‘Walking on to campus’. Using poetry to explore being a new student

Date 25.02.2022

Students new to university have explored this life changing experience by writing poetry, aligning themselves with a University of Northampton (UON) research project.

Early Childhood Studies students Jafrina Begum, Halima Khatun, Mamley Paddey and Leah Paladino put pens to paper to explore their first impressions of ‘Walking on to (Waterside) campus’.

They composed the poem* to chronicle their feelings about starting their first term and the enormity of being undergraduates as they found their way around their new home and place of study.

As a follow-up, their second piece sees them revisit those experiences as they start their second semester, something that links them to a separate creative writing project at UON.

Public Sector Poetry – launched last year – is for people working in, retired from, or studying to enter professions in education, health, and social care.

It was founded by Senior Lecturer in Education Korrin Smith-Whitehouse who is looking at how these professionals can use writing poetry to explore their experiences of working in the public sector.

The first Public Sector Poetry journal was published last month, and topics included clapping for carers and the emails teachers have received during the pandemic.

Submissions for the next Journal are already open; further details and how to submit your work can be found here (deadline is Monday 20 March).

*’Walking on to campus’

I walked on to the campus, quiet as a mouse.
Soon enough I got in and something freaked me out.
Such very tall buildings and very long halls…
…and so many rooms!

Not forgetting the insane amount of new faces in all these new spaces.
But soon I realised there wasn’t much to panic about
since the University of Northampton is a brand new start
with nothing to really doubt.

Confidence and I are not the best of friends.
you see it’s the little voice that keeps whispering inside my head.
making it seem impossible to try and achieve
and be whatever I want to be.

Am I alone? I asked myself
Don’t be too hard on yourself said a stranger
Support is easy to come by,
Everywhere it may be,
There’s no need to cry,
a friend, a tutor, a leader is the key.

The key to unravelling my future is just behind the door of fear and anxiousness
So close grabbing it but is still seems impossible,
People everywhere but will they abandon us?
University doesn’t have to be an obstacle.

However in the end it’s all worth it;
a few tears
and sleepless nights
But support is easy to come by.

And their updated poem…

Now I walk on to the campus
with nothing to fear since the buildings and rooms are all familiar
The early 9am start is such a blast
Conversations flowing whilst we try to get our brains going

Remembering faces and names was such a chore before
but now there’s nothing to panic about
because we get along better than two peas in a pod

You’d be surprised with all the support you come by…
Achieving your dreams is as easy as 1,2,3

Now I walk on to the campus with my head held up high,
there really was no reason to cry.
We decided to form our own little family
much to our own surprise…