The coronavirus pandemic stopped the fun of the spontaneous nights out and left them disappointed after hoping to experience the best years of their lives.
But after a year where their student experience consisted of spending most of their time in front of a screen, many students have said they finally have a taste of normality with lockdown restrictions having eased.
And Kieran Burt, a third year student at Nottingham Trent University, said it was now a lot better to be a student.
“I have been going out back into clubs, and not just clubs, other events as well, or sitting in cafes or pubs or whatever, that I wouldn’t have been able to do last year,” he said.
“I have been seeing friends and then going into lecturers.”
But it was strange getting back into the swing of what, pre-pandemic, was normal university life.
The 21-year-old, from Radford, added: “Initially it took like a little bit of getting used to again, yeah.
“But now that we’ve been back for a couple of weeks now it does feel a lot more normal.”
In retrospect, Mr Burt said he took his social life for granted, and that he has decided to make the most of his student experience with now freedoms have returned.
He added: “I did miss out on doing activities that I would have otherwise done as a student.
“So in a sense there is missing out, and I want to make up for that.
“I guess that is part of why I am applying for a masters.
“Part of my reasoning was that I haven’t been able to fully enjoy being a student.”
Last month, the city was a hive of activity as first-year students made the most of their Freshers’ Week.
But it is not just the busy nightlife the students have missed.
Lauren McGaun, who is in her third year studying politics and American Studies at the University of Nottingham, added: “Last year I went home in December and didn’t come back.
“It is a big difference if I’m seeing friends a lot in person lectures as well.
“But then again, it’s not completely back to normal.
“We are still wearing face masks in lectures.
“But on the whole, I’d say it is a lot better than it was, also in terms of mental health wise.”
The 20-year-old, who lives in Beeston, added: “During the pandemic I found that a lot of people fell out with their housemates and, because you are not meeting people, you cannot find an alternative.”
Rucsandra Moldoveanu, an international student on a journalism course at Nottingham Trent University, said she can “live the best years” of her life and that she could not wait to return to campus.
Now in her second year, the 20-year-old added: “I definitely feel more like a student this year than I did last year.
“I don’t think I actually felt like a student last year if I’m being honest.
“Now, the majority of my lectures and seminars are in person but last year we hardly ever went in.
“Actually seeing my course mates and my lecturers face-to-face and not through a screen does feel really nice and it’s definitely more engaging.
“There’s also the nightlife aspect obviously which is now back to normal.
“It’s amazing being able to go out and get to know people.”
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