Christie, Hazel, Tett, Lyn, Cree, Vivienne E., Hounsell, Jenny and McCune, Velda (2008) ‘A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions’: learning to be a university student. Studies in Higher Education, 33 (5). pp. 567-581. ISSN 0307-5079

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