Since seeing Sum 41 on the March 4th with Cameron, Nottingham quickly became one of my favourite places. I fell in love with the beauty of how the old buildings mixed in with the new ones, the old castle that sat on top of the rocky hill, the tale of Robin Hood and how the city proudly embraces it, and most importantly, the art surrounding you and the strong feeling of creativity as you walk through the streets. Nottingham Trent University is a place that holds equal beauty and inspiration, the architecture somehow providing you with the feeling of comfort as you soak the view of the university in.
Waking up on Tuesday the 11th of July filled me with excitement as the adventure approached, knowing that I was returning to Nottingham was enough to make my previously depressing mood disappear! Dragging my younger sister along, we arrived at the train station around 9AM; Amber being a mix of sleep deprived and hyper soon became the entertainment as we patiently waited for the train. After boarding the train and setting off, I quickly became sleepy once more despite the excitement, the rocking of the train carriage attempting to persuade me to fall asleep; trains are my favourite mode of transport and so this filled me with enough energy to keep me going (either that or it was Amber attempting to drink a litre of orangeade in one go).
After the rather… interesting train journey we had the fun of finding our way to Nottingham Trent University’s Newton building to sign in and start our day,
this took a little longer than it should have as Google Maps decided to try to lead us half an hour away from the university; NTU had people standing on the corners of nearby streets (thank the lord) who were able to point us in the right direction and we soon arrived at Newton building. Newton’s architecture is beautiful, it’s a mixture of old and new with the stone contrasting against the glass, a wide space with a curved glass ceiling flooding the area with light which gave the area a positive atmosphere. Signing in was quick and easy, NTU had posted a slip with my open day planner and so I was able to simply drop that in to a box and collect my visitor lanyard and a tote bag that I quickly filled with leaflets on various parts of studying at NTU from stands at the information fair to go through with my Mum later that evening; in all honesty, these leaflets were extremely helpful (as boring as that sounds) as by the time I arrived back home, my mind was so tired and overwhelmed by information that I needed them to prompt my mind.
The reason I came to NTU’s city campus open day was to look at their fashion course and what it had to offer as well as explore the rooms of their art and design building, although I already knew that I wanted to come to NTU (I follow multiple of their students on Instagram as well as NTU’s design account so I had seen some of the opportunities that they had to offer and some of the successes of their students) I thought that it would be a smart idea to look in to it a little more; you can never have too much information! After grabbing a few leaflets from the information fair, me and Amber trekked over to the Bonnington building which is the hive of their creative courses and is only a 1 minute walk from Newton building. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by a cosy little cafe area that fills the air with freshly brewed coffee (possibly my favourite smell by far!) and as we walked along a narrow corridor we came across Bonningtons which is a small store within the building filled to the ceiling with arts and craft materials; I am pretty sure that Bonnington building is my personal heaven due to it having most things that I needed and love in one place! My eyes quickly caught sight of a large room through double doors with familiar garments that had been suspended from the ceiling, this small exhibition space had been filled with a garment or 2 from 6 of the students who had the chance to show off their graduate collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2017; each piece that had been chosen were visually exciting and looked like they were made with no mistakes. Finding our way up to the spacious fashion design rooms were easy as NTU had cleverly placed coloured spots on the floor that lead to various rooms, for some reason what made me the happiest was the studio full of sewing machines
; despite being on a fashion design course and regularly using them, sewing machines scare the living daylights out of me and have done since year 8 (but that’s another story)! Although I don’t have a burning desire to design textile prints, while in Bonnington building I also got a chance to look at some textile design work, the work that had been put out screamed professional; the textile design students had obviously been busy as their work was detailed, well displayed, and you could see a clear connection between their theme and their final product. Towards the end of the day, I was able to speak to a fashion knitwear tutor that was able to answer my questions and tell me about a few opportunities, I wasn’t able to ask all my questions however as there was only one tutor out at the time and a large amount of people wanting to talk to her.
If I manage to get in to NTU, accommodation would be one of the most important things to me; where I live and the area that I would spend most of my time (either in my room, socializing with others or even at the library) has a massive impact on my mood, productivity and how well I work and I’m sure this is the same with everyone else so looking at the accommodation available and what it was like was another big reason as to why I went to the open day. Before I had even booked a place at the open day I had already browsed the accommodation online and so I had a vague idea as to how it would look however, I had no idea how much space you would get in a room (as it’s hard to tell from a photo online). The first hall we looked at was Gill Street South as it was the one that I had looked at online first and that was also the one that I liked the look of the most, the accommodation in this building is up to date, it’s fairly spacious and it’s bright which is the most important thing to me as I prefer natural light; Byron residence looked the same as Gill Street South and both are gated off, you also need a key to get in to the reception area and so I would feel the safest and happiest at these residences! The most disappointing residence to me was Hampden court as the flat on show was cramped, and dimly lit which made the residence feel slightly dirty and I know that if I were to stay there, my mental health would spiral downwards; I do understand why people would choose to live there however, it feels like an independent flat and so students may feel as if they have a bit more freedom. Each place of residence was close to the city center which is great for obvious reasons, it’s close to the shops which makes it easy to buy uni supplies, clothes and food and it’s easy to get to the party scene! The flats also make it easier to make friends as you can’t really avoid your flatmates for an entire academic year, flatmates also tend to consist of people studying the same course so everyone has common interests that they can talk about to get to know each other; if you’re more of a lone ranger then studio accommodation is also available!
If you’re going to go to an open day at Nottingham Trent to study a creative course, I recommend going to a talk about portfolio advice; the portfolio talk that I attended was extremely helpful! The man holding the talk was a fine art tutor and so he knows what he is talking about and looking for as he has obviously had plenty of portfolios to look at, he was friendly and bubbly, cracking lots of jokes and smiling a lot which kept me (and my sister with an even shorter attention span) interested. His Powerpoint was packed with useful tips and information as to what they would be looking for (obviously it varies slightly from course to course) as well as a few tips for your interview and, after the talk had finished, he was available to speak to and to answer more questions!
From what I have been told, there is plenty of support available at NTU. When on a campus tour the support was pointed out to us, student services and tutors are one of the most obvious and commonly thought of sources; student services is able to help with finances, your classes and is there if you need someone to talk to, they are also able to point you towards more suitable sources of help when needed. The library staff are able to help in many ways, as well as helping you find the right book for a certain topic, we were told that they are also able to help/support you when you’re struggling with classwork (depending on topics). Students are also able to book booths in the library where students or other people who have knowledge on specific topics are able to help you out. Even now, before joining the university, current students are willing to help! Due to being unable to ask all the questions that I would like to have answered, I asked a current second year student studying fashion design at NTU who is currently in New York on an internship with GAP all my questions and she answered most of them, giving honest answers as well as extra information (thank you if you’re reading this!); the students all seem extremely friendly and inviting.
The day ended with me and Amber exploring the city centre in the rain before retreating back to the train station to go home, Nottingham is a beautiful place and I hope to get in to Nottingham Trent University; I have been working my butt off non-stop over the summer holidays and going in to college to use the library to produce work that I hope is what they are looking for and I am looking forward to exploring other universities and applying for them also!