It feels like just yesterday that my year group arrived at university as fresh-faced freshers diving into uni life and getting prepared to take on the world. But time flies by quickly and suddenly, here we are, approaching the culmination of our student journey at QMU. Getting ready now to walk across the stage at graduation means that we have successfully completed our mission as students, but it is also a sign that the time has come to say goodbye to some of our most exciting, most meaningful and funniest experiences in life. There is probably no better time to look back over the years and reflect on these experiences.
Student experience has been much more than going to class, hitting the books and studying for exams. It has been a combination of gaining independence, learning, socialising and having fun.
Those of us studying at QMU have found the beauty of uni life in:
- Тhe Freshers Week filled to the brim with guilt-free partying and entertaining games.
- The late-night study sessions at the library with friends.
- The short coffee breaks in the middle of lectures during which we queued up at Starbucks to boost our energy levels with a coffee drink or a chocolate bar.
- The canteen that has been a lifeline for those unable to bring homemade lunch.
- The variety of societies we were encouraged to get involved in.
- The flat parties in student halls through which we made friends for life.
- The student lounge where many of spent their evenings watching TV and playing games.
- The pond with the swans and ducks around which we walked to clear our minds and get inspired.
- The Big Bang event at the end of the second semester every year to celebrate all the hard work across the year.
- The weekend bus trips to St. Andrews and other nearby destinations organised every year.
- Maggie’s, the Students’ Union Bar & Café, where we hung out with friends for a pint and to catch up on things or play pool.
- Alpaca therapies, which were run on campus so that students could spend some quality time with alpacas whose calming nature helps reduce exam stress.
The list goes on and nine graduating students helped me complete it. I asked them to map out their journey at university in terms of what they see as the most important moments and they readily agreed to share their thoughts, personal experiences and fondest memories of their time at QMU. They also gave some useful advice to future QMU students of how to make the most of their time at uni.
For Owen, 4th year Media student at QMU, the most exciting thing about studying at QMU has been getting immersed into the friendly atmosphere and the family-like dynamic that the university is known for: “My best experience at QMU was meeting my flatmates when moving in halls in the first year and making new friends I’ve kept to this day.” Owen admits. “I’ll miss seeing them on daily basis and I regret now for not going out more often while I was still able to.”
Roope, 4th year PR and Media student, agrees that the QMU environment is one of the places predisposing students to meet people with whom they share the same interests with and where they can easily make new friends. Being known as the Starbucks’ lattes biggest fan among his friends, he confesses that the Starbucks on campus has really added to his student experience!
“However, the rest of the great services offered by QMU are not to be underestimated – the International Office, the Finance Centre, the Help Zone, and so on - all are there to support your life even outside uni.” Roope adds.
He encourages future students to take part in as many practical projects as possible, because his personal experience proved to him that they are the key to expanding knowledge and improving professional skills.
“And for the moments when they are taking a rest from studying, Edinburgh is an amazing city to explore and Waverley Station in central Edinburgh is just 10 minutes from campus by train.” Roope said.
Sharing his favorite student experience, Sean, a 4th year Drama and Performance student, goes back to the time when a script he wrote got a standing ovation. He believes that his accomplishment is to a great extent a result of the professional approach of lecturers towards teaching: “There were many unforgettable personalities among our lecturers and I’ll miss their guidance and support,” Sean said.
Iren, a graduating Speech and Language Therapy student, also reveals that the help provided by the friendly and knowledgeable staff, along with the easy access to everything students need and the availability of various resources, created the perfect atmosphere for her to pursue her personal and professional goals:
“It’s a modern building with good facilities. I was able to acquire so much interesting information about different subjects and popular topics,” Iren said.
Diana , a 4th year Film and Media student, comments that she has been highly impressed by the support she has received at QMU when feeling physically or mentally unwell and struggling with her studies. If future students at QMU need any type of support, she encourages them to not be afraid to ask for it, because the uni accommodates everyone as best as they can.
Talking about the entertaining activities that life as a student involves, Diana, remembers about one of the events organised in the Freshers Week:
“I’ll never forget the Freshers Week, especially when they brought exotic animals, such as snakes and tarantulas, into Maggie’s for us to pet. It was a bit scary, but at the same time very exciting,” Diana said.
The funniest moment for Melanie, 4th year Film and Media student, was ordering pizza to the library during one of her late-night sessions with friends.
“The three best things about QMU certainly are the amazing lecturers, the great food at the canteen and the purple box in the library. To all future QMU students, if you ever happen to study in the library, try to snatch yourself the purple box, it’s a very comfy place to study in and have great fun with friends,” Melanie said.
Laura, a graduating Psychology student, also talks about her love for the meals at the canteen. Apart from her studies, she chimes in jokingly that after graduation one of the things she’ll shed a tear for will be the tasty chicken shawarma wrap she has been regularly having for lunch.
One of the things that Beth, 4th year Film and Media student, will miss the most about QMU is feeding the swans on the University’s pond: “By the end of the year they would even come up to me and let me pet them,” Beth jokes. She wishes she’d participated in the on-campus activities more actively and encourages future students to do so.
“Indeed, the pond with the swans is very picturesque,” Rory, 4th year Film and Media student, comments. “But it is just a small part of everything that the peaceful location in which QMU is situated at can offer,” Rory said.
“Everyone coming to study at QMU should enjoy their time as a student as much as they can. Life as a student is a lot easier than working full-time – you have fewer responsibilities and can focus more on yourself and your personal aims. To put it in a nutshell, it’s an experience to savour,” Rory concludes.
It’s obvious then that everyone will remember their student experience in their own special way. Days as a student go very quickly, maybe too quickly and all of a sudden we are at the end of this incredible journey, left with the memories of all the amazing moments that will stay with us forever. So, regardless of the course that you are studying, it is important to keep in mind that your time as students is limited and make sure you have used every opportunity throughout this incredible period in life.