How my summer holiday differed before uni, my first year, and my second year
June 2020 was supposed to be the start of the most amazing summer I would have in my life, had I been able to smash my A Level exams, sit back and relax, in anticipation of joining Warwick in September. However as well all know, COVID meant that the freshers of 2020 would be the first year group to be joining university under unique circumstances, which automatically resulted in a unique summer holiday for everyone.
Unsurprisingly, I was unable to fulfil the plans I had made before COVID- cancelling all the graduation trips with my childhood friends. However, this meant I spent significantly more time with my family, especially since the world transitioned into remote working. I also had the opportunity to try things I would absolutely never have done if COVID hadn’t forced me into these conditions, notably cooking (baking healthier versions of deserts in particular), and becoming a Deliveroo rider, which I honestly really enjoyed!
Obviously though, If you’re a fresher for the 2022/23 year, make sure to enjoy this summer with your friends- you’ll rarely have any other opportunities to have a genuinely stress free time over an extended period where your main concerns are to enjoy life! If you’re worried about getting work experience before university, I would suggest that should not be a huge concern as there will be an abundance of opportunities throughout your university career.
2021 (Completed first year)
Summer 2021 was possibly the most important break I needed in my life. University was fun but strenuous, especially with all the improvisation and uncertainties faced during a heavily COVID-impacted year. I took a much needed rest for the first 3 weeks, just enjoying time with my family and friends albeit the limited options for leisurely activities as restrictions were still heavily in place in Hong Kong.
However, I still allocated an hour or two every day just to make sure I was doing something which will benefit future me- whether it’d be applying for jobs, sharpening my CV, exploring my interests for general personal development (Ted talks on stuff I was interested in), and finally, preparing for my modules in the upcoming year, skimming through the topics and general readings.
The biggest takeaway would be securing my first formal work experience, where I managed to find a remote summer internship with a relevant business in my sector, in addition to completing a few certificates offered by my home department which taught me valuable employability skills! Looking back now, it seemed like a perfect summer of balancing productivity and enjoying life, and these refreshing experiences provided a much needed recharge for my batteries as I entered my second year!
2022 (Completed second year)
At the moment, I am sat in my room, enjoying possibly my favourite time of the year in UK when the sun still shines brilliantly, but without the scorching heat!
This was actually my first summer away from Hong Kong, so again it offered me a valuable experience of being away from my family for once. Fortunately, I did not feel homesick as I had been preoccupied with my summer job working in the MASSIVE Warwick graduations (check out my previous blog post for exclusive behind the scenes insights for Warwick’s biggest graduation in history). Furthermore, I finally got to experience a relatively ‘normal’ London, sightseeing the array of hotspots, exploring the bustling streets, and taking in the extremely diverse culture interwoven into the buildings, street stalls, and even underground of London!
As I prepare for one last push approaching my final year, the stress of having to prepare for my dissertation continues to linger around the back of my head, but as with everything, balance is key, so I’m making sure to not overwork myself and rather, do a little everyday to accumulate the gains towards my dissertation, which will ensure that I don’t pre-exhaust myself!