Applying to UniSchool and CollegeUniversity Journey

Alumni reflection: Making The Move to University

I’ll be celebrating my 36th anniversary of being accepted into NTU this year. Looking back, it’s strange to think about the indecision, nerves, and fear that affected me, and no doubt many of you also. Nottingham was only some seventy miles from home, so really only just down the road, though it felt much farther at first. I’d applied to study Interior Design, which was a four-year sandwich course that I felt would be a great advantage, as only one other ID course in the country included work experience as part of the curriculum. 

I was so nervous about getting accepted, I kept telling myself, “I’m not good enough,” “They won’t accept me,” and “I’ll just get a job.”

How my mind swung from complete optimism to crisis mode on an hourly basis made wonder if I was mad.

Others must have felt the same way, but I never asked because I was supposed to be that confident lad from Yorkshire.

I know this now to be pretty normal, I still get times when that bit of panic creeps in and confidence takes a dip. I believe this is good, it keeps you grounded and focused as you drive yourself to the goal you’re trying to reach. 

Well, eventually the letter arrived, my mother brought it upstairs and said it’s from Nottingham and it’s heavy.

That’s all I needed to know; heavy meant good news, I figured, as my friend Jack had gotten a heavy envelope from Leicester and he’d been accepted. He was right, so that was it, Nottingham would be home for the next four years and would change my life along the way. 

I’d managed to get a temporary room for a couple of weeks with a family on Mansfield Road before I found a more permanent flat in Beeston. My father had driven down, dropped me at the house and said “Right I’ll be off, keep in touch”, so it was I’m on my own.

I don’t know why this was really unnerving. I’d spent a lot of time travelling around the country for football games, cycling holidays with friends so it wasn’t as if I couldn’t get by on my own.

Day One

Day one came and after a deep breath I walked into the studio and all the worries disappeared.

The other three people who’d been interviewed along with me had all got in too, meaning a familiar face, yay!

As the week went on, we all made our first acquaintances, and then in week two some of those changed as we realised who we clicked with. Living with a family for the first two weeks, whilst not ideal, certainly helped me settle in. But it also meant I chose to miss some fresher festivities. But I make up for lost time later. 

I made a decision from day one, that I’d not go home until Christmas break.

I felt it would be important to make the break, settle in Nottingham. This is something I’d recommend everyone to do.

Some of the students on our course went home most weekends and I felt they never truly left home. They onsequently missed out on the social side of being a student. 

By the end of the first term, I and three friends rented our own house in Forest Fields. Now, we had all settled down. As with all students, I thought this place was a palace.

One of my friends’ mums pointed out the grease on the stove, the dust on the carpets, etc., and we were sent to get cleaning supplies.

The next day, our flat was spotless, and in true student fashion, it was never cleaned again. 

I’d made the break, now had my own space and we’d all settled into student life. Over the next four years, friends and flatmates would change, the course would be stressful at times. And still, those doubts would creep in but you keep going, retaining that self-belief and you eventually come out the other side. Nottingham was the first step and gave me the confidence to then move to London and now Dubai. It’s been a journey I’ve loved and I wouldn’t change!

By John Rabone, Managing Director at R&R Design FZLLC Dubai & UK.



Blog Administrator. Currently ran by co-author Emilia Denis. Emilia has studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at NTU between years 2017 and 2020.

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