My Most-Asked Questions Part 2
Hello again! Last week, I went through some of the questions I’m guaranteed to get at every open day (if you missed it, the link is here.This time, I’m talking a bit more about life at Warwick and finding accommodation. The disclaimer I put in my last post about this being my personal experience applies here also!
Your timetable generally varies a bit from week to week, but I reckon I had about 12 contact hours of lectures and seminars a week in first and second year, with a scattering of labs on top of that raising it by a few hours a pop from time to time. This is somewhat more than many students doing essay-based subjects, but, on the other hand, you don’t have too many essays, so it’s swings and roundabouts really. This year, all of my modules are heavily exam-based, with only the Engineering Design and optional Forensic Engineering modules having coursework above 20% coursework, out of the seven I’m taking. Some of my friends doing humanities have finished a few essay-based modules by now, and only have a couple of exams to look forward to!
The uni officially recommends you do an hour of study for every contact hour. If anyone I know sticks to this, they don’t admit it, but most people I know do at least a fair bit of work outside of lectures. I like to spend a good few hours every weekend sorting out my notes for the week and checking it all makes sense to me. Particularly in the lead up to exam time, the course can get rather intense – with seven exams in two weeks, learning it all at the last minute is really not a practical option! I’ve been informed by friends in the year above it’s even more fun in third year, when the individual projects are worth a good chunk of the year, and are due in just before the Easter break.
If you’ve glanced at any of the uni’s promotional material, you can’t have failed to notice that Warwick has a huge number of student-run societies, and it’s society events that provide most of the ‘things to do.’ Societies form a huge part of the Warwick social scene, organising all kinds of events and socials. The Engineering Society is, as you’d guess, focussed on events for engineering students – these include presentations from industry figures, CV-writing sessions, bar crawls, academic support sessions, engineering outreach events (my own bailiwick) and a few more there’s not really space to list. Another benefit of EngSoc events is that there’s usually pizza provided!
In the first week of the academic year, every society has a stall at the Societies Fair, giving you the chance to have a look round, chat to some of the established members, and find out about the welcome events most societies run. I’ve found getting involved in socs a great way to meet different groups of people – the crossover between Warwick Labour Club and Warwick Engineering Society is basically just me! It’s societies where you can properly get to know people and that organise so many of the events that become the stories you tell to your friends in the future, so if you don’t join at least a couple you’re really missing part of the experience.
With the majority of off-campus students living in Leamington Spa, it’s no surprise that the town is a focus of so many Warwick nights out. With popular clubs such as Smack and Neon, as well as other club nights, bars including Kelsey’s and its infamous Eliminator cocktail, and a Wetherspoons (formerly two, but they’ve closed the other) , it’s pretty hard to get bored. When you’re in first year, the NU1 buses run relatively late if you need to get back to campus for that 9am, though sometimes it’s easier just to share a cab. Coventry is also quite active, though mostly the territory of Coventry Uni. One of the business management lecturers occasionally comes by a stack of tickets for the Kasbah nightclub, which makes for an interesting night when you see them downing pints at the bar.
In addition, the Warwick SU nights can be pretty good. There are daily events in Freshers’ Week, though tickets go quickly – unless you’re willing to invest in a pricey pass, it’s a good idea to get tickets as soon as they go on sale before the start of the term. Pop! is Warwick’s weekly 80s classics night. Beforehand, many societies do ‘circling’ in the SU – basically, formalised drinking games in slightly silly costumes. Your first visit as a fresher is almost a right of passage, and there’s nothing to be respected more than the grim determination of anyone who goes sober just so they can say they’ve been. All the points.
As Warwick was my second choice uni, my accommodation choices were made in a rather panicked rush on results day. Given that, it’s remarkable how well they worked out. When I applied, I had to list five halls in order of preference, and put a couple of paragraphs about what kind of person I was. The only hall I could really remember from my open day visit was Rootes, so I put that first. I was also attracted by the relatively low cost, the closeness to the centre of campus, and the large number of people per kitchen.
To Rootes I was duly assigned, and in hindsight it was a pretty good decision. My flatmates were a great bunch – on the day arrived, a group of us went to the freshers’ party and loved it. Because it was a large kitchen, there was almost always someone around. They try to match people up based on the descriptions they give, and I think for us at least it worked out pretty well. We still meet up and go out from time to time, and I ended up moving in with one of the other engineers in the kitchen this year! Now I’m off campus, I sorta miss it.
Almost everyone moves out of campus after first year. I know a couple of people who stayed on, but almost all of the accommodation is for first-years only. Blocks that were previously for returning students, such as Claycroft, are now holding freshers as the size of the intake swells. I’d say about half of those I know moved to Leamington Spa in second year. It’s a ~20min bus ride from the campus, but it’s got most of the nightlife in the area, and a lot of society socials happen there. It’s a lovely town, but it can take a good while to get there and back at busy times, and most houses there are rather pricey.
A cheaper option is Coventry, with many students living in the parts of the city close to the campus such as Canley or Earlsdon. If you can be close to the 11 bus route, which snakes its way from Coventry city centre to campus and then on to Leamington, all the better. This year, I’m renting privately with coursemates on the edge of campus, but I’ll be moving to Earlsdon at the start of next year, and renting a house through Warwick Accommodation, who act as a letting agent for off-campus properties as well as providing on-campus housing. I’m looking forward to the change of scene – as well as the proximity of the new house to the pub!
Okay, that’s most of the common day questions over this post and the last, and with my exams now less than a month away, I’m beginning to hit the stage of productive mild panic that kicks you into activity. Before that, though, I’ve another exciting lab report to write up next week, and quite a bit of campaigning for the local elections, which could be interesting!
Until next time,