You Made it: an Open Letter to Incoming Students

Rory Jones, features writer and soon to be graduate, offers his insight into the opportunities that university offers, regardless of how you got here.


With my time at the University of Nottingham drawing to a close, I thought I would take this opportunity to address you – as incoming students – and offer my own experiences of my three years here.

It goes without saying that Nottingham is a great place to be a student: we have the best campus in the country; the best nightlife; and we have a lake.

Whoever may be reading this, I congratulate you for making it here, and hope you embrace the opportunities that lie ahead of you, such as nights out during the week… you probably won’t get much of those after uni!

I can say without doubt that I’ve really enjoyed my three years here. I have made some incredible friends, as well as some questionable decisions which won’t be listed in this article. I was lucky enough to have been a part of the University American football team, to have spent a year abroad (which everyone should do), and to have been a part of both URN and Impact. This July, I will be graduating with a 2:1 in Classics. Yes, that’s a degree.

‘My proudest moment, however, was getting here in the first place’

Perhaps my proudest moment, however, was getting here in the first place. Like many of you who will be reading this, my route to University wasn’t exactly simple. Some of you might have missed offers, or even gone through clearing. The latter I am very familiar with.

My A level results day back in 2016 did not go as planned, as I missed both of my offers only to end up in clearing: a situation no one should find themselves in. I was meant to be going to study in London, but all of a sudden, I was back at square one.

After vigorously searching for university places online, trying to contain my bitter disappointment, I saw that Nottingham still had places available. All I can remember is picking up the phone and anxiously waiting for what must have been 10-15 minutes, before I finally got through to the university. I can’t have been the only one calling.

Effectively, I had to re-construct my entire UCAS application and summarise everything I had worked for over the past several years within a couple of minutes. Casting aside my emotions, I calmly listed my results, told them about myself, and explained my situation.

The relief was overwhelming when the voice on the other end of the phone told me that I would be offered a place. People are often ashamed about missing offers, or entering clearing, and I was once one of them. But there’s no escaping the past, and although it wasn’t how I envisioned getting into my future university, I did enough to get myself here.

Some of you may be able to relate to my situation; for others, Nottingham will have been your first choice. To these people I give you kudos for not doing a me, and actually meeting your offers. But in all honesty, you all have a right to be here, and should make the most of your time in Notts!

Upon arrival, you will find all sorts of new opportunities, and I’m not just talking about those weird societies you hear about on open days, that no one actually goes to. Whether you’re moving into student halls, or at Pryzm during freshers’ week, you’ll meet new people. They could become your best friends for life. Or, alternatively, people you thankfully never see again. Either way, you’ll be grateful for the experience.

 ‘Just remember that you won’t be the only one who’s new around here’

Settling into life at UoN should be a quick and seamless process, although sometimes you might struggle. It might be daunting for some, for all sorts of reasons. Just remember that you won’t be the only one who’s new around here, and others may be feeling similarly.

My three years here have flown by, and I’m confident this will be the case for many of you reading- the same even applies to those of you who are on four year courses or more.

In the first few weeks, whilst collecting 6 million leaflets and flyers, you will be able to decide what you do besides your degree. University will enable you to try new sports and activities, meet people from totally different backgrounds, and even go to new places. It serves as a unique opportunity. Allow time to try new ventures, and never hesitate to introduce yourself to new people during freshers’.

 ‘Now it’s time to take the next step in your university career’

I hope this is in some way helpful for new students. On behalf of Impact – I welcome you to the University of Nottingham – and really hope you enjoy your time here. You’ve done well enough to make it this far, now it’s time to take the next step in your university career.

Yours faithfully,

Rory Jones BA hons

Featured image courtesy of Arran Bee via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

For more Freshers content, as well as uni news, reviews, entertainment articles, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved!


Leave a Reply