Hello students! My name is Fiona Curran, and I’m here to take you through my first year at Dundee University! Hopefully this blog should provide an in-depth description of what it’s like to live, work and play in the city (and, you know, study – apparently that’s what you do in higher education) and help you decide if you are interested in applying to this fine establishment – while the prospectus and other resources available do give a snapshot of life here, what I found useful while applying was talking to current students and getting their opinions on the accommodation, the campus and the course; I wanted to know what it was really like here. Those leaflets you picked up might be able to tell you when the university was founded, but only a student knows how the washing machines work, or where the vintage shops are (my one weakness). This introductory post might be a little bit disjointed and feature a bit of everything, which I apologise for, but all the posts after this should hopefully have some kind of clear focus.
I’m a seventeen-year-old nerdy girl from Glasgow (alternatively called Glesgae, Dear Green Place and ‘Paris after a nuclear holocaust’), about to start university life as a medical student in Dundee. This isn’t my first time blogging, but it’s my only blog right now (though I might get a personal one again at some point). To give you an idea of the various tangents this blog may take, I love art, literature, graphic novels, sci-fi and fantasy, fashion, alternative subcultures (especially punk rock and it’s progeny, goth) and the ever changing fashion of David Bowie. I am also ardently interested in feminism and LGBTQ rights, and intend on continuing fencing at Dundee and taking up a myriad of other interests as well. I’m hopeful that going to university (and especially staying in halls) will let me get to know loads of different people from different backgrounds and cultures that I maybe wouldn’t otherwise. Not being a resident, I will be approaching Dundee without bias or former experience, and so will be able to give all those of you thinking about moving to a new city – or even a new country – a good idea of the process.
I’ll focus more specifically and in-depth on how to choose from all the courses and universities on offer in my next post, and for now just mention a few of the basic issues I faced when I started to think about university and am still facing now. I chose Dundee based on the course and the atmosphere of the campus; Dundee has a reputation for turning out confident doctors, and features early clinical experience for medicine and lots of opportunities for self-selected blocks, meaning I get to study what interests me. As for its environment, the university has an incredibly friendly and welcoming student body, and for a medium sized campus the union provides a crazy variety of activities, nights and societies (I’m looking at the A.R.T. society and the union’s alternative music club Floor Five – fingers crossed for a punk rock night).
Like probably all other students, there is a few things I’m worried about. Being the kind of person who could burn water, cooking for myself is something I think of with gut wrenching terror; there’s going to be a lot of practicing before I move in. Budgeting is probably something I will be somewhat clueless about as well, and I’m baffled at the crazy amount of stuff I need to get before moving into halls – not to mention that some people online seem to have already bought all their books, when I can even find trace of a reading list (???).Thankfully, though I might get homesick, run out of a month’s money in a week, or even burn half the kitchen down, the student welfare service is always on hand to help out, and there’s plenty of resources for new students. My godsend at the moment is Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook (found here on Amazon – I got it in an independent bookshop though, which I am honour bound to tell you to do as well if only for the warm glow you get), which is a lifesaver for all of us who can’t tell their extra virgin olive oil from their elbow – having tried and tested several of the recipes, I would like to inform Sam Stern, should he ever read this, that I am forever his vassal for creating such easy food. Regarding prep before leaving for uni (something I’ll address fully in another blog), there’s also hundreds of sites across the web telling you what to bring and recommendations – The Student Room has a handy fresher’s guide here, and I’m pretty sure there’s other sites that have a few pointers as well. Most importantly, however, you need to check your lease agreement and see what you’re actually allowed to bring – Dundee, for example, doesn’t want residents to bring white appliances such as mini fridges with them due to the fire hazard. There’s also really quite a lot of sites dedicated to helping you save and organise your money, so it’s not something to fret over too much (or so I keep telling myself)! Above all, university is a place to learn new things and enjoy yourself, so I’m trying to remember that when I’m stressed out my head worrying about how I’ll cope!