Starting a new chapter is exciting, and it can also be a little daunting at the same time! I’m new to the Accommodation Team here at the University of Exeter. In this week’s blog, I wanted to share with you my experiences of being ‘new’ and how I felt arriving on campus for the first time.
During my first few weeks and as part of my induction, I enjoyed embarking on a guided tour of the campus and residences (flat shoes required!) which really brought everything to life for me. I will admit that I did hold onto my maps for the first couple of weeks until I became a bit more familiar with the campus, otherwise I might have found myself somewhere completely different! “Just head towards the clock tower and you will be ok” my new colleagues said to me. They were right – and all of these little tips helped me find my way around.
When you are looking at images on a map, you can try and visualise in your mind how you think a place might look and feel, but I was amazed at how each different residence had its very own character. From the nostalgic and beautiful Lopes Hall to the modern and ambient Holland Hall with its stunning views, there is something here that can appeal to everyone.
Standing in the corridor at Lopes Hall, I looked at the photographs on the wall spanning across decades of vibrant student communities. The library was filled with old books, a piece of history on every shelf. The old blending so seamlessly with the new, and still constantly evolving, was fascinating to me.
The arches of the traditional North Cloisters at St Luke’s campus frame the surrounding grounds and makes it feel although this is extending onto an enchanting secret garden. It is incredible to think that students have studied at St Luke’s for over 160 years. There are new elements to the campus, which includes contemporary seminar and study rooms and the recently refurbished Cross Keys café and social space, however, the natural charm and sense of history still remains.
When I worked in Heavitree years ago, I remember walking past Rowancroft almost every morning. It looked like such an inviting community with an air of tranquillity surrounding the enclosed grounds. Having the opportunity to now walk through Rowancroft, the inside is exactly how it felt to me from the outside – a welcoming student community with an undeniable peacefulness.
At the heart of Rowancroft there is a big green and your eyes are instantly drawn to a bronze statue of a hand holding a degree scroll in the centre, depicting a sense of achievement. The mixture of traditional and contemporary style residences gives Rowancroft its own unique character and charm. It is a community that is reminiscent of the past while embracing the future.
As I continued my tour across the campuses, I thought to myself, what a beautiful place, so rich in history, to study or work within. As the days went by, I started to feel more and more at home. Regardless of where I was on campus, each person or department I interacted with had the same genuine care for people. They cared about how they contributed towards the student experience, no matter how big or small.
Being new is a little daunting and no matter what chapter of your life you are venturing into, it can always feel this way. My advice is to try and enjoy being in the moment and experiencing everything for the first time. Remember, it’s you who is going to add a little bit more to the history of the university and be a part of the future here. Now that’s exciting.