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From Fresher to Graduate: A Warwick Story
This year I leave Warwick at 23 years old after five years at University. I arrived at Warwick naïve and a little sheltered, I’d never had to be self-reliant, independent or particularly outgoing before. It’s easy to jump into university nervous and compare yourself to the confident and self-assured students you’re surrounded by on campus. University is a journey, it’s not only a centre of education but your home – you’ll not only grow academically but personally, facing life experiences across the span of three or four years.
It’s easy for me to look back with rose tinted glasses and appreciate my growth now as I move onto pastures green but I know it is not always easy to transition from school to university. I want to share my own thoughts, hopefully you can keep them in mind as you start in October.
Fake it until you make it
I liked my first year of university, I didn’t love it. It was a big change and involved chatting to new people, integrating myself within societies, and getting my head around university mathematics. Second year was when I started to love university and I think my university journey began, but it was rooted in my investments in first year. As a Fresher I invested in my societies, becoming the social secretary at my beloved Wind Orchestra in first year. I invested in course mates who would support me, and friends who would become the best part of my uni house. It was second year where my first year efforts started translating into my own Warwick community, a home.
It’s easy for me to say now that Wind Orchestra, my course and my house made my university experience. In first year I wouldn’t relate to that, those were the things I wanted but I hadn’t yet realised. When you arrive in first year, try and get your hopes into motion – apply to societies, get talking and involved with university life. It can feel weird, unknown and intimidating but making the right steps early will develop into the aspects you value the most when you graduate.
Don’t underestimate yourself but keep a level head
I was very aware when I arrived at Warwick I was going to be a small fish in a big pond. I think that taking Mathematics admissions tests such as STEP and MAT in Year 13 had certainly humbled me and I wasn’t expecting to be anything special at University. I was surprised by how well I did when I arrived, I wasn’t the best student by any means but I kept to my schedule, did my work on time and reaped the rewards – good grades and a social life. If you want good grades you need to work hard – I thought that getting in was the hard bit.
Every year your degree will push you but there is progress to be had. Every year I improved my grade, became a better statistician and believed a little bit more that “I can do it”. Keep pushing, don’t get complacent and know that you deserve to be here. You truly are as good as your work ethic.
It’s easy to remember the happy ending
As I move onto a PhD it’s easy for me to remember the best parts of university. It has been the most rewarding experience for me but that’s partly because of the challenges I have faced. There have been times when things became hard but looking back now, even the hardest of times provides me with a reminder of the love, friends and support I received along the way.
If you’re starting at University this October then good luck! Everyone’s university experience is different, curate the experience you want personally, take every opportunity and do the right thing for you.