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Finding Your Fit at University
Hi everyone!I thought it would be fun to have an alliteration in the title, but it might be confusing so read on to find out what I mean! On this day, last year, I had just received my IB results and was very happy to find that I would be going to Warwick! I was extremely excited but also a bit apprehensive about all the new things that would come my way. As an international student, it would be my first time living in the UK, and living alone, for that matter. One of the things I was worried about was finding friends and finding people who would share my interests and background. To give a little context, I was worried because I am a teetotaller and had read that a big part of the UK uni experience involved clubbing and drinking. I knew that I wouldn’t let myself be pressured into doing something I didn’t want to, but I was also scared that it would limit me socially. Well, a year on from those worries, I’m here to tell you guys about my experience and how you can allay such thoughts if you are having them!
The first people that I met at university were obviously my flatmates. If I had to reflect on my living experience, I have to say that it was rather unexpected but fun. We all got along and were friendly with each other, but we didn’t hit it off as much as I expected, and we didn’t all share common interests or hang out together much. I felt like such an experience was an outlier because most of my friends were very close with their flatmates. But as the year went on, I didn’t really mind too much, because when I did spend time with my flatmates, it was fun, and I also was able to find friends through other ways. My first key piece of advice for incoming students is to not worry if your flatmates don’t become your best friends! Just try to be social and open to new people and experiences and you will naturally find your group of people.
I remember, one of the first close friends I made – I met her near my accommodation and she was also from India and so we just started talking. We hit it off and soon we were cooking together and going over to each other’s flats all the time. I met a lot of people that way, just by saying hi at events or when I was at a fair or through friends I’d already made. Societies were also a key factor because that was how I found my best friend! We had met before, but we started talking more after we were part of the same team in a society and that’s when we really got close. So, my second tip is don’t be afraid to say hi to as many people as you can, and you never know who will become your go to friends!
But finding your fit is not just about finding your group of friends. What I mean by finding your fit is pretty much about finding about yourself at university. For example, how you want to spend your time. I had probably 3-4 hours of classes per day and some days were completely empty (usually Wednesdays). I spent quite some time cooking because I wanted to eat like I did at home which meant a lot of effort because Indian food is so complicated! Besides that, I had a lot of time on my hands and obviously some of it is spent studying and preparing for classes, but I really wanted to find activities to keep me busy. Personally, I chose to go to many society events and join a society or two, as well as, going out to lunch or dinner with my friends a lot. My advice to you would be to take the first couple of weeks (or maybe all of first term!) to explore as much as you can and say yes to as much as possible! Once you’ve tried to experience various things, you can find your balance and how much time you spend on sports or societies or going out and so on.
Another area that I worked on once I got to university was career prospects. When I started, I didn’t have many concrete plans for what I wanted to do, and I was expecting that most people would be that way. But it was a surprise to find that a lot of my peers knew exactly what they wanted to do and had actually got a lot of experience or knew how to proceed (for example, with spring internships!). This was initially overwhelming, because there were so many career opportunities and before that, I needed to figure out what I was interested in. I didn’t let the anxiety overwhelm me, and I took the chance to attend as many career events and conferences as possible, to learn more about different industries such as investment banking, consulting, corporate law and so on. To be fair, I don’t think you can know exactly what a career in an industry would be like unless you have some sort of experience in it, but I think you can learn a lot from other people and their journeys. Going to such events helped me learn not only about industries and opportunities, but also about myself and what I wanted to do.
I think this post is becoming rather long, so I’ll come to a finish. My main tip is to keep an open mind and be eager to learn and explore, both academically and socially. Navigating your first term will be a lot, but don’t let it overwhelm you because everyone is in the same boat! It’s new to everyone and the experience will be different for each person. This is what I mean with taking the time to find ‘YOUR’ fit, so don’t worry, take a deep breath and keep up the excitement to come to Warwick!