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Sunday 12 February 2017

See what the PR students say about starting university

Starting university can be one of the scariest, nerve-wracking, liberating, and altogether most exciting moments of our lives and, getting the right grades, choosing the right university, and then selecting the right course is only half the battle. So, as a group of people attending Southampton Solent University’s taster day on February 11, we decided to identify the ‘Top worries, issues and opportunities’ we may have as new undergraduates. We interviewed students, staff, and even some parents. Here’s what we discovered.

With special thanks to, Rhodri Morgan, Harvey Taylor, Edward Norbury, Matt Shannon-Jones, Emma Jones, Ryan Harvey and Andrew Hunt.

The view on arrival into The Spark

Why we love Solent

Southampton Solent is great. Not only is it a brilliant university, giving you the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, but you also get to make new friends!

But wait! What if you can’t get here? What if you can’t reach this place? Not to worry! Southampton Solent university is also ideally placed, with excellent transport links!

Southampton has many bus routes and a whole train station just for you! Well, not really but still you can use it whenever you need it… Solent is in the heart of Southampton, meaning that attending university and also maintaining a social life couldn’t be easier.

How about making friends? Whilst this hugely vast place may seem scary and full of individuals, it won’t take long to meet people. Between the millions of social activities, sports clubs and of course university halls, you will make friends, you may even go on to steal their food every now and then… it does save money to be honest. Nevertheless, they will become friends for life.

Lastly, learning a new subject can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Southampton has a wide range of support and help for you to settle into your new environment. The support team will help you regardless of the size of the problem and will always be here for you whatever the weather. Their mission is to help you!

Success! Southampton Solent has a wide range of facilities and resources for people to try, all aimed to enhance and improve your learning experience.

With Solent, succeeding has never been so easy! Computers, programs, libraries and more are all at your fingertips, just waiting for you when you start your university experience.

Rhodri Morgan & Harvey Taylor

Being an individual!

At Southampton Solent you will be treated as an individual, rather than just a part of a group. You will be listened to you if you have a problem or unable to complete a task due to illness or other reasons.

The Uni has a number of support groups available to you if you suffer from a mental illness and staff who will aide you if you fall behind.

When you are in a lecture, you are the priority to the lecturer. So if you need to ask the lecturer anything they will happily answer your question.

At the university, there are a large number of resources that are at your disposal. For creative degrees, you have access to computers with a variety of creative software whilst other students have access to the library.

If you want to succeed, you need to find a balance between having a social life and a working life. Too much going out will make it difficult to do work, whereas, if you work too much, your mental state could be at risk.

There are a number of student union groups that you are able to join. Such as a photography club, a Christian union or you could do engineering - along with many more. 

Matt Shannon-Jones

Having fun at the PR taster day in The Spark

Two of the Biggest Challenges Facing a New Undergraduate Student

The transition to University can be a little daunting for students…. So we spoke to multiple Southampton Solent students as well as those looking to start their degree in the coming year to see what challenges they faced when starting university as an undergraduate, here are two of the most popular responses:

  • Finances - When starting University, you are suddenly expected to manage your finances alone. Between socialising with friends, paying for food and residences, money can soon run out and as a student you are required to budget spending. Many students say they struggle with this in particular as it is a new process and can be easily persuaded into spending money on things they may not need.
  • International Life - Solent has a wide number of international students studying within the University. Many of those we spoke to said that when starting as an undergraduate they struggled with language barriers, be that being understood or understanding their peers. However, the good news is that the current students we spoke to said that these fears were completely unfounded!

Emma Rogers

The five biggest worries as a new undergraduate

  • Homesickness
  • Time management and living on your own
  • Financing
  • Living in halls and making new friends
  • International students and being understood by your teachers and students

When looking into what people found the most difficult when coming to university as a first year student, we found a mixture of responses. The answers that came up the most were about money. Financing can be something that can become an issue for a lot of students studying at university. As they become a lot more independent and live on their own, they have to learn very quickly the value of money and how to manage it. This can be an issue for students as this affects their social life at Uni as well.

Something else that people said was how to manage their time while studying, something that becomes a big part of a student’s life: from all the stress and work that you get while at Uni to meeting friends at the same time.

Something that also takes a lot out of students’ lives, especially if they are living a long way from home, is dealing with homesickness. This is something that can take a lot of time to get used to and is going to take a big toll mostly on international students who could live thousands of miles away.

Talking to students we found that all the issues and worries that they first encountered while coming to university they overcome while in their first year.

Edward Norbury

Top 5 reasons to choose Southampton Solent University 

1. There is a high amount of student satisfaction at the University. For example, the Public Relations course is the highest rated in the UK with a score of 100%. “The PR degree is the best PR degree course in the country,” according to Lecturer Rob Dalton.

2. The facilities have been recently renovated with a new main block ‘The Spark Atrium’ costing nearly £30 million. Furthermore, they are spending a further £30 million on improving existing sporting facilities. One student we talked to said: “They have the best facilities for Art.”

3. Southampton Solent is an extremely “hands on” university with guest lecturers regularly coming in to hold talks with students, giving them further knowledge from an industry professional.

4. Due to its location, it has close connections with businesses in the city. This can open up a lot of network opportunities for students giving them a taste of what life is like after university. It also means that, said one student, “everything is in walking distance” - making it extremely accessible for students interested in visiting the not only outside businesses but the city centre as well.

5. The five secrets to a successful university career according to Viara Dulguerova, a senior lecturer for Sport Marketing at the university, are:

Having a high attendance, engaging in your course, listening to your lecturers intently, partaking in extracurricular activities and not panicking!

Ryan Harvey & Andrew Hunt