Arriving at university: my experience of starting at Lancaster
by Aaron Price
Hi! I’m Aaron, a second-year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student. I will be talking to you about moving from Brighton to Lancaster, and what your university experience could be like in your first year.
Making the journey from home to university
As much as I was looking forward to coming to Lancaster, I remember feeling quite nervous before coming. I come from Brighton, which is roughly a five-hour car journey to Lancaster - so home is hardly round the corner! I really worried about the distance between my family and friends in Brighton and didn’t realise at the time that I would make new friends.
At the same time, one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to Lancaster is to have a more independent lifestyle. As much as I love my family, I wanted to get used to the lifestyle of living independently and getting ready for what the future might bring me. Campus provides a great balance of being looked after (by your friends, housemates and porters) but also having your own independence (such as having your own room and deciding what to make for dinner!).
After the long journey, I collected my keys from the porters’ office and went into my house for the first time. I was the first person in my house to arrive, so I unpacked my belongings and explored the house. Luckily, my family did a food shop for me while I unpacked my belongings so I could spend the day on getting to know my new housemates. After an emotional farewell, my family drove back home and I let the reality of living independently sink in.
Gradually, more and more of my new housemates started arriving. At first, we were all as nervous as each other, but we quickly became friends. We bonded over games and conversations that our Freshers' Reps helped start.
Freshers' Reps are (usually) second-year or third-year students that help make your Freshers' Week as fun as possible. Our Freshers' Reps would usually come in the evening to play games with us before we would all go to some of the bars on campus, or perhaps go into Lancaster’s town centre for a night out. Our Reps were extremely friendly and really helped my housemates and I settle in.
Life on campus
After Freshers' Week, our degree work started - and university life really moved into motion. On top of the social activities I did with my housemates, such as going out clubbing or watching films as a house together, I really started to be immersed in my degree work. Fortunately, living on campus definitely has its benefits when it comes to studying; I spent much of my time in the University Library, which was less than a five-minute walk from my house.
After Freshers' Week, I decided to get involved with some of the societies and clubs offered on campus. I trialled for the College football team and got in, playing as a right-winger in competitive football matches against other college and society teams. Additionally, as a keen runner, I joined the Lancaster University Running & Athletics Club, with whom I went on casual runs and got involved in competitive events. I really recommend that you join some societies as they are a fantastic place to meet new friends, which really helps you settle in at university.
It is often said that ‘time apart makes the heart grow stronger'.
Perhaps this is quite a corny saying, but I think this saying is relevant to my initial experience at university. In the first couple of months at Lancaster, admittedly, I felt fairly homesick. I missed Brighton and everything in it: my friends, family and life back home.
Having said that, I didn’t fully appreciate what I had: new friends, new experiences - and all of this at a fantastic university. Lancaster has really become my second home and I’m extremely happy here.
If you do feel homesick, I’d recommend that you try and immerse yourself in your new surroundings as much as possible. Get involved in as many social opportunities as possible to have a great experience of university life. Some of the opportunities I’ve had in Lancaster definitely weren’t available at home in Brighton.
On reflection, I have brilliant memories of my first year that I will cherish for a long time. I won’t take the rest of my time at university for granted!
Aaron is a second year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.