A Rocky Start to Uni – OurWarwick
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A Rocky Start to Uni

Bethany Goodman
Bethany Goodman | Language, Culture, and Communication Contact Bethany

As the academic year comes to an end, many of you in college and sixth form will be preparing for your final exams and your big transition to university life. Those of you at university will also be preparing for your transition into second, third or final year and this also comes with a lot of challenges. In my journey to both university and to my second year at Warwick I made some big changes to my studies and I felt that this was a much needed post to put some minds at ease for those of you questioning your course choice before beginning university, or even questioning how much you actually enjoyed your first year at Warwick. 

In 2015 I received my offer to study ‘Hispanic Studies with Italian’ at Warwick and I was over the moon! It was the course I’d been so eager to study and the opportunity of learning a new language was also something I was looking forward to. But as the summer went on, I found myself feeling more and more nervous about the whole year abroad aspect of the course: I was nervous enough moving away from home during a summer of personal unrest, so the thought of having no choice but to undertake a year abroad became pretty daunting. I voiced my concerns to my parents and, supportive as always, they helped me look for a different course with similar grade offers to see if I could swap to something similar but without a compulsory year abroad element. I found one: ‘Linguistics with Spanish’. 

Upon finding a new course that fitted my needs, I phoned up the relevant departments at Warwick and asked if this change was something I could do and they were so incredibly supportive. The ease with which they swapped me onto a different course was something I was so grateful for, and immediately made me sure of my decision. So I began my first year at Warwick studying ‘Linguistics with Spanish’. 

My first year was definitely a positive experience; I thoroughly enjoyed all of my modules and made some good friends along the way from the two different departments I was part of. However, towards the end of the academic year (and especially throughout exams) I realised that I was struggling a lot with the Spanish side of my course and much preferred my modules from the Applied Linguistics department. My friends from Linguistics all took the same modules and their language module was weighted much less than mine, meaning that I sometimes struggled to keep up with both sides of my degree: the Linguistics students only had to spend 15 cats on their language module while I had to spend 30; the Spanish students also spent the rest of their study time learning about the culture of Spain, whereas I only spent a couple of hours a week learning the pure language. It was a very tricky balance, one which I felt I wouldn’t improve at, nor enjoy, during my remaining time at Warwick. So I spoke to the Applied Linguistics department in hopes of transferring to their degree title ‘Language, Culture and Communication’ – I already took almost all of their modules so it was a very quick and easy switch.

From second year onwards I continued my degree under the title ‘Language, Culture and Communication’ and I have never been happier that this degree allowed me to study exactly what I wanted. It gave me an optional year abroad too, which made me feel much less nervous about the whole university experience – a year abroad which ended up being the best year of my life! 

All in all, my decisions to swap courses were completely necessary and I’m so glad that I did them. Coming to university is a challenging experience, especially when you think that you’re completely confined to the course you chose when you were 17, but I found that Warwick was so supportive of my decisions to swap course titles and really made the process so quick and easy that I knew it was the right decision for me.

So for any of you out there questioning your course choice before university or even after your first year, my advice would be to talk to your department or your personal tutor and see what other options are available. Swapping courses seems like a really daunting and impossible thing to do, but after doing it twice I can honestly say that it’s so much easier than I expected and if you’re worried about your course then it’s a good option to consider!

Bethany Goodman
Bethany Goodman | Language, Culture, and Communication Contact Bethany

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