PSA Notts students: Here’s all the best advice from Nottingham alumni

We asked Nottingham alumni what they wish they knew sooner and here’s what they said…

As university students, we’re told non-stop to soak up every second, and that once we leave we’ll be forever wishing we could turn back time to these glory days. Living with your best mates, exploring topics you’re fascinated by, meeting new people every day – it surely doesn’t get much better than this. We’ve reached the perfect responsibility level, where there’s enough independence to feel free, but not enough to have to grow up properly just yet, and we’re all well aware by now that we should be making the most of it, but how?

The three years you’re at uni for will absolutely fly and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate how good you’ve got it when your alarm is going off for your third 9am of the week. Lucky for you, there’s some that have been there and done and have the expertise to let you in on the secrets to how to maximise life in Notts as a student. This is what Notts graduates had to say when we asked them what they’d known sooner:

‘If you’re not happy living with your current housemates, don’t be pressured to live with them again’

Your housemate situation can make or break your entire university experience so this advice is golden. It’s far better to have one awkward conversation with a tricky housemate than to spend another year too anxious to go into the shared kitchen. You don’t owe anyone anything, and future graduate you deserves to be able to look back on these years of your life and feel like they were spent with people you adore, not people you’re treading on eggshells around.


‘Remember to register to graduate. I forgot and almost wasn’t allowed to go’

Some very practical advice here, thank you for the reminder. If you’re in our final year make sure to keep an eye out in your inbox for your graduation details! What was the point in paying nine grand a year if your LinkedIn is lacking the classic cap and gown photo.


‘Live freely in your individualism and your people will gravitate towards you’

There are people in Notts from all walks of life. Lean into what genuinely interests you, not just what you think is supposed to interest you or what will get you the most clout and friends. If going out is not your thing, don’t force what doesn’t feel right. There’s a vast plethora of societies and clubs you can get involved in for some more wholesome forms of fun instead. It can take a while to find the people you connect with and relate to, but there will definitely be plenty in this city so don’t give up hope, it’s worth the wait.


‘Protect your routine like your life depends on it’

YES. Specifically your sleep routine. If you can’t work out why you’re always feeling stuck and procrastinating the simplest of tasks, you probably are in need of the momentum that routine brings. Waking up at the same time every morning and having a set order of tasks keeps the cogs turning so you’re less likely to become overwhelmed with decision paralysis. Falling down a social media rabbit hole when you’re supposed to be asleep is never worth losing your grip of rhythm the next day.

‘It goes by so quickly! You’ll even miss those walks up Derby Road hill in the end’

As a fourth and final year student, I can attest to this. One second you’re 18 getting bladdered every night in your halls and reveling in the newfound freedom of moving out, the next you can’t even think about Jagerbombs without getting the shakes and you’re panicking about dissertations and grad jobs. I’m dreading having to leave this little bubble of best friends, boozy Crisis nights, libraries and lectures. Not too sure I’ll miss being fat shamed by Derby Road though.

‘Make sure you meet Cai Killen’

I had to google this man because I thought he might be some kind of BTEC Andy Hoe or Notts celebrity I hadn’t heard of. Turns out he is just some random Welsh (?) geezer who went here. Shoutout to Cai Killen though I guess.

‘Don’t vape you don’t look cool’

Real. I’m not saying I’ve never had an Elf Bar glued to my hand on a night out but vaping could be a guaranteed way to knock years off your life, it just hasn’t been around for long enough to study the long term effects on our health. Vaping can’t be played off in the same way smoking can, there is no way of claiming you’re channeling a classy Parisian on her lunchbreak by the Seine or a distressed actress with dramatic mascara stains down her cheeks. You just look like a muppet. Stop it.

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The five best ways to combat homesickness while at Uni at Notts 

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