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I was not exactly adventurous when I left home in Leicester to go to university in Nottingham. I had considered Sheffield, Leeds, Durham and Manchester, but in the end opted for somewhere nearer to home. I was able to make an informed decision about which university to choose as I had attended open days at all the universities I had applied for. This also meant I got to miss double Maths on Wednesdays while I was at the open days, which was a bonus.
In this review I hope to outline some of the main good and bad points about the university, and hopefully give anyone planning to study there an idea of what the university is like.
The university campus is for me the main selling point of Nottingham University. The campus is segregated from the rest of the city about 3 miles out from the centre, and as a result there is very little traffic indeed. The campus is very lush and green, and definitely in a lot more peaceful location than a lot of the universities I visited. Having said that, you are slightly isolated from the city centre, so it's swings and roundabouts. The campus is dominated by the imposing facade of the Trent Building, which is located next to the tranquil lake. It's especially nice to be able to walk around the lake or even take a boat out onto it.
Well, pretty much everything you fancy from Arts, Law, Social Sciences, Education, Science, Agriculture, Engineering and Medicine. The university scores consistently highly in league table of teaching, research and funding, and is generally well regarded in all subjects.
In the first year you're likely to live in one of the halls of residence located on the campus. A few of them are a bit old and run down, although they are generally well-managed and comfortable. Meals are provided and the standard of cooking is OK. The room I was in was very basic and stark, so you have to make the best of what you've got. Many people living in halls don't venture off the campus for days (or even weeks) on end as everything is provided for you.
In the second year I moved into university flats just outside the campus, near the small town of Beeston. These are very good value, and I really appreciated not working, eating and sleeping in the campus - you need to break away! Most of the flats have 5 bedrooms sharing a bathroom and a kitchen. They are more modern that the halls, and you have more independence as you do your own cooking. The major bonus is that the heating is on all the time and you get a friendly cleaner visiting once a week.
After the first year a lot of students rent properties in Nottingham, and the most popular area is Lenton. Dodgy landlords aside, when I lived in Lenton in the third year the accommodation was good. Lenton is about 30 minutes walk from the campus (and it's uphill), so by the end of the year you can crack walnuts between your thighs.
I wouldn't really know, but according the prospectus "excellent facilities are provided for indoor and outdoor sports". In the first year my bedroom window looked out on the large sports hall, so I could see perfectly happy people walk in and then walk out an hour later looking miserable! There's a big posh new swimming pool been built which I haven't seen, but by all accounts it's very nice.
The main library on campus is the Hallward Library, a vast modern structure. Ideally you should probably be spending quite some time in here, although I tried to spend as little time as possible. There are plenty of books (surprise!), journals, and other reference material. Your attitude to the library was generally clear by the type of seating you chose in the library:
A) Plastic chair in cubicle - "My essay is due in tomorrow - do not disturb me" B) Plastic chair at shared table - "I have good intentions but will probably be tempted to the university bar at 6pm" C) Comfy chair by window, no table - "Wake me up when Countdown is on"
OTHER UNIVERSITY FACILITIES
Each hall of residence has it's own common room and bar, although these are not exactly classy joints. The main bar on campus was called "The Buttery Bar" when I was there, it's very large and the sort of place where lager tastes very watery and is served in plastic cups.
There are lots of different societies to join, and they all set out their stall at the Fresher's fair in the first week of the first year. There are also shops, banks, hairdressers, bookshops and various eating places located around the campus, and you generally get a good deal money wise.
There's a university radio station, theatre, museum and art gallery.
Generally quite good, free internet access is available (hooray!), although there can be a shortage of computers at busy times. Printers have a knack of packing up exactly half an hour before essay deadlines.
The actual city of Nottingham has good shopping facilities as well as a castle, cinemas, ice rink, bowling etc. There are also plenty of pubs and nightclubs, and in my experience the city was a friendly and enjoyable place to live in.
Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I was going to Nottingham University, they always told me about the male:female ratio at the university - how men are way outnumbered by women and that somehow each man becomes a prized commodity! As far as I could see there was a completely even balance between the sexes, although perhaps I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Nottingham University is one of the most over-subscribed universities in the country and I found it easy to understand why. There are certainly some areas that could be improved, but overall I found the university a relaxing and enjoyable place to study in.