Edinburgh Research Explorer

‘A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions': learning to be a university student

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations


  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: This is the Authors’ Final Version of Christie, H., Cree, V., Hounsell, J., McCune, V., & Tett, L. (2008).‘A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions’: learning to be a university student. Studies in Higher Education, 33(5), 567-581. 10.1080/03075070802373040

    187 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-581
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Accounts of emotion and affect have gained popularity in studies of learning. This article draws on qualitative research with a group of non‐traditional students entering an elite university in the UK to illustrate how being and becoming a university student is an intrinsically emotional process. It argues that feelings of loss and dislocation are inherent to the students’ experiences of entering university, and that ‘coming to know’ a new community of practice is an emotional process that can incorporate feelings of alienation and exclusion, as well as of excitement and exhilaration. A broader understanding of how students learn then depends not just upon the individual’s emotional commitment to developing a new learning identity, but on the emotional interaction between the student and the learning environment of the university.

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 1165324