My first year at Aston University has officially come to an end and what a year it’s been. Not only did I learn more about my chosen subject areas of Politics, International Relations and Spanish but I also learnt a lot about myself from the host of challenges I faced from familiarising myself with a new city to learning how not to burn down the Lakeside residencies as I attempted to ‘cook’.
The place: Moving to Birmingham
As a Londoner, I love being in a fast-moving, cosmopolitan environment and wanted a similar ethos in the city in which I chose to attend University; located in the heart of Birmingham’s city center, Aston fit the criteria perfectly. Being the second largest city in England, Birmingham has a lot to offer – from the Sea life aquarium to live music at the O2, there really is something for everyone. Aston’s campus is situated just off of James Watt Queensway putting most of Birmingham’s attractions on Aston students’ doorsteps – a short walk from both the Bullring shopping center and Broad Street – where most of Birmingham’s night life events take place. As well as being in close proximity to Birmingham’s biggest attractions, the three main train stations: Moor Street, New Street and Snow Hill are no more than a twenty minute walk from campus, connecting the University to hundreds of towns and cities all over the country – making getting home on the weekends convenient with a train journey to London being just under 90 minutes.
The people: The Lakeside family
The friends you make at University are seminal in shaping your University experience. From course friends to flat mates chances are almost everyone you meet is going to be new. It’s exciting meeting people from all over the country studying courses you may not have even heard of but the thought of having to work or even live with this group of people can be daunting but it’s important to remember everyone is in the same boat – they’re just as nervous as you are. Freshers’ week is a great opportunity to get to know your flatmates as you explore your surroundings as well as make friends through attending social events, fairs and meetings organised by various societies.
Being such a small University, Aston automatically creates a friendly environment with people on your course becoming familiar faces as quickly as the second week of lectures. Aston fosters a community spirit rooting namely from the small size of the University, with course friends often living in the same complexes as you and as a result sharing mutual friends. This was most definitely the case for me with my close group of friends living two floors below me in the first year with one who even studied the same course.
The course: Adjusting
The adjustment from studying in a close-knit classroom environment to reading a degree was definitely the biggest challenge I faced in my first year. Before even starting your course people around you will scare you with how little help you get with your studies in University and as I learnt at Aston – this is far from true. Help is available to anyone who seeks it; whether it be from your lecturers, personal tutor or course friends, everyone is willing to help. Balancing a work load based heavily on independent reading with a social life can be tough at first but eventually, you get the hang of things.
Aston University: An impressive location with amazing people. All in all, my first year of University is a year I will never forget – here’s some of the highlights: