Becoming a university student is probably one of the most life changing things you will ever do, but if you have made the wise decision to choose a university in the North East of England you are already off to a great start so well done you!
I arrived in the North East as nervous yet excited teenager way back in the year 2000. The city of Sunderland was to be my home for the next four and a bit years as I embarked on a degree course in Communication, Culture and Media. I followed this with a masters degree in Radio Production & Management at the University of Sunderland, before moving to Newcastle to pursue a career in commercial radio in 2005.
I did contemplate filling this post with loads of cringeworthy pics from my uni years to entertain you (I have a high embarrassment threshold) but most are in the loft at my Mum and Dad’s house so these few were all I could find, still pretty cringey I’m sure you’ll agree!
I know it’s a phrase that’s used all too often but my uni years honestly were some of the best years of my life! That was largely down to the amazing friendships I made (you know who you are!) but I also think my chosen location had a lot to do with my happiness during those hedonistic days. After moving here from a small Lancashire town I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and I loved the combination of coast and city that was on my doorstep.
Looking back I probably didn’t appreciate my surroundings as much as I do now and I would encourage every new student who has moved to the North East to get out there and discover what the region has to offer. I guess that would be my top tip really, make sure you explore beyond the students’ union!
To offer you even more advice I have turned to the wonderful community of North East bloggers who have these words of wisdom for newbies to the North East…
Ellie Travis – www.performance-sports-therapy.blogspot.co.uk “Join a club! I joined our kayaking club. It was brilliant! We travelled all over the North East to paddle and camp meaning I got to see so much more than other uni students”
Nyomi Winter – www.nomipalony.com “I did a history degree at Newcastle University and absolutely loved it. I had an amazing three years there and then went on to work there for several more years. My top tip for new students would be to make the most of freshers week, go to everything you can and really try to get familiar with the campus and meet new people. Freshers week is such a great opportunity as most people don’t know anyone so you are all in the same boat. You don’t have to feel weird introducing yourself to strangers because everyone is doing it. The fact that there is lots of booze helps with the nerves too! And just have fun, I’m very jealous of you. I have brilliant memories of that time.”
Gemma Hirst – www.journogemmahirst.wordpress.com “I graduated from Journalism at Sunderland Uni last year. And I never really got to explore the city that much. So my tip is to explore the city that you are in whether it is Newcastle, Gateshead, Teeside or Sunderland. Why don’t you and your new group of friends explore the city on a free day or over the weekend. You never know what hidden gems you may might find.”
Pip Milburn – www.pipmilburn.com “I used to work for Newcastle Uni and organise induction/freshers week for 1000+ students. My top tips would be to find your school office BEFORE Monday of induction week so when hungover and half asleep on the day you have an idea of where you need to be. Knock on as many doors as possible in your new hall of residence and introduce yourself, no one knows each other and it’s the perfect opportunity to make friends. Visit the freshers fair to find out about all the fantastic clubs you can join. Find out who your personal tutor is, they are your first port of call if you need help with anything course related.”
Rachel Horton – www.thesculptureculturevulture.wordpress.com “You will never have an opportunity to have a go at so many different things so really embrace it and enjoy the experience…. I did radio for a bit and loved it!”
Stephanie Fox – www.stephaniefox.co.uk “Don’t be scared to ask the locals for directions or help! And experience a Newcastle match day at least once in your time in the city…but maybe once you’ve settled in a bit haha. You may also want to check out this blog post I created about student hangover cures I wish still worked for me now”… www.stephaniefox.co.uk/10-student-hangover-cures/
Rebecca Allan – www.becxblogs.co.uk “I live in Newcastle but went to uni in Sunderland. I would say… invest in a metro pass!”
Natalie Walsh – www.nattsjourney.com “Get a part time job or volunteer locally. Every little bit of money helps especially when you’re a student. Getting a part time job will help build contacts, help you meet people and give you some working experience.”
The North East has been very good to me – I hope that whatever course you’re embarking on, at whichever of our world-class universities, that you will be as happy here in this thriving corner of the country as I have been!