7 things I learnt in my first term at NUA
Social media is your best friend
Social media is your best friend when starting university. It’s an easy and accessible way to get involved and meet people.
I was able to be in group chats with the majority of people from my accommodation which meant I could talk to my flatmates months ahead of our move in and get to know them as well as my course mates.
It broke the ice so when I came and moved in, I had an idea of who everyone was and what everyone was studying so we had some ground to start a conversation when moving in.
Embrace the new way of working
Much like everything else, Covid-19 has impacted university life, but there have been many solutions put in place, so we could carry on studying and working to the best of our abilities.
A lot of university classes have been a mixture of in-studio or online sessions. It has been handy having our lectures and seminars online as they’re recorded so anything we’ve missed or want to check back on we can!
We still have guest lectures and ask them questions, do our seminars and group tutorials.
The only challenge was not always being on campus, but we have time slots where we can go in and work in the classrooms and use the facilities as well as asking our tutors questions.
As I said, social media has been a great way to meet up, socially distanced of course, work together in the classrooms on projects to still get the feel of being with others in person.
Get stuck in to Freshers events
Getting involved in freshers events and taking opportunities to go see Norwich has been helpful to me.
It was an opportunity to understand where I’m now living, meet new people and take my mind off the fact I was starting a new course, living away from home for the first time and didn’t know everyone that well.
Within the first couple of weeks, a flatmate and I signed ourselves up for pub and paddle which was canoeing on the river and stopping at a pub halfway through!
My flatmates and I took part in Zoom cocktail masterclasses with Mr Postles’ Apothecary, which was both fun and delicious!
Find your work/life balance
Balance is important. As overwhelming, exciting and new, moving to university is, it is important to remember to have a good balance.
I learnt it’s important to put time aside for myself, work and socialising! You don’t want to burn yourself out.
Some places to go to get out is the Plantation Gardens, only £2 entry and £7.50 for a yearly pass.
Other places include Eaton Park or taking a bus to Great Yarmouth, with a student discount is about £5.
There are also activities such as trampoline parks, bowling alleys and cinemas, as well The Playhouse which is bar/theatre with live entertainment frequently on and it’s popular with NUA Students.
Make sure to budget with your Student Loan!
As you receive your Student Loan in three separate instalments, it can be overwhelming to handle a lot of cash especially when you’re paying for food and other necessities.
I divided each amount so I knew what my weekly/monthly budget was and then drafted how much to spend on my food shop, any other bills like my mobile phone and toiletries. So I knew what I had to work with each week.
To help financially I would recommend applying for a student bank account a couple of months before starting.
A lot of banks offer perks such as railcards and overdrafts, sometimes it’s worth using one as overdrafts are also a little more flexible in terms of repayments and interest.
Use the facilities and workshops as much as you can
For the first month or so I didn’t know the extent of workshops, facilities and rental equipment in the Media Resource Centre (MRC) next to St Georges. In the MRC you can hire out various equipment (for free) such as cameras, VR headsets, filming equipment and more.
There’s also the NUA library in Duke Street, Guntons is where the technician’s offices are and the printers available for printing large scale pieces. It’s important to make sure you know where all the facilities are within a couple of weeks to take full advantage and complete your work to the highest standard.
Try and concentrate on course work to help you settle in
In terms of transitioning from college to university, I found it very easy. I’m studying a similar course and carrying on down the same route.
The university, tutors and course mates have made me feel welcome to my course and getting involved in events and getting stuck into projects have made me feel more settled and have helped me to adjust to the workload and structure of the course.