My Non-Academic Highlights from Second Year – OurWarwick
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My Non-Academic Highlights from Second Year

Forgive the cover photo, which is just me feeling sad that quarantine means I cannot see the goslings and ducklings this year- look how sweet they are! There’s nothing quite like a government-imposed quarantine and the typical exam/deadline procrastination to inspire reflection. And with my deadlines and exams coming to end early next week (more or less) I’ve decided to share some of my best memories that have nothing to do with my degree from my second/ third/ intermediate year, whatever you would like to call it, as a way to round it all off, before this unusually loooooonnngg summer starts. After my Year Abroad, I really wanted to challenge myself to keep trying new things at Warwick, and these are some of the experiences which have really paid off:

1) Producing a Russian Poetry Video

What started off as my Russian teacher asking us if we would like to make a video reciting poetry at the end of Term One quickly spiraled into one of the biggest productions I’ve ever gotten involved in, involving borrowing ridiculously fancy camera and sound equipment from RAW (Radio at Warwick), a whole day spent in Westwood pretending to be Martin Scorsese, and a pretty incredible video (if I do say so myself) showcasing 7 different Russian students. We were all pretty proud of how it turned out, and this was one of the most exciting and different things I’ve ever done at University. 

Just waiting for the BAFTA nomination

It also highlighted to me just how much you can do at University, if you know who to contact. Within 48 hours, we had managed to acquire thousands of pounds worth of recording equipment, discover that there is a full recording studio in the humanities building and record a song, and contact just about every performing society there is to ask for advice and assistance. 

2) Getting more involved with Warwick Ambassadors

I’ve run this blog since January 2018, when I had just finished my first term of first year, all the way through the ups and downs of my Year Abroad, until now, which has been a wonderful way to document my experience at Warwick. However, this year I decided to further my involvement with working for the university, and I became an ambassador for the Open Days. Its involved a couple of Saturdays spent giving tours and assisting with presentations about what its like to study languages at Warwick. Its been quite nice helping prospective students decide why Warwick is the right or wrong university for them, as well as imparting my sage advice about all things results day and clearing….

Moreover, running this blog also means we are involved with the Warwick Marketing Team, as ambassadors, which gave me the opportunity to write my post for International Women’s Day, which was featured on the Warwick Alumni website highlighting the achievements of Warwick staff, students and alumni who are women.

https://warwick.ac.uk/alumni/warwickwomen/

Here is the blog if you fancy a read about my thoughts on being a woman at Warwick:

https://our.warwick.ac.uk/international-womens-day-2020-eachforequal/

3) Getting more involved with societies

One of my biggest regrets from first year was not trying hard enough to get involved with societies, and so throughout this year I have been dipping in and out of various events to meet new people and find out what I really enjoy. This lead me to working as a steward for the Student Cinema, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK. Not only has this been really fun to learn about how to run a cinema, but it means I can see films such as Star Wars IX, Beasts of the Southern Wild (one of my favourite films ever!!) and Little Women (my favourite film of last year) for free. There are also opportunities to get involved in marketing, the technical side, as well as learning how to actually project the films, so its a really cool society. 

Whilst it is not technically a society, I also get involved in a student led laboratory / think tank called Youth & Brexit, which has seen me organise events and write articles concerning young people and politics.

Celebrating/ Acknowledging Brexit Day 2020

We are currently undergoing a rebrand, given Brexit has now sadly occurred, however, it has been yet another way to get out of my comfort zone and research new ideas that interest me. 

The Lennon Wall, created by students from Hong Kong in February 2020, to protest their treatment in both their homeland and on campus

In between studying for exams and writing essays, I am also currently collaborating on an article about the Hong Kong protests, specifically their links to future trade relations between the UK and China, and their impact for students from both places on Warwick’s Campus. 

4) Re-Embracing Running

Cue the classic “I was never a sporty girl in school, I would always invent excuses to avoid PE,” which everyone says when discussing how they embraced a new sport when they were older. As cliche as it may be, this was true for me, and therefore I am really glad I was able to find running when I was at university. I did the usual Couch to 5KM program, and then it spiraled into becoming something I did most days. After a break over Christmas because it was too cold for me, I got back into it in Term 2, because I do believe it is the best way for me to exercise regularly. Given how notoriously expensive certain gym memberships at university can be, running is one of the cheapest ways to stay fit, as well as giving you an excuse to see some lovely nature (which is amazing at Warwick) and take your mind off whatever hideous deadline is next. 

Blurry horse from yesterday’s outing

5) Circling

Circling is an inherently Warwick tradition, which sees pretty much every Sports team or society, every Wednesday, gather in our Student’s Union’s notoriously average nightclub, The Copper Rooms, to play drinking games and shout at each other for 4 hours. Then you all pack up the tables and chairs together, and partake in the club night POP! which is a further 4 hours of the worst music from the 2000s but also one of the most loved events at the university. If the thought of that puts the fear of the Lord into you, then have no fear about joining Warwick, as there is sober circling, and different levels of chaos which you can ease yourself in with. Having mastered both the sober and calm approach to circling, which occurs in the nearby bar Fusion, I decided to experience the real deal in Term 2, and joined the love of my life,  Alison, and her mixed hockey team for a night of screaming and confusion. 

As you no doubt can tell, the theme was Tube Stations, and therefore we are quite clearly Elephant & Castle. Aside from the magnificence of everyone’s costumes (it is quite important to take this element seriously or you risk a punishment) I can say that my one-time experience circling was certainly an experience. There was lots of bewilderment given I didn’t know most of the games, and had to sort of guess, as well as a lot of laughs. I won’t lie, the best moment was probably the person who dressed up as Baker Street bringing out a Tray Bake. Certainly something I recommend all Warwick students to experience one time!

6) Volunteering

Finally, my experience volunteering with the Coventry Archives at the Herbert Art Gallery from November 2019 to March 2020. I’ve already written a blog describing how I got involved and what I actually did there, so have a look if you’re interested.

https://our.warwick.ac.uk/volunteering-at-the-herbert-art-gallery/

And there you have it! Some highlights that have nothing to do with languages from this year. It has certainly been an amazing year, and with rumours flying around that my next semester (which will be my first semester of final year- cries in Spanish) could be online, I am glad I tried to do as much as possible this year to make the most out of my (soon to be limited) time at University. 

Catherine xxx

Wouldn’t  be a blog post without my dog, so here is Wilbur perfectly demonstrating my Day-60-of-lockdown mood

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