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The University Experience

The experience you have at uni is something you shape and define for yourself. It’s easy to sit around, make excuses and be afraid to try new things, especially when it goes against the label of what you were known by back in college or sixth form. In fact it probably gives you more reason not to try new things. But uni is that fresh chance where you can redefine yourself for the better.

For example, take sport. Back at school I was definitely not one to get involved in sports, to be honest I was just that girl who knew nothing about sport and couldn’t catch a ball properly. Despite not being a sporty person back then, I decided to still get involved in sports (even if it meant that people had to shout out the rules from the side line whilst I played as I barely knew the rules). Sometimes you never know you could actually be good at something new if you tried. Of course, playing a sport isn’t the only thing you can try out.

There’s a range of other new things to try out from volunteering, to leading your own campaign or raising money for charity. Whatever you fancy trying, pretty sure Loughborough has got you sorted. University is supposed to be the best years of your life, but sometimes it might not feel that way. Settling into university can be overwhelming for some, especially when you’re used to your own home comforts (of course this isn’t the case for all, some of you will love all that freedom you get being away from home). Coming to uni, you suddenly have to grow up and have to actually do things for yourself. From having to cook for yourself to paying bills, it was definitely a step up from living at home (unless your mum is real nice and brings you food from home every week).

Sometimes settling in doesn’t come naturally to everyone, in fact it can take some time, but it does get better. It took me ages to settle in, despite having an older sibling at uni with me. But I can assure you, it’s all part of that uni experience and you’re not alone in what you face. Even when you’re surrounded by so many people, you can still feel lonely and you can begin to miss home. If you do feel this way, I would recommend talking to someone as bottling things up can only make matters worse.

There is a lot of help available (more than you think) and since everyone is in the same boat, you’d be surprised at how many other people are feeling just like you. Talking it out can help you feel better about the situation and the struggles you may be facing at uni. Just knowing someone feels the same way can help. The struggles you face today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow, so always remember whatever you may be dealing with at uni is only helping you grow for the better. If you ever feel you are struggling with anything, speak to your personal tutor. They’re not only there to help you with your academic life but also are with you for the rest of your time at Loughborough and so want to help you as much as they can. If not, definitely talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a flatmate, friend, family member or even feel free to drop myself a message. Sometimes I found that I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone as it can be easy to hide yourself in your room when things get tough.

By getting involved in hall life, from running for committee to getting involved with RAG (raising money for charity) to Action (volunteering projects) to IMS (hall sports), I kept myself occupied and that itself helped me settle in more. Taking every opportunity that came my way helped shape my first year for the better. Easy said than done to push yourself out there, but you’ll thank yourself for doing so. First year is the perfect time to get involved with everything and I can’t stress enough how much taking part in hall life changed my first year for the better. Take every opportunity and make the most from it. Be yourself and enjoy yourself every step of what is about to be the start of your very own uni experience.

Tania – Ex Vice Chair, AAIR & Welfare Rep

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Things I’ve Learnt At Loughborough

You underestimate how much spare time you have.
Coming from school where I had to be in from 8:30-15:00 Monday to Friday you don’t realise how much spare time you have at uni. When most people have around only 20 hour weeks you have a lot of spare time compared to when you were in school. This is especially the case when you live on campus and lectures are less than a 15 minute walk from where you live. This gives you a lot of time to ignore doing work and watch Netflix but also get involved with as much as possible.

How easy it is to make friends for life.
When you’re going to uni you don’t realise how close you will get to the people you meet on the first day. Unlike when you’re at home, your friends are around you literally 24/7 and everyone you know is always within walking distance from you. Relating to my point above, we have so much time at uni most of it is just talking in the kitchen or watching Jaime’s 15 minute meals if you have a TV (a great show but we never actually made anything from it). You get to learn so much about people in such a short space of time and become friends for life.

Loughborough is not north.
Loughborough is like the last kid picked for football, not wanted by either the north or south so it’s just classed as The Midlands. As I am from London I naively think that anything outside the M25 is classified as north. Coming to Loughborough I believed that I would meet so many people from the north. Oh how wrong was I as most of the people here are from Southern England, though there is a strong northern contingent at Loughborough.

Don’t be stressed about money in the first few weeks.
I came to uni thinking that I could budget from the first week. While it’s possible to, as you go along it becomes basically impossible in the first month or so. Between buying things that you didn’t realise you would need and the chaos that is freshers week, you don’t really fall into a routine until late October. My advice is don’t worry too much about how much you’re spending in the first few weeks and focus on having a good time. If you are low on cash there are lots of jobs available in Loughborough.

The return of the importance Facebook.
I’m not the most up to date person when it comes to social media and when I was coming to uni I hardly used Facebook, however at Loughborough it’s hard to function without it. Whether it’s for group work, hall business or horrendous pictures from the night before, Facebook is always being used for one thing or another.There are many more things I could have put as uni is just one big learning curve. If you have any questions or problems don’t hesitate to either message me directly or message the hall page. You’re in for a great 3 years so enjoy it!

Ako – Ex Hall Chair