Last week was Week One at the University of Nottingham, when students arrive or return to study. I was in the odd situation of returning to start: I graduated in 2006 but came back this year to start my Masters. So while I am back in familiar territory, many things are new and even Week One itself was rather unusual.
The sports hall at University Park is currently under renovation, which meant Freshers’ Fair was all up the creek as the fields the marquee has been on for the past eight years was full of construction paraphernalia. Back in 2002, the Fair was held in the (unextended) Portland Building, but there weren’t 271 societies to squeeze in, so space was at a premium this year as we returned: RPGSoc were initially supposed to be outside with standing room and an allocated interaction space for an hour a day in the Hobbies room, but the atrocious weather on Monday was a godsend: we set up the little table in the room and did what we usually do, only with the ‘come and have a go’ space we’d always wanted. Our allocated outside space didn’t go to waste either: we sent some LARPers out to show off our ‘public’ face too.
Other than standing around catching the eyes of introverted geeks and asking them what sort of roleplaying appealed to them, I actually had things to do. As a part-time student, everything there was a bit weird too. I don’t think I was truly required to attend anything, as they expected me to be away working but as I always have Week One off, it seemed daft not to get involved as much as I could. I attended four Welcomes: two aimed primarily at Research postgrads, one for just the half-dozen new Russianists (although one was continuing from undergrad and I was sort-of a returner) and one for all CLAS (Cultures, Languages and Area Studies) postgrads. There was also a welcome party thing for all Russian students, where I met lots of new people, hopefully didn’t scare too many and drank rather a lot of wine.
Thursday I had my ‘admin’ day: I attempted to pick up my student card but Student Services was so rammed I didn’t bother; I found out where the SSAGC (Social Sciences and Arts Graduate Centre), had coffee and biscuits with people much older and much younger than me and introduced myself to lots of postgrad History people; I also had a look around and ate my lunch in the CLAS study area at the bottom of Trent where the Language Learning Centre (not the Language Centre) used to be.
All that remains before I really push on is to get together with my fellow Russian postgrads to find out what’s going on and have my first supervision on Friday. And that is the scariest part for me: real supervisions with people who care about something I actually care about too! Wish me luck!