A fresh perspective on my first term at Lancaster

by Faraz Khokhar

Welcome to Lancaster University! As a first-year student starting university not long ago, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on my time so far and how I have found it. Being a non-drinker, it is my understanding that drinking is not at all necessary to enjoy your time here as I have had a brilliant first term.

Lancaster has become like a second home to me in the relatively short amount of time that I’ve been here, and there are loads of places around the city and campus that have played a big role in that. I’m writing about a few of my favourites in this article.

My fellow Digital Content Ambassadors and I have made, and are working on, some exciting projects to share. We will be making content that gives a real-life insight into being a student at Lancaster, so be sure to keep up to date by following us and the university on social media.

LUMS Careers support

As someone who is career-focused and has come to university to increase my employability skills, and Lancaster hasn’t let me down. The university encourages forward career planning from day one.

In fresher’s week, along with the new cohort of LUMS students, I attended a talk ‘you have what it takes’ delivered by Uche Ezichi. This event was part of the Future Global Leaders module, something which I found exclusive to Lancaster during my research of picking my five university choices. There are many workshops daily, which are delivered by the careers team and help students with expanding their knowledge of the job market.

Through working with the Careers Service, I've already secured a week-long internship with the UK Civil Service for the forthcoming Easter break.

Meal with friends in Manchester

At the campus entrance

ISOC Charity Dinner 2018

The Collegiate System

I have found the collegiate system at Lancaster to be distinct. You can make the experience as competitive as you want, or not. There are plenty of inter-college competitions that make students part of a collective identity and the sense of belonging to one of nine colleges appeals to many. A common conversation opener (‘what college are you in?’) gets the dialogue going, especially in the first few weeks.

I picked my college (Furness College) as the idea of being the smallest college appealed to me for various reasons. The fairly central location was also perfect for me as it is in close proximity to where my lectures are held. Finally, the college offered the room type I wanted. Personally, I feel very content with my decision, therefore; it is my advice that you should do your research looking at the factors I have mentioned. You can find out about our nine unique colleges and what they offer here: Collegiate system.

During Welcome Week, each college ran specific events meaning that it made it less overwhelming to meet so many new people at once. Meeting people at a smaller scale first was advantageous as it made the process of introducing myself and meeting other people in and outside of my course easier come the second week. As someone who doesn’t drink, I didn’t feel isolated at all. Alongside the typical events, my college ran more chilled events for people who do not drink alcohol such as games and movie night!

Student Societies

Finally, there are a lot of student-run societies that you can be a part of which ultimately makes your transition into university smooth. By joining a few societies before coming university, I was able to integrate into the Lancaster community and find like-minded friends right away. I highly recommend attending the Freshers' Fair in Welcome Week to see what's available. I'm part of the Islamic Society (ISOC), and you can see some of us in the picture above at our charity dinner, raising money for Human Aid.

A friendly place

I’m glad to say my expectations before coming to university have been exceeded. Being an introvert at heart, I was surprised to settle in quite easily as I thought I’d feel more homesick.

There is plenty of support around such as the student services in the Base or the college wellbeing team who are there to ensure you enjoy your time. I was really grateful for the support and help of the Student Funding Team in the Base, who helped me with my student finance application. 

As someone who has come from a fair distance away (South East), I have noticed how friendly this place is. The North West is also beautiful and each time I drive back to the campus from work, it feels like I’m entering my own home; the campus feels like a mini town in itself separated from the city centre. I’ve especially enjoyed conversing with my college porters who give a first-class service when going to receive my parcels. Bailrigg offers a vibe of safety and security.

Ultimately, my experience so far has been shaped by the amazing people I have met and collaborated with. I feel valued to be a student here, surrounded by incredible people.

I look forward to the next term and the next few years at Lancaster!

Lancaster's Ashton Memorial

Follow Lancaster University on social media