My First Year at Warwick
It seems like a rite of passage as a Student Blogger to reflect on my First Year. As we are now in the final week of the academic year, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on what has been a very strange year. Obviously Term 3 took a very different shape to what we had all expected, so I will discuss the first two terms mostly as they were the most ‘normal.’
Anyone will tell you that your first year at uni is a bit of a rollercoaster (cliché but true!). You come in with a lot of expectations, and it takes a while to adjust and settle into the new normal. I remember thinking in Term 1 how different my lifestyle was all of a sudden, and wondering when it would begin to feel normal. It does, eventually, but don’t expect yourself to feel completely settled right away. It’s a big change, and it takes some people longer than others. Give yourself the time to work out your routines and see what works for you. Do your best to look past the version of events you see on Instagram of your friends living their best lives in the first few weeks, because chances are they will be having tough moments as well as good ones. My biggest takeaway from First Term is to go in with an open mind; things will look different to how you expect them to, and there’s a lot of change in your life, so take it step by step and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
First Year is a great time to give anything and everything a go. Join societies, introduce yourself to people, explore campus and the surrounding areas, meet up with new friends, try new sports. I am so glad I tried new things, because some of my favourite memories have come from doing so. It’s quite easy to feel lonely at uni, because you have your own room and no one telling you what you have to be doing, so I would really recommend trying out the extracurriculars Warwick has to offer to give you the opportunity to meet new friends and try something new. Having said that, it’s important to find the balance between trying new things and overdoing yourself. First Year can be pretty hectic, so don’t put too much on your plate and burn yourself out. There were times when I stressed myself out by spreading myself too thin, and I learned at that point that I didn’t have to be constantly busy in order to have a good time. I could take downtime and have free days, and feel much better for it.
I was apprehensive about the academic standard of uni before I arrived. I had no idea what would be expected of me, and worried that I hadn’t read enough or wouldn’t be able to contribute to discussions or write a decent essay. Don’t stress yourself out about this! In a subject talk in Freshers’, the Director of Undergraduate Studies told us that First Year is about making mistakes and learning from them. It’s the time to understand what university-level learning is about and how best to approach it. Your grade doesn’t count towards your degree, so as long as you pass, don’t worry! It took me a while to figure out how to read the seminar materials efficiently, and to get the confidence to make a point in seminars, and to feel like I knew how to write a uni essay, but you get there eventually! People have had all kinds of educational experiences before uni, so they will approach the work very differently and it can be easy to feel intimidated. I have had to remind myself many times that different doesn’t mean better. You have earned your place, and as long as you put the work in, you will be absolutely fine!
My final piece of advice as a wise old almost-Second Year is to make the most of it. Of course our First Year was much shorter than anyone could have imagined, but it goes quickly nonetheless. Those ten week-long terms with a reading week in the middle fly by, so enjoy them as much as you can. Take it at your own pace, and use it to adjust to uni life. My expectations of First Year were pretty far from its reality, so don’t put too much pressure on those preconceptions. It had its tough moments, but also some really great ones. First Year at Warwick has so much to offer, so throw yourself in, check in on yourself, and enjoy it!