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10 things all incoming freshers need to know about UoN that the prospectus won’t tell you

The legendary micro prospectus can’t include everything, we’ve filled in the rest


Calling all University of Nottingham freshers! Congratulations on first of all surviving the absolute carnage that is A-Level results day this morning, the undoubtedly suffocating hugs from your very proud parents and siblings, and finally, processing the news that you’ve just got into one of the top universities in the country, in what is arguably one of the best UK student cities around (and no, we’re definitely not biased!). Whether UoN was your first choice, insurance, or you’ve got in through clearing, you’re about to start the best three years of your life.

As experienced Nottingham students here at The Tab Nottingham, here’s some wisdom for you soon-to-be silly freshers as you step into student life.

The legendary Nottingham clubs are legends for a reason

If you know anything about Nottingham, chances are you’ll know about Rock City and Ocean. These two nightclubs in the city centre are the biggest spots around for a night out, and on Wednesdays, what seems like the entire Notts student population heads out for sports social night at one of the two clubs: UoN at Rock City for the iconic experience that is Crisis, and Nottingham Trent to Ocean. Of course, Wednesday isn’t the only good night out in Notts – in fact, every night of the week has something great to offer. If sports socials aren’t your scene, you could check out weekly Indie Wednesdays at Bodega, Pryzm Nottingham if you’re feeling homesick for your local one, recently re-opened Ink, Unit 13 for drum and bass or Cucamara if you fancy something a little more tucked away.

You don’t need to book a space in the library

One thing you’ll almost certainly be told when you start at Uni of Nottingham is that you need to book a study spot if you want to go to the library. It’s not really clear why they tell you this, because, while libraries can certainly get busy during exam season, it’s extremely rare that you won’t be able to find a spot at all. Nine times out of 10, you will very easily find a good spot in any of the UoN libraries without trying to navigate the indecipherable online booking system. And honestly, sometimes it’s more stressful trying to find the spot you did book because there seems to be no logical order to the seat numbers. One thing you definitely will need to do, however, is bring your student card – otherwise you’ll have to endure the very embarrassing experience of having to ask the reception staff to let you in and out for you.

Pay for the tram

If you didn’t already know, Nottingham is home to one of eight tramways in the United Kingdom: A godsend particularly for those of you living in Broadgate Park or Dagfa on the west side of Nottingham. There are several routes running throughout the city, one of which goes right through Beeston, past the University Park Campus and Queen’s Medical Centre into the centre of town. You will come to love the tram system, particularly in your first year, and particularly because it seems like you can just use it for free as there’s no one at the doors checking your ticket. But seriously, we are begging you not to fall under this illusion: If you’re caught on the tram without a ticket, you can be charged a fine of £70, and the company running the trams have been seriously cracking down on people who haven’t paid. The tram fare is practically peanuts anyway, so it’s really not worth the risk. Plus, being pulled off the tram by high-vis-wearing staff and being asked for your details including name and address in front of a whole tram of onlookers is an incredibly humbling experience.

If you didn’t already know, Nottingham is home to one of eight tramways in the United Kingdom: A godsend particularly for those of you living in Broadgate Park or Dagfa on the west side of Nottingham. There are several routes running throughout the city, one of which goes right through Beeston, past the University Park Campus and Queen’s Medical Centre into the centre of town. You will come to love the tram system, particularly in your first year, and particularly because it seems like you can just use it for free as there’s no one at the doors checking your ticket. But seriously, we are begging you not to fall under this illusion: If you’re caught on the tram without a ticket, you can be charged a fine of £70, and the company running the trams have been seriously cracking down on people who haven’t paid. The tram fare is practically peanuts anyway, so it’s really not worth the risk. Plus, being pulled off the tram by high-vis-wearing staff and being asked for your details including name and address in front of a whole tram of onlookers is an incredibly humbling experience.

Beeston, my love. Many freshers (and returners) give Beeston a bad rep. This town, on the west side of the University Park Campus, and therefore a further distance from all the excitement of Nottingham’s city centre, is home to several UoN halls like Broadgate Park, Dagfa, and Varsity. This isn’t really clear when you first apply for your halls, so many first years are disappointed to find out they’re more “in the sticks” than they originally thought. What many Nottingham newbies don’t realise, however, is that Beeston is actually something of a hidden gem. The High Street is well known among student Beeston dwellers to be packed with amazing charity shops (including two White Roses – the Nottingham-exclusive chain of secondhand shops), its own Spoons, plenty of takeaways and, perhaps the best part of Beeston, Nottingham’s only Big Tesco. If your halls are located in Beeston, – or even if you’re living on campus and fancy exploring the local area a bit more – , we would highly recommend you make the most of your time in such a prime spot. You’ll miss it next year when you move out of halls and somewhere more residential like Lenton.

Go to all the society taster events you want to

I’m sure you’ve seen this advice before on TikTok, but exploring new societies really is one of the best things you can do for yourself during freshers. It can seem really daunting, especially if you and your new flatmates don’t really have a whole lot in common, but there are tons of people in the exact same position as you who want to go to taster sessions but have no one to go with. Most, if not all, UoN societies will be offering taster sessions throughout the first couple of weeks, some of which will have great offers such as a free ice skating session with the UoN Ice Skating Society. The Freshers’ Fair is your best bet for finding more information like this out, so we would highly recommend you make the most of it – if you’re really lucky, you might even be able to spot a The Tab Nottingham table too!

Watch the steps in Monica Partridge

If you’re a humanities student, chances are you’ll have at least one seminar or lecture in the Monica Partridge building. This airy, light, behemoth of a building is right behind the Hallward Library, and at first glance it does look like a heavenly place to study (it’s my personal favourite study spot), but it’s deceptive. Home to five floors, the Monica Partridge building is notorious for catching people on its steps and sending you sprawling. What makes this more humbling if you are so unlucky is that everyone can see this happen thanks to the building’s open plan. My best advice to avoid this is to leave a few minutes earlier than you think you need to so you don’t end up tripping up the stairs and seriously hurting your knee right before your first seminar – they’re intimidating enough as it is.

Beware of the campus hidden dangers

Set against the peaceful backdrop of Highfields Park, University Park Campus is known for being a particularly stunning spot in the otherwise somewhat dull heart of Nottingham. But beware, what the university’s revolutionary micro-prospectus doesn’t warn you about is the pure danger that lurks within the campus. The hills on campus are particularly lethal – Cut Through Lane looks like a gently sloping hill, but at 8:55am on a Thursday after sports night, it’s absolute hell. Same goes for the hill going past the Sir Clive Granger Building towards the science park – a fair warning for the STEM students.

Another threat you may not be aware of are the campus geese. Well-known among UoN students but not so much outside, the campus geese are known for chasing people and shitting on the Portland Building steps (and making them absolutely reek). Just pretend they’re not there and they will most likely ignore you.

Buy your Halloween costume and tickets early

Ahhhh, Halloween at university. Your student experience hasn’t really started until you and all your flatmates have dressed as slutty cops, the Powderpuff girls, lifeguards, or some combination of all of the above. Costume culture is huge in Nottingham, and if you haven’t had the experience of a themed sports night, you won’t understand quite the extent of its popularity. In the Victoria Centre lies everyone’s favourite costume shop: Luvyababes. This is normally a relatively quite spot in the city, until the two weeks before Halloween when it becomes absolute carnage. If you would prefer to avoid being caught between five people fighting over the last pair of cat ears, handcuffs, or sexy nurse costumes, we would highly recommend you either get your costume as soon as you think of it or hand everyone’s least favourite billionaire some more dosh over on Amazon.

Check out everything the Portland Building has to offer

The Portland Building is University of Nottingham’s Students’ Union building, and it’s well-loved by all. The building has everything, from Subway to Costa, the Blackwell’s bookshop to the Heads Up hairdressers, and even multiple faith rooms. The highlight of the Portland Building, however, has to be Mooch. This is the Students’ Union bar, and it’s well known for its amazing deals on drinks and cocktails, plus an amazing live music program. We would highly recommend you check it out, and grab a coffee from the Portland Coffee Co. – UoN’s very own coffee shop – , and maybe even splash out on some uni merch at Portland Clothing.

Write for The Tab Nottingham!

Last but not least – and probably the most important piece of advice we can give you here at The Tab Nottingham – , is come and join our writers’ team! We’re always looking for new recruits, and freshers have a unique perspective on Nottingham student life that the rest of us oldies seem to have lost. Writing for us is a great way to get to know your uni city better, meet some likeminded people and be the first to know the city’s goss!

You’ll find us at the Freshers’ Fair in Welcome Week, or you can find us on Instagram at @thetab_nottingham – just drop us a message on there if you’re interested.

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