My Advice to First-Year Me
Hi guys! Since one of the things that I found most helpful in my first year at Warwick was the advice and guidance I received from PPEists in upper years, I’ve decided to use my second-to-last blog post to pass some of that wisdom on to future Warwick PPE first-years. Hope it helps!
The biggest module-related question every PPEist was asking in my first year was “A or B?”. The modules Mathematical Techniques for Economics and Statistical Techniques for Economics were compulsory for all of us, and they both had an ‘easier’ (A) and ‘more challenging’ (B) version from which we needed to choose.
My advice to first-year me is go for the B’s! I’ve always enjoyed solving tough maths problems and even though Maths A might be a little less work, doing Maths B would be a good opportunity to see what I’m capable of and how good I really am at maths. I’ve never really been a fan of statistics but I would still advice myself to go for Stats B because it’s a requirement for studying econometrics in second-year, and if I don’t yet know if that’s something I want to study, then I shouldn’t close off that door to myself by not choosing Stats B.
I know that purposefully going for more challenging modules might seem counterintuitive if you want to get good grades, but I think that first-year – when your grades don’t contribute to your overall degree! – is the best time to experiment with your modules. If you find out what your academic strong and weak points are early on in your degree, you can play to your strengths later!
It might seem like 90% of the people you talk to at Warwick have got their careers figured out already – with banking Spring Weeks and London internships lined up before you’ve even attended your first lecture. You shouldn’t feel intimated by their ambition and organisation, nor should feel in comparison. The reason you came to university is to prepare yourself for a career afterwards, not because you’re already set to go! My advice is to view the career-focused people around you as a source of inspiration and possible guidance. If you don’t know what career you want to go after, talk to these people and find out how they decided which career and work experience opportunities would be right for them; if you have an idea of the career you want but don’t know how to go about pursuing it, talk to them and get some tips on what kind of job opportunities they know are available and where you can find out more information. And make sure you pay a visit to Warwick Skills & Careers – I’d strongly recommend booking a one-on-one careers guidance session with the dedicated PPE careers advisor!
Without a doubt, Warwick is a heavily career-focused university. And if you’re not already from a background like this (with lots of your friends and family members working in professional services) then it will take some getting used to, but I think that it will definitely be worth it!
This piece of advice is the most straightforward to give and – I think – the most difficult to implement. My advice for joining societies at Warwick and making new friends is:
(1) Look on the societies page https://www.warwicksu.com/societies/all/ and decide which ones look interesting;
(2) Go onto their society Facebook pages and put their next events in your calendar;
(3) Turn up to these events with a smile, get involved with the activities and talk to people.
Societies are a great way to meet likeminded people, so turning up to these events means you already have a shared interest and therefore a topic of conversation. Don’t let nerves get in your way; everyone likes to make friends and you might make some really great ones if you just have the confidence to introduce yourself to people.
Good luck, and I hope your time at Warwick is amazing!