Wednesday, 13 August 2014

My Summer School Experience

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going on a University Summer School for a week and I thought I would do a post to talk about my experience which will hopefully be helpful if any of you get the opportunity to do this in the future. 

I went on a summer school to Nottingham University which was ran by the Sutton Trust. It was a 5 day long course whereby you got to experience a subject strand as well as participating in social activities and being able to see the university campus. Just a note that this post is fairly brief and I did a lot more but I'm sure you don't want to know when and what I ate, etc.! 

I arrived at around 12:30pm on Sunday 20th July and was shown to my room in the catered halls of residence on campus. I was lucky to only be sharing a bathroom with one other person! (in a couple of the blocks people had to share with 5 others!) Once everyone had arrived we were put into our tutor groups of around 15 people and played some icebreaker games. Trust me once you've played the human knot game, its impossible to be awkward with people! We also made a team chant, our was awful and more of a song than something that was easy to chant around the halls! We later did circus skills, drumming and a Brazilian martial art/dance called Capoeira which made my legs ache for the rest of the week. 

On Monday we started the day with our academic sessions. I did the sociology, ethics and theology strand and although the first 2 days were ethics and theology based and only the last 2 days were sociology based, I think I experienced enough to know that I don't think I want to study sociology anymore! We had 2 lectures everyday and I'm going to be honest the majority of them were super boring. I won't mention them again because we had them every morning and no one wants to hear about academic stuff! After lunch we split into groups and my group had a tour of the student union and had to create an advert for a society that Nottingham University currently has or create our own. That night we got into our mentoring groups and it was team challenge night which was basically some random games such as catchphase and dressing up our mentor. The ambassadors made this really fun by making the aim to be the winning team in order to free Katniss (above picture). I must point out that this was the night we were first introduced to the pony game, the best game ever and an amazing form of exercise, unfortunately it's not acceptable to play in a small group but was brilliant with 120 or so people.

Tuesday afternoon was when we had a workshop on how to write the best personal statement possible which was super useful and something that I am so grateful I got to attend.  That night was international night. I started by learning some Dutch with one of the Dutch lecturers at the university and afterwards we went back to the halls were there were several activities set up. I did the jaffa cake challenge, which is basically eating as many jaffa cakes as you can in 40 seconds. Would anyone like to take a guess as to how many I managed? A grand total of........1!!!!! How embarrasing!

On Wednesday afternoon we did a budgeting activity in our tutor groups. It wasn't the most exciting thing ever but I suppose it was quite useful to find out about the financial help available as well as realistically working out how much nights out, food and general living would cost. That night we went to the main student bar on campus and did a quiz in our mentoring groups. After the quiz an impromptu disco started for about half an hour which I absolutely loved. I don't normally dance in public but because there were so many of us in such a small space I really didn't care and had a great time.

(The sociology group!)

On Thursday we were split into our strand groups and did a debate. From the strand we were then split into 2 groups so that 2 separate debates could take place for each strand. When I heard we were doing a debate I was petrified. I hate public speaking and even so much as being asked to answer a question in class makes me a nervous wreck. Our topic was about whether or not women should be allowed to fight on the front line in the British Army. My group of 3 were arguing against and although all 3 of us didn't agree with what we were arguing, I really got into it and our debate got quite heated at times. I surprisingly really enjoyed it and if I do end up going to university I would definitely consider joining the debate society. 

(#Debateselfie We won!!!)

As Thursday night was our final meal we had a celebration meal with a disco afterwards. We all got dressed up for the meal (I wore a dress outside of my house for the first time in years!). The disco afterwards was pants! The music was rubbish and I much preferred the impromptu disco at the quiz night. At midnight we played our final game of pony :( and were back in our blocks by 1am. 

(The night of the disco)

We all had to be out of our rooms at 9am on Friday morning and although some people were sad to be leaving I was quite glad. Overall I did have a good experience but I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy to be going home. I slept all day Friday btw, thats how exhausting the experience was!!

The Sutton Trust summer schools run in around 12 universities all over the country and are for students in year 12 but you can check the website for all of the information about it. If you do get the opportunity to go to one, definitely go for it! There is so much more I want to say about my experience but this post is already quite long. I might do a facts about summer school post with some bullet points.

If you are thinking of applying to a summer school and have any questions please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer. 

Megan x

P.S. Excuse my face in all of the photos!


  1. I did this, or something similar, last year.
    What did you think of the Uni? I loveeeed it. It has a frikin boating lake!
    If only I lived a bit further away I'd have definitely applied to go there

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    2. I loved the Uni so much, the campus is lovely! I think I will end up applying there but still not sure x

  2. I nearly ended up working at the summer school. I loved Nottingham when I did my undergrad there, I would deffo recommend it and I'm really glad you liked it. Meg x

    A Scholar Life

    1. Really? The students working there looked like they were having an even better time than us! x