Preparing for Univeristy – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

Preparing for Univeristy

In my last post I spoke about ways to prepare for university specifically with a physics degree in mind. It occurred to me though that a lot of the preparation I was doing in the summer before university wasn’t directly related to my chosen subject. I was scouring the internet for every resource I could find, fluctuating between fear and excitement but overall I feel like I got myself to university in the right mind set and with all the practical arrangements sorted and ready to go. 

So I thought that for this post I would share what I did to get myself ready for university and maybe there will be something in here that you can take on board and use to make the most of this long summer.

*****

I’m quite an organised person. It’s in my nature to fret and worry about not having everything I need whatever situation we’re talking about but that meant that I made a comprehensive list of everything I wanted to take with me to university. I had it all sorted by room (e.g. kitchen, bedroom and bathroom), laid out in a checklist and first I marked off when I had bought the necessary item and then I marked it off again when it was properly packed and ready to go.

*****

Keeping focus on the practical side of things, there might be some areas of moving out you hadn’t considered. Things that might get overlooked are tasks like checking the dates of your accommodation availability once you know where you will be staying, looking into contents insurance for your room, seeing if you need/want a TV license, looking into bus passes (though this is probably more relevant in second year), making sure the financial side of things is all in order and setting up a student bank account is definitely worthwhile even if you do it just for the perks you can get. 

*****

I spent quite a lot of time looking over modules for every year of my degree course. It got me really excited for the future of my academic progress and also helped me to have a goal in mind and something to focus on when the first few weeks felt like an academic struggle.

I think that the best piece of advice I can offer is this: Find your goal and that thing that motivates you to succeed in your course and make sure you keep that in the forefront of your mind. 

*****

It might sound a little out of the ordinary but I’d like to suggest something not to do. It comes down to the simple message of beware of social media. When I could, I joined the Facebook group chat for my course and while this had it’s advantages by making me feel less alone (if anyone can relate to that), I instantly found I was judging myself against my assumptions about all of these other people. They all seemed more confident than me, probably because those as confident as me weren’t participating much in the conversation, but I don’t think it was the best idea for me to spend as much time as I did trying to analyse the conversation and know my course mates before I had actually met them.

So I would say this: Facebook and other social media platforms are great for doing your research and getting to know people you might be spending a lot of time with but don’t jump to conclusions from this first interaction especially if that means that you start to doubt your own abilities.

*****

Now, at the risk of contradicting my last point, I would suggest making the most of the internet and doing your research. If your reading this then it’s likely this already applies to you but I found that reading about a variety of other people’s experiences gave me a good idea of everything that university could be without telling me what it should be. This is a big time in all of our lives and it will impact us all in different ways so I think it is definitely a good idea to try and see the different ways that people approach university.

*****

I have enjoyed cooking for quite a long time so before I went off to start my first year I was already fairly confident in the kitchen. However, I still spent a lot of time over the summer period looking for and trying out student friendly meals. By this I mean meals with ingredients that weren’t too pricey, meals that would freeze well for a later date and meals that I could whip up quickly on a particularly busy day. I think this was time well spent and would recommend whether you’re a competent, confident or complete novice chef, doing some research to plan how you’re going to keep yourself healthy and happy. University isn’t just about studying after all.

*****

Following on from that last point, while you’re getting excited for the academic side of things, take some time to get to know the area you’re going to be living in. As I’m not too far from university anyway, I took a day trip up to Leamington Spa with my family just to scope it out and see what sorts of things there were available. It made me much more comfortable with moving away from home for the first time. It was still a huge step of course but I was confident that, even if it wasn’t home straight away, university and the surrounding area would make a lovely place to be living.

You can also take this opportunity to plan what you might like to do at the weekends. Sometimes you’ll be working but at other times you might want to go and try stuff out with new friends you’ve made. Between Warwick, Coventry and Leamington Spa there is a lot to do whether you’re looking for nature and walks, bowling, clubbing, heading out to the cinema or just about anything else you can think of.

*****

Following on once again, check out the societies on offer at university. I spent a good chunk of time looking into societies and deciding what hobbies I wanted to keep going and what new things I might like to try out. In general if you want to find out more about a particular society you can get in touch with the exec members through their contact details on the SU website or Facebook. Don’t be scared to ask questions about what they get up to.

*****

Over that summer period I also took the opportunity to travel a bit and to allow myself a break from my studying. I think this is important. Yes, it’s good to be prepared and to turn up on the first day confident in your ability to achieve in your subject but you may have just spent two years preparing for A levels and a few more years for GCSEs before that so don’t forget to take a moment to relax. University is a big challenge but also has the potential to be the most fun you have ever had in your life. Be excited but be kind to yourself and don’t panic. I hated seeing it written over and over again but it’s true that everyone is in the same situation as you are. I’ve had conversations more recently with people I met in the first week of my university experience who always seemed really confident and they confessed that they all shared the same concerns as me before arriving. You’re in it together but if you’re well prepared you’ll have no problems whatsoever.

Leave a comment

   or Log in?

Avatar
Ask a
Blogger