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Florence Steer

Where are you from?

London

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

The course was the best suited for me, as it involved lots of hands-on time in the workshop, as well as a field trip to New York! The workload looked like it would be high, but not as pressured as at other universities I looked at, meaning that I could still get involved with societies and volunteering. Coming from London I also needed a city-based university, (I'm not used to green spaces!) and Newcastle seemed perfect.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle is a great place to be at university - it's easy to get around by foot, but if you're using public transport then the metro and buses are a great and easy to navigate network. There's pretty much every shop you could wish for either in the city, or in the Metro Centre, and loads of them do student discount. As a design student, I'm a big fan of the architecture too! Of course everyone knows about the famous nightlife, but there's also comedy clubs, great live music venues, beautiful parks, and local secrets like Ouseburn Urban Farm.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

Moving to the North was a bit of a culture shock at first, but I absolutely love it now! People actually talk to you on public transport and it's not weird! I've been so impressed by the kindness of the people of Newcastle - I've had people help me find my way to places, let me share taxis to get home, and even had my mobile returned to me after I lost it on a night out!

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

I found that the university was really keen to help new students, putting on loads of events during the daytime in Welcome Week, and having hundreds of volunteers from the Union to help me move in! All the information you need is available, and there's a great support system as well - with the new addition of the Nightline call-in service. I am on a very small course and initially struggled to fit in, but by volunteering at the Student's Union I gained the confidence I needed to now happily get along with my course!

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I couldn't put it down to just one thing. I think that looking back now and seeing how much I have grown and developed is what makes me feel like my time at University has been a success. That and the incredible people I've met and friends I have made.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

The Students' Union has, without a doubt, been my greatest help at Northumbria. I signed up at the Societies and Volunteering fair in Freshers week and never looked back! I've grown so much as a person and in confidence, and have done things that I never thought I would have the chance to, or be able to, do! It's all paid off as well, as I've so far been nominated for Volunteer of the Year (1st year) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2nd year). The people who volunteer within the Union are so much fun, and I have found my closest friends there. I would definitely recommend it to any new Northumbria Students!

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

To be honest, most students I meet! I don't think I have ever met a group of people with so much passion for the same thing - Northumbria! You will rapidly discover this as soon as someone mentions Newcastle University or Stan Calvert!

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

So far at university I have been heavily involved with volunteering at the Students' Union, being a team leader 4 times, a member of Leadership Committee and now a community volunteering project committee member! I have done some amazing things with the Union (all for charity, of course!), including: a fancy dress conga down Northumberland Street, an abseil down our 7 storey (and 24/7) library, spending a month wearing the same dress, and going a month without alcohol! I've also been to Tynemouth beach, collected money at a football match (quite an experience), and embarrassed myself more times than I can count! I am also in the process of setting up Northumbria University's Treasure Hunt Society!

What is the best thing about your course?

I really enjoy the independence we have within our course - it's quite a learning curve to have the freedom to manage your own time and workload, but you learn fast! The workshops have all the equipment you would ever need, and the technicians are always on hand to help out. The field trip to New York in second year is also a highlight!

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

Keep trying - if it doesn't work out first time, pick yourself up and try again. Move on from bad projects or marks, and don't let it affect you next project except to learn from your mistakes.  Be yourself! - that's how to find the people who you really want to be friends with. Don't pretend to be someone you're not just to fit in. Honestly, you will never talk to most people you meet in freshers after freshers! It's normal, don't feel bad!

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I think that my range of experiences will help me in the future - facing difficult situations has given me the skills I need for dealing with them again, and I have the confidence to know that I could handle pretty much anything now! That's what university is about - experiencing different situations and not being afraid to fail, because that's how you learn.

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your current course/undertake field trips? If so, please tell us about them.

In February we went on a field trip to New York, which was incredible, although also freezing cold! We were warned that we might get "small town syndrome" when we returned to Newcastle, and we didn't understand why until we got to New York! We visited the world-famous art and design galleries, spent days going to design shops and studios in SoHo, and soaked up the amazing atmosphere of being in the city that never sleeps.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

Make the most of Freshers Week - it's not all about the partying! Make sure you go the the Societies and Volunteering fair, and take advantage of the free session sign ups, as well as the Dominos pizza! The introduction talks might sound "uncool" on paper, but they will genuinely help you when you need to use the library for the first time, or your U drive crashes!

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I wouldn't recognise myself from when I first came to Northumbria in 2012. I have grown so much in confidence, and learnt a lot about myself. I have been pushed and stretched, but it has made me a much better person. I have met amazing people and done amazing things, and I think that I will always look back at my time at Northumbria as some of the best years of my life.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Crazy. Hard. Fun!

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Yes!


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