is amazing! Where I live, there is only one club called Flares (which is that old my parents even went there…), and when I came to Nottingham the fact that there was more than one club made it instantly a better night out than where I’m from.

Some of my favourite nights out and the best memories from the past year were of course the Dirty Mondays at Pom Pom with the Journos and Rock City, specifically the Thursdays and Saturdays.

A nightclub all freshers are sure to of heard of and go to is of course Ocean. I only went Ocean once in my first year (dressed as a policewoman), but I feel like it is something that is slightly overhyped. I won’t lie, I did love the music it played as it was my sort of cheesy pop music – queue High School musical – but it was quite far to walk. The best part of going to Ocean was the bar crawl, which was done with the film society.

Another tip to Freshers is if you do want to experience the novelty that is Ocean then you must be part of a society and be warned, if you do eventually go on an Oceans Wednesday then drinking begins at 6pm.

The infamous Robin Hood statue
Image credit: Katie Green

Some of the best night outs I had in my first year weren’t necessarily to a night club but also to the pub to just have a nice drink with my friends. Any students dream is, of course, a Wetherspoons and if you are a fan of them, then a great idea for a night out is to do a spoons crawl around the city where you can visit The Gooseberry Bush, The Joseph Else, Lloyds No.1 Bar, The Roebuck Inn and The Company Inn.

I could write a whole book on all my memories and all that I’ve experienced from my first year at university, but these are some of the highlights that stuck out to me. Joining university and coming to Nottingham was a decision I’m glad I made. It was a new chapter I was waiting for and allowed me to grow as a person, especially in my confidence and made me want to work even harder towards becoming a journalist.

Overall, it was a great first year full of memories I will cherish and friends I have made for life. Although it came to an end earlier than expected, it was still some of the best months of my life as not only was I happy and enjoying myself, but I became more independent, and I grew up. All those worries I had before coming to university were soon gone, and I was becoming the person I was meant to be.

Top tips for freshers:

  1. Try joining Group chats for your accommodation and course before you start as it acts as an ice breaker for meeting people and making friends when you get here
  2. Societies- joining societies is a great way to make even more friends and join a group of people that enjoy doing something you enjoy doing.
  3. Social life- there are so many night clubs in Nottingham that provide a great night out. However, if you want more of a quieter night out, then there are plenty of other pubs such as Wetherspoons to enjoy a drink or two.
  4. Your course- make sure to attend the lectures within your welcome week of Uni as you get to meet all the lecturers on your course, meet other people on your course, find out everything you will study and even get some freebies!
  5. Routine- even though you are guaranteed to be enjoying some late nights out, it is always great to still keep some sort of routine going so you can keep your life balanced with your uni work and your social life. Remember you are paying a lot of money and have chosen to be here.

Written by Katie Green

Feature image credit: Katie Green

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