Advice I Wish I was Given as a Fresher
As I scan through the upcoming freshers Facebook page and read all the eager posts and questions that pop up in the notifications from excited soon to be Warwick freshers, a wave of nostalgia hits me as I recall how I felt exactly a year ago. The excitement and anticipation of a new adventure, living independently half way around the world from my family, making new friends, adapting to a new lifestyle and a completely new environment- it was both exciting and scary at the same time. Due to this mix of different emotions and thoughts, I do wish that someone could have offered me some bits of advice in terms of preparing myself for the changes ahead. Here are four tips of advice that I have to offer for all you upcoming freshmen.
1. Don’t overpack
This is definitely easier said than done and I clearly remember the struggle I underwent when figuring out what I needed to bring to uni, especially since I was travelling from the other end of the globe. For some reason or another, I felt like I needed to pack half of all my possessions to haul with me to the UK. Boy was I wrong… half of my closest definitely was a squeeze in the minimal wardrobe space provided in on campus accommodation and some of the things I brought all the way from home remained untouched in my storage boxes. Make sure you only really bring the essentials (you can do without your entire closet), so pack most of the basic clothing pieces that are still fashionable but versatile and comfortable as well. Don’t pack your X-box, playstation or your collection of plush toys despite how tempting it may be. Some room decoration is a nice touch to make your accommodation space feel a bit more homey but don’t overdo it, especially since some accommodation contracts require students to empty out the rooms during term breaks. This will just save you the trouble of having to peel thousands of posters or fairy lights off of the walls each term break. Packing smart not only makes your rooms more space efficient but it also saves you the pain of having to break your bank account with storage fees or multiple cab rides from campus to your new accommodation in second year when you are required to move off campus.
2. Get involved
Joining sports clubs and societies are hands down the best way to meet new people. With over 250 clubs and societies offered at Warwick; there is definitely one that caters to a wide variety of interests and its the best way to get to know people who share a common interest with you. I was highly involved with the Oriental Performance Society and Malaysian Society this year, and many newfound friends I made during the course of my first year I met through societies I joined. If in the case that there happens to be something you are potentially interested in but is not currently available as a society, you have the opportunity to create this society and have it approved by the SU for the following school year. Check out the SU website to find out more about what societies you can choose from!
3. Find the right balance between fun and academics
Let’s face it, of course we all want to have fun during the first year at Uni right? No parents constantly chaperoning or snooping through our everyday lives, no curfews, new people and new experiences, this is independence at one of its finest moments. Yes fun is definitely at the top of the to do list, but on the other hand we are all here to graduate from our degree and score a successful future, so make sure that you play hard but work hard too. Rather than partying three nights in a row, prioritise that essay due the day after tomorrow. There is plenty of time for celebration once that assignment is out of the way and I’m pretty sure an all-nighter would be much more appreciated with friends in the club rather than your desk surrounded by value packs of redbull. On the same note, make sure you start organising your notes revising as early as spring break to cut back significantly on the stress once third term hits you at full speed. This is the time when exams really begin lurking around the corner and finding a spot in the library or learning grid is close to impossible. Save yourself the stress and panic by slowly going over lectures and readings from the past few terms to avoid cramming and information overload.
4. Be smart with your money
One of the most depressing things is checking your bank balance after a crazy night out with some mates to find out that you’re hundreds of pounds into overdraft. Learning to live within the means of a student budget is a bit of a bummer as it is, but thankfully there are some ways which it can be accomplished. When heading out to the clubs, rather than bringing your card, withdraw a certain amount which you would be willing to spend that night on drinks and transportation, this will save you from any intoxicated splurging. Applying for part time jobs is also another great way to increase your budget and it also provides you with valuable additions to your CV. The best way to discover part time job opportunities is by registering with Unitemps. Another way to earn some extra cash on the side is by participating in research. Not only will you be getting paid but you are also playing a role by providing valuable research data. Register with SONA to get notified on any paid participation research opportunities.