In this blog BA (Hons) Business Studies student, Luke Thomas, reflects on his experiences as a first-year student at the University of Stirling.

On the morning of my first day as a University of Stirling student, I had to leave my house around 6:30am to travel from Belfast to Stirling for my arrival time at 2pm. It was emotional leaving the place I knew so well and going into the unknown, as I didn’t really know what to expect apart from one trip to the University on Applicant Day

I stayed in a 10-person flat and prior to moving in a few of us had spoken in a group chat after finding out our room numbers. After an awkward introduction to a few of my flatmates, we decided to go and explore, picked up our F-Passes and decided to buy some posters for our living room before heading into town. I will admit I was shy at the start but I quickly opened up to my flatmates.  

Some of the flat on a joint birthday night out

Our flat was quite international with two from England, two from Northern Ireland, two from the USA and the other four coming from Scotland, Sweden, Norway and Jordan. This brought a range of cultures to our flat and it was interesting to learn about all the places people came from. Although throughout the year we did have a few issues, these were only minor and were to be expected when living with nine others, but in general my experience of halls was amazing. Making sure you get to know your flatmates well is really important. You are going to be living with them for the next 9 months and they will most likely help you a lot. In general they will make your university experience so much better, just like mine did and I am so grateful for them.  

Freshers as a whole was definitely one of the top moments of the year. It was an amazing week of getting to know people and getting a taste of what university life is like. One of the most important things to do is to branch out and get to know people, whether that’s in freshers events, societies and clubs or within your accommodation block, it’s the best way of making new friends. 

Shaun Wallace and I at The Big Freshers Quiz  

Leaving the flat to return home for Christmas was refreshing but it gave me a chance to reflect on my first semester and realise how much I was enjoying myself. The flat video-called every few days and I was also able to meet up with the other flatmate from Northern Ireland which was nice. Also being able to celebrate my birthday with my flatmates shortly after the Christmas break was great. 

During the February reading week, myself and seven others from my flat went to Amsterdam. This trip was great, and we visited some of the best tourist spots such as the A‘dam Lookout, the Anne Frank Museum and the Moco Museum. For me this was my first trip away with friends and I’m glad it was with my flatmates. However, none of us were expecting to be going home so soon after returning from Amsterdam. 

As well as the obvious impacts on everyone’s lives, people’s studies have also been affected by Covid-19. Thankfully for me my modules were basically complete with only a group project and a test left to do. Changing to online lectures was a challenge as I often found myself becoming distracted in my own home surroundings compared to the usual lecture theatre, but in the end, it worked and I am looking forward to getting back on campus. 

My flat celebrating Thanksgiving

We’re excited to welcome you back onto our spacious campus. We’re doing everything we can to make sure you feel safe at all times.

Please remember to socialise responsibly. As a student, you have a responsibility to help minimise the health risks to yourself and our wider University and local community.