A ‘FRESHER’ GUIDE TO UNIVERSITY
A Loughborough student and aspiring entrepreneur has published a ‘poetic’ new A-to-Z guide to university life.
Sophie-Louise Hyde, 23, devised guidebook ‘You is for University’ as a way to “better prepare” new students for their time in higher education and for life on campus.
The writer and entrepreneur, who is currently studying for her PhD in Poetry at Loughborough University, has received the support of eminent literary figures including BBC playwright John Osborne and poet Kate Rhodes in helping make her vision a reality.
The book, which has been two years in the making, offers a unique mix of poetry, prose and handy hints inspired by the university experience and featuring contributions from students and alumni from across the UK.
You is for University, which is being published through Lamplight Press, goes on sale nation-wide at the end of July.
Speaking yesterday, Hyde said: “I wanted to produce the sort of guide that I would have killed for when I was a fresher at university.
“The move from further to higher education is one of the biggest changes in young people's lives, involving flying the parental nest and having to truly fend for yourself for the first time.
“It's a hugely exciting, liberating experience, but one that can be scary as well. You is for University provides new students with invaluable advice, insights and inspiration from those who have gone before, presented in a fresh, vibrant way.”
The idea for You is for University first came to Hyde in 2012, after her award-winning creative writing blog, The Student Wordsmith, started gaining a “significant following”.
Seeing the potential for making the Student Wordsmith into a commercial brand, but lacking any business experience, she approached Loughborough University with her concept of a “freshers' guide with a difference”.
The university agreed that the title could have market appeal and provided support in the form of office space and on-going business mentoring.
Hyde then got to work gathering material for the guide, launching in April 2013 a creative writing competition for students and graduates from across the UK.
Utilising contacts she'd made through Loughborough University, she was able to secure professional writers Kate Rhodes and John Osborne as judges, as well as entrepreneur Michael Jacobson — a mentor at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy — and representatives from non-profit organisations Writing East Midlands and Creative Leicestershire.
“The competition was a great success. Entries flew in from across the UK and the standard of writing was extremely high,” said Hyde.
“With the guidance and assistance of the judges, we whittled the entries down to a short-list of over 40 submissions which ended up in the book.
“The finished guide contains a wealth of writing covering every aspect of university life, from friendships and relationships to dealing with bereavement and mental health issues, as well as tips on getting the right job and survival guides on cooking and personal finance. There's something for everyone.”
Writer and poet John Osborne — whose work includes critically-acclaimed BBC radio shows “John Peel's Shed”, “The Newsagent's Window” and “Valentine's Day” — says that You is for University is a “one-of-a-kind university toolkit”
He said: “It's a brilliant idea and one I have been delighted to support. Sophie's vision holds great appeal both to new students starting out in higher education and long-in-the-tooth graduates such as myself who will recall their own university days in the evocative prose and poetry.”
Poet Kate Rhodes, whose latest work, “A Killing of Angels”, was released earlier this year, said: “You is for University is both a handy guide and heady collection of creative writing by many promising new writers which I think will prove a great success. The fact that it is written by students for students gives it a contemporary edge which is its greatest strength.”
Hyde, whose own poems — submitted anonymously — will also feature in the book, added: “Bringing You is for University to print has been a challenging yet exhilarating experience, and one that has taught me many important lessons on how to succeed as a writer and businessperson.
“It has given me the confidence to develop the Student Wordsmith brand further, and I am now hard at work on my first poetry collection.”
You is for University is available in paperback, priced £11.99. For more information visit www.thestudentwordsmith.com