This year will undoubtedly prove to be unlike any other for students at Nottingham today. But the Nottingham experience is so much more than buildings and courses – it’s those moments of friendship, achievement, challenge, love that stay with us long after we’ve left campus behind. We asked you: “If you could go back to any point in your time at University, what would it be and why?” Here’s a selection of what you said:
"The most vivid memory is from Freshers’ week. In those days, it was de rigueur for students to sport a University scarf. I bought a scarf and a badge that had to be sewn on to it. I had no idea how to go about this task but a fellow student said she could sew it on for me. When I picked it up from her a few days later, we began dating and were together throughout our three years, marrying when we had graduated. We emigrated to Australia and then India. We had 10 happy years together and two children before going our separate ways. A few year ago I gave that scarf, which I had kept, to my daughter in memory of her mother."
"The walk from the Law and Social Sciences building to Broadgate Park. It’s a beautiful tree-lined, sun-dappled lane, especially in the fall, with squirrels scurrying about and tree muted sounds far in the background. Today, when life’s pressures mount, I still find myself closing my eyes and drawing on that memory."
(International Law, Security and Terrorism, 2014)
"Early in October 1956, seven of us Freshers got together and bought tickets for Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, to be shown at the opening of the New Theatre. At the time I felt happy to be included in the crowd, being the only foreigner there, a rare creature at the alma mater at the time. One of the students had ‘splashed out’ and bought a packet of five Woodbines, which were passed along the line one by one. Until then I had only smoked, at the age of seven, cigarettes made by my brother, eight, from dried beech leaves and anti-German propaganda leaflets, scattered from Russian planes over the German town we were sheltering in. The air in the theatre was blue, but at the time not one of us realised how horrid it was, as everyone else committed the same sin, with better class cigarettes no doubt. By the end of the play, which was magnificent, to loud acclaim we had finished the last Woodbine."
"Easter 1973, our senior year when many of us stayed at the University over the Easter break to revise and prepare for Finals. One night in the Buttery, I ran into Helen. We had met in week one of our first year and remained friends. The night the stars aligned and we became “an item”. The following weeks were an unforgettable mix of romance, revision and camaraderie – a clichéd ‘time out of time’ where nothing else seemed to exist beyond that heady mix. Alas this story has no fairy-tale ending as Helen and I went our separate ways after graduation, but should she happen to read this, I hope she recalls “our Easter” with as much affection as I do almost half a century later."
Today, when life’s pressures mount, I still find myself closing my eyes and drawing on that memory.
"Sitting next to an architecture student with flaming red hair, trying to feign interest in a planning policy module but really only focused on the cheese and pickle sandwich he would share at the end of the session. I was two months pregnant and just needed to eat anything, everything all the time. Throughout my pregnancy, I was really well supported by students, lecturers and faculty staff. Two weeks past my due date, my daughter was born. Fast forward 25 years, my daughter has completed a degree in human geography and is contemplating a masters in international development."
(Environmental Planning, 1997)
"The moment in 1976 when I wrote my very first computer program, and it worked! To write this program, I had to sit at a huge desk-sized machine called a card-punch machine. You had to prepare your program in advance on “coding sheets” and type each line in. At the end of the process you had a stack of cards. You put your cards into a pigeonhole in a large rack and the computer operators ran them on the computer – a huge, hot machine called the ICL 1906A. Several hours later you came back to get the printout from the run. Yes, hours later! And you wouldn’t know if your code had actually worked until you got back to collect that output. Contrast that with today, when you can compile and run a program in seconds! I’ve still got some of those output listings."
(Electrical Engineering, 1979)
"Hugh Stewart common room in Winter 1972/73 on the nights that Monty Python was broadcast. Not only were the Pythons funny, but the commentary from the assembled males was absolutely hilarious and absolutely reprehensible."
(Industrial Economics, 1975)
"The time I remember with particular pleasure is my third year, 1961/62. I lived in C Block, Wortley Hall, and because I was the only one who had been in Hall the previous year it was assumed by the others I had my finger on the pulse, so I was elected Block Head. As far as I can remember my only onerous duty was distributing laundry when it came back from wherever it had gone to. I vaguely remember singing Stravinsky’s Les Noces under Ivor Keys, which was an exciting experience. I appeared in the German play in the Music Department and as a result of that I was entrusted with the lead role, Leonidas Fadinard, in the Wortley play at the end of the summer term, An Italian Straw Hat by Labiche and Michel. There were also concert rehearsals during the same time for the Summer Choir, which gave a concert of summery music at the end of term. Happy days!"
It would be the end of Freshers’ Week party where, age 19, I met the coolest girl I’d ever seen.
"In the autumn of 1961 I applied to three universities to read economics and statistics – the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), Nottingham and Bath, being the only ones in the UK that offered a joint course in these subjects. When I went for my interviews for a university place, the oddest one was at the Economics Department at Nottingham. The interviewers were Andre Gabor and Clive Granger. After the formal greetings, Gabor and Granger referred to my application form and my interest in playing duplicate bridge – I had been taught to play bridge by Mr G A Dickenson (affectionately known as GAD, the mathematics teacher at Slough Grammar School), when I was just 16 years old. Consequently, nearly the whole interview of some 30 minutes consisted of discussing bidding systems, card play technique including discarding and signalling methods etc. at duplicate bridge. This card game has given me a lifetime of enjoyment, both playing it all over the world and teaching the game in my latter years after retiring in 2002."
"It would be the end of Freshers’ Week party where, age 19, I met the coolest girl I’d ever seen. Then 19 years on, we have two beautiful children and are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary!"
"I was bending over a microscope analysing sand grains to ascertain whether they were of glacial or coastal origin, when Professor Cuchlaine King looked over my shoulder and sighed, “Aren’t they BEAUTIFUL?!” We were friends from that moment to the day of her death last year."
Chris Payne (nee Moat)
"Professor Marsh, Social Administration, and his wife gave a garden party every summer term. There were degree students, certificate students (mature students on special courses pre professional training), the Baptist church guest students and a few international students coming to compare national insurance and assistance with provision in their home countries. It made for a wide range of topics and friendships – and a challenge to the sociology students to a race on the lake!"
Edna May Cahill
(Social Administration, 1957)
Thank you to everyone who shared their memories with us!