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Who am I? An honest record of Will Duncan’s thoughts and feelings about leaving home for the first time and the life and adventures he experienced, in a city that his friends from home and school referred to as “Scumdee”.


hat is it like to study and live in Dundee? Well my first 11 weeks have been interesting and challenging to say the least. It started with Fresher’s week, where all the first year students (who are known as Freshers), go out every night in the first 7 days and meet new people and their newly pronounced flat mates and get so drunk that they don’t really remember the people that they met the night before. Although the nights were filled with excitement and alcohol, the first few days were times of awkwardness and shyness.While most time was spent alone in your new home, there were periods where you would encounter people who you would be living with for the next year. The conversations (if you could call them that) in the first couple of days with the 4 or 5 people that I shared a flat with were often very short-lived: “Hey” “Hey”

“I’m Will” “I’m Duncan” “What are you studying?” “Civil Engineering, you?” “Product Design” “Cool” “See you later” “See ya” This made the first few days quite lonely and made me feel a little homesick. But as the week progressed and friendships were developing, homesickness was becoming something of the past. As lectures started on the Monday following on from Fresher’s week, I met people that were here to study the same course as me, and that would most likely have more in common with me. To date, with the new people I have met and the good times that I can already look back on, I would have to say that Dundee University has definitely surpassed my original expectations, which were quite high to begin with. It wasn’t all as I imagined, what with the freedom and style

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of lectures being different to anything I’ve ever experienced before. Also the fact that I was not interviewed for a place here, I had no real grasp of what the course entailed, whereas with Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh Napier, my interviews were a chance to see what the lecturers were like and the course aspects I would cover. When I first came to Dundee University on the annual open day, I immediately felt a connection that told me that this is where I should spend the next four years of my life. And after almost 11 weeks of studying, I can say for sure that everything I have learnt and discovered have made this time the best time of my life so far. All the projects and lectures that I have been involved in have been filled with enjoyment, from learning about design probe kits, to how to calculate the speed of an object during rotational inertia. Two years ago, I was sitting in a classroom, working for grades that

would decide what I would end up doing as a career. A year later, I was in my last year of school with two unconditionals for Product Design and doing three subjects that I would be using in my future studies and career. Now, here I am currently sitting in the campus library, studying a course that I’m passionate about and will take forward to earn money doing. What could be better? A year ago, I had no idea what it was like to live in a flat, with 5 new people and be totally self-sufficient. In terms of my course, I did not realise the amount of mechanics involved. A little more information on these would have been nice last year, but this semester has been a huge learning curve. Not knowing either of these things, has not put me off or influenced me in any way, but some extra information before I started at Dundee would have possibly benefited others and myself. If I had any advice to offer any prospective

A night out during Freshers Week. student, it would be to have fun, enjoy the first few weeks and to really get stuck in to their chosen course. In my opinion, a student is someone who is being educated but also having the best time of his or her life. This includes people at School, at University or at College, whether they are Primary or Secondary students, Undergraduate or Postgraduate students. Being a student is a time of gradual learning until you complete your edu-

cation with a degree or a job, and having fun and being social at the same time to make it the best years of your life. A person’s identity is made up of many different aspects - from a person’s appearance, to how they behave and act around people, to their beliefs and religion. Everyone’s identity is different and forever changing. For instance, about 5 weeks before I started University, I decided to dye my hair blonde. This

Dundee should not be referred to as “Scumdee” but “Fundee”!

was an impulse move that came about one day when I wondered what I would look like if I dyed it! After I had done it, I actually really liked it and have kept doing it since! It’s something that I will keep up for a while at University as everyone around me, recognises me for it – it has become my new identity. Identity also covers the clothes you wear, as this is something new to most school students entering University who haven’t had to choose what they wear everyday to lectures. The clothes you wear gives an impression of who you are and in some cases people can have a good guess as to what you study. Identity is important, especially

at University and future careers. At University, the first aspect you are judged on by fellow students, lecturers, friends and flat mates is your appearance. Then, once they get to know you better, they forget that you wear Ray-Ban glasses and that your hair is blonde/ginger! Identity can also be cultural, in terms of where people are from. A few weeks ago, after a night out, I went to a friend’s flat and I noticed that there were about 15 different nationalities there. This is very different compared with my school days where almost everyone was local. It’s good to hear about their lifestyle and to tell them about yours, as it helps to create the basis of a friendship and to learn about other cultures, when you wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise. All in all, my first semester has been very successful, from the nights out, to the great projects and lectures, to the experiences that make you realise how lucky you are to be at Dundee University studying a course that will eventually be my career and life. I can also say that from my time here so far, Dundee should not be referred to as “Scumdee”, but “Fundee”!

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